Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.
What particular regulations do specific types of business (such as a hotel, or a printer, or a taxi firm) need to follow? We explain some of the key legal issues to consider for 200 types of business.
While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.
Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.
From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.
Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.
Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.
Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.
With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.
As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.
Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.
Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.
Although a business contract does not have to be in writing, it makes sense to have a clear, written agreement wherever possible. At a minimum, you should agree the main contract conditions in writing to make your respective rights and responsibilities clear.
Standard commercial contract terms (often called 'terms of business' or 'terms and conditions') are usually appropriate where you sell goods or services that are the same (or very similar) every time. For bespoke products or services that vary according to the job to be undertaken - such as some building services or software developments - you may need to negotiate a separate trading contract for each transaction.
Terms of business and separately negotiated trading contracts should make it clear what each party to the business contract is agreeing to. Must-have clauses will include the price, payment terms (eg 30 days), details of the goods or services being supplied, and how and when they are to be delivered.
Terms and conditions for the sale of goods commonly allow a seller to retain ownership of the goods until payment has been made. This helps protect the seller - for example, if the customer fails to pay or becomes insolvent.
There is a statutory right to claim interest on late payments, but you can make specific provision for interest on late payment in your terms of business or other contract if you wish.
If you want to try to limit your liability for damage or losses caused by your goods or services in your terms of business or trading contract, you need to be careful. In some circumstances the law prohibits this, while in others it only allows you to do so if your limitations of liability are 'reasonable'. For example, you cannot exclude or limit liability for death or personal injury at all if it is caused by your negligence.
Take care with any attempt to impose penalties if the other party breaches the business contract. Although you can provide for 'liquidated damages', these must bear some relation to the actual loss you expect or they will be unenforceable.
You need to take extra care drafting terms of business or trading contracts for business-to-consumer sales (where the buyer is buying for their personal use, rather than for business purposes), because the law gives consumers extra protection. For contracts with consumers, every term in your contract (other than the price and description) must be fair: for example, it is not fair if your terms of business allow you to keep a payment made in advance if the contract is then lawfully cancelled.