The meaning of "Without Prejudice" Communications in the Legal Context
The term “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” as used in the legal context, has nothing to do with racial or other form of discrimination.
Sometimes your lawyer-
The rationale behind these “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” communications is simple: it is to encourage the opposing parties to a dispute to communicate freely and candidly for the purpose of effecting a possible settlement or compromise of their claims.
If you are self-
To be on the safe side, you never admit liability or responsibility in your letters to others, even if you may have done something wrong or your conduct was negligent, unless you are prepared to face the consequences.
As an example, you may wish to open your letter with the following paragraph: “Without admission of liability or responsibility, I am prepared to discuss a reasonable settlement of our dispute for the purpose of a just, expeditious and least expensive resolution of this matter. I am offering you $…… which is open for acceptance until tomorrow 11:00 p.m. Please respond to this offer prior to its expiration, so that this matter is resolved to our mutual satisfaction”.
You should also label your letters “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” right on the top.
Remember, however, that the mere words “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” printed on your letter or e-
If you genuinely desire to settle a dispute and your intentions are made abundantly clear in your letter or e-
Remember also that if you or your opponent makes a proposal for settlement “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” and you or your opponent repudiates the acceptance of the offer or fails to carry out the terms of the settlement, the privilege which was attached to these communication will no longer exist, and these documents may find their way in the litigation that may follow from such repudiation.
WITHOUT PREJUDICE communications have also a generalized meaning which applies to adjourning court cases, re-
The reader ought to be aware that the particular meaning of “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” may be subject to different applications and interpretations across Canada, the United States and U.K.
The reader should also keep in mind that the rule for the exclusion of evidence based on “WITHOUT PREJUDICE” communications is very complex, is subject to exceptions, qualifications and disqualifications, and is dependant of the vagaries of circumstances or intent of the parties.
© Andreas Solomos, Barrister & Solicitor. All rights reserved.