What does "Without Prejudice" mean?

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What does "Without Prejudice" mean?

-- Biggles aka Perfect world (thisisnot@supaworld.com), September 19, 2002


It means without affecting your legal rights in that you can send a letter offering a settlement without affecting your legal right to defend or proceed as the case may be for the whole lot.

Say if you were a debtor, you could write "without prejudice" and say "I offer 200 against your claim of 1000 in full and final settlement" The creditor cannot use that letter in court.

However, you cannot use "Without prejudice" to escape a criminal conviction, so it is no good writing to the police to say "Without prejudice, I killed......... what sentence will I get?"

Be aware that some solicitors ignore the rules and produce letters sent under without prejudice headings to try and sway the case their way - any judge worth his/her salt will ignore such attempts.

The same applies to telephone calls - so long as you make it clear you are talking without prejudice, any admissions you make cannot be used in court.

-- David J. Button (davidjohnbutton@supanet.com), September 20, 2002.

As far as I am aware it means that you do not admit liability,no doubt there is some complicated legal term for it but in the instance of replying to a shortfall claim I would imagine that that is correct.

-- Steve. (powerhousesteve@aol.com), September 20, 2002.


It's not quite s simple as that.

Technically, 'without prejudice' is only applicable where there are actually negotiations going on about a financial settlement of a claim. It's not safe, for example, to write and ask for a breakdown of an alleged debt and just mark it 'without prejudice'. It is far better explicitly to deny liability and state that the debt is not being acknowledged.

Even where there are negotiations going on, a recent case held that a squatter who was negotiating a lease of a house was not protected by 'without prejudice' and had acknowledged the owner's title (Bath & North Somerset DC v Nisholson [2002] 10 EG 156 (CS).

So, be careful

All the best


-- Guy (guy@skipwith107.freeserve.co.uk), September 20, 2002.

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