Lawyers and non-lawyers frequently head communications with the phrase, “without prejudice”.
However for many, there is an assumed magic in these words which are believed to cloak the contents of communications from being relied upon in any dispute either in or outside of Court proceedings. Such assumption is wrong, and both the Manx and English Courts have made this very clear.
Without prejudice is a phrase used in offers made for the purpose of negotiating a settlement or compromise. It is a convenient shorthand for “without prejudice to my/our rights” and it is used in order to guard against any argument by those with whom an argument exists that a concession offered in negotiations constitutes a waiver of a right or an admission of liability, in any legal proceedings.
The protection conferred by the without prejudice principle means that parties to the without prejudice negotiations may put in evidence in a dispute the content or detail, or the fact that an offer or concession has been made at all. However, as the summary below explains, for the protection of without prejudice to arise, there has to be some form of offer or negotiation content in the body of communication. As with so many general principles, however, as will be seen below, exceptions exist.
Download the full article here: Without prejudice – understanding what it means