A public European school has an IT department with a person responsible for all mail related tasks, including the mail server.

Once that responsible sent an incriminatory email to a specific group of teachers, that use email accounts where the content is stored in the school mail server.

One of the teachers from the target group replied. From the content of the reply one can see what the responsible said initially is nonsense.

Then, the responsible deleted all the emails initially sent.

Is this allowed?

  • What new regulations?
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 20:06
  • I changed to "Is this allowed?", goal is to understand what can be done under such situation. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 20:28
  • is this apart of a lawsuit? Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 20:30
  • no it's not. This is a question from someone that doesn't know much about law that tries to understand a specific case. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 20:33
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    – isakbob
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 1:54

2 Answers 2


There is no general legal obligation to preserve correspondence

There are laws against destroying evidence but for them to come into play there would have to be a civil or criminal case underway. From your question it doesn't seem that anyone is being sued or investigated by police so there is no evidence tampering involved.

Individuals and organisations are free to delete whatever they want from their computers unless and until they should be aware that it is or may become evidence.

Whether the deletion complies with internal organisation policies and procedures is not a legal matter except in so far as it exposes the deleter to employment sanctions.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Dale M
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 0:57
  • 1
    Also, if the emails were deleted when litigation was in reasonable contemplation (though not commenced), it would be a contempt of court (in the UK at least). The emails might still be on the server in any event.
    – lellis
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 18:49

The only thing I can see peripherally touching would be a data breach which is the unauthorized disposal of data.

So, one has to ensure if the emails were deleted and are not possible to recover. If it's possible to recover, then recovery it is.

  • Not sure what you’re talking about a data breach for?
    – A.fm.
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 13:09
  • I don't understand you comment. Can you say it with different words? Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 14:50
  • Sorry. Why are you mentioning a data breach? I am unsure what the relevance of a data breach is. Are you talking about the possibility that the person who send the email may have hacked into the system to delete the email?
    – A.fm.
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 14:52
  • Yes, that's correct. The email is gone, as if it was never sent in the first place. The only doubt here is can the responsible recover it or not. Either way, if you wanted to retrieve all your information from there, you would most likely not have everything (which is scary). Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:22
  • I don’t think it is obvious from the post that what you’re saying is true. It says he deleted all the emails initially sent. I see your point, but I just don’t think there is enough information provided in the question to make this assumption.
    – A.fm.
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:25

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