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.
Every business is responsible for safeguarding the health and safety of anyone affected by its activities, such as employees, customers or visitors to their premises.
The risks to health and safety can differ widely between sectors and individual businesses, of course. In many cases, compliance involves little more than a systematic approach to ensuring common sense precautions are taken to prevent accident and injury. However, businesses engaged in high-risk activities need to focus much more of their attention and resources on health and safety concerns.
Whatever the nature of your business, putting procedures in place to avoid health and safety breaches can help reduce the risk of serious accidents and incidences. In the most serious cases, health and safety failures can lead to serious injury or even death, as well as to potential fines and imprisonment - including liability for corporate manslaughter in some instances.
From 1 October 2015, health and safety law no longer applies to anyone who is genuinely self-employed and whose work poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public. For health and safety purposes, that means you must not work under a contract of employment and work only for yourself. If you employ others, health and safety laws will still apply to you.
The cornerstone of your health and safety obligations is the requirement to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including a fire-risk assessment, which involves identifying potential risks in your business and taking steps to remove or minimise them. Contact your local fire safety officer to find out more.
Bear in mind that aspects of your business may present different levels of risk to different people. For example, consider whether there are risks that might particularly affect the health and safety of people with disabilities, pregnant women and new mothers, young people or workers unfamiliar with your premises and procedures.
You should appoint competent people to be responsible for health and safety and make sure they are trained. Make sure you involve and consult employees in your health and safety activities, and consider including health and safety responsibilities in contracts of employment. You should prepare a written health and safety policy - then monitor and regularly review your policies and procedures to improve them.
Employees should be trained to cope with accidents and you should provide equipment such as first-aid kits. Maintain an accident book and a reporting system for serious injuries, diseases and incidents. Posters, leaflets and signage can help keep employees informed.
You are required by law to have employers' liability insurance. You should also check whether you need public liability or any other insurances.
Environmental considerations are also a growing concern for many businesses, both in terms of legal requirements and the importance of businesses' green credentials to growing numbers of customers. Many businesses find that steps taken to respond to these environmental demands have the beneficial side-effect of focusing attention on resource efficiency in the business, which can help to cut costs.