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To my understanding anything can be used as evidence unless a specific law prohibits it. When is negotiating inadmissible as evidence?

My (ex)landlord demanded I move out immediately. I told him I will do so as soon as I have a place to move, but he must prorate my rent if I move out before the end of the month. He agreed but never returned money for the prorated rent. Would these emails not be considered evidence for some reason?

He also has some furniture that belongs to me. At first he (pretend) acted confused and thought I was referring to furniture that was his. In the initial stages of legal proceeding he denied my claim for the furniture and said my "description of events was not accurate". The court (that I'm using) requires a negotiation period were anything said is inadmissible as evidence, but I think that's provided that communication is done through their form.

The landlord has now contacted me by email saying I am free to pickup my furniture. Can this be used as evidence that he has admitted to having it? I had rented a truck for moving so this doesn't really appeal to me.

  • where is this going on? Such rules are different in different jurisdictions. No useful answer can be given without knowing the correct jurisdiction. – David Siegel Jul 11 at 13:20
  • Canada is jurisdiction – dutyanalysing Jul 11 at 20:21
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You haven't said where you are. In England and Wales the usual practice in negotiation is that any offer is made "without prejudice". For example if you are claiming £1,000 and the defendant denies owing it they might offer you £500 to settle the claim. In this case the offer letter will have "without prejudice" in bold type at the top. This means that you can't use their offer in court as evidence that they have admitted owing at least £500.

In this case it sounds like your jursidiction has a blanket rule of "without prejudice" for communication during negotiation period. However this probably only applies to a specified period after you filed your case and before it is heard. You need to check the exact rules of your jurisdiction. I doubt that the restriction only applies to communication through the court: the objective would be to give the parties an opportunity to settle the case without having to consider every word as a potential admission.

If you have emails from before you filed the case in which your landlord agreed to something then you can certainly use them as evidence of his agreement.

You probably can't use the email about picking up furniture as evidence. In any case it only shows that he might have some of your furniture, not anything about what it is or how valuable it is.

  • Re emails exchange before legal case was filed: that's what I thought. I got confused by the last part of the answer given here. law.stackexchange.com/questions/42228/… I guess by "bona fide negotiation" it means only after a law suit is filed. – dutyanalysing Jul 11 at 11:23
  • @dutyanalysing "bona fide" means honest and genuine, as opposed to stringing the other person along. Bear in mind that I can only guess about what your rules are because I don't know where you are. If you tell us which jurisdiction you are in (edit your original question to add it) then someone who knows about that jurisdiction may be able to help more. – Paul Johnson Jul 11 at 13:10
  • @dutyanalysing I just edited my post to change "the usual rule" to "the usual practice". In England an offer is only "without prejudice" if it says so. – Paul Johnson Jul 11 at 13:12
  • Canada is jurisdiction – dutyanalysing Jul 11 at 20:21

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