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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.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

Homeopath legal issues

The following is an overview of important legislation that might be particularly relevant to your homeopath business.

What licences does a homeopath need?

At the moment, there are no mandatory licensing requirements that relate specifically to homeopathy practices, although there are several voluntary registers. However, local authorities in some areas may require businesses that offer 'special treatments' to obtain a licence from them - homeopathy is not usually considered to be a special treatment but others like massage, acupuncture and reflexology often are. If you offer this type of treatment alongside homeopathy, you may need a licence. Contact your local authority to find out the position in your area.

Also be aware that businesses that keep computerised records of individuals' personal information (such as patient records) may be required to register as data users with the Information Commissioner's Office.

What legislation applies to homeopathy practices?

Although there is currently no legislation specifically regulating homeopaths (unlike some other complementary therapists, such as osteopaths and chiropractors), there are several voluntary registering bodies including the Society of Homeopaths, the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and the Homeopathic Medical Association. The register operated by the Society of Homeopaths is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

Members of the registering bodies generally have to comply with a code of ethics and practice and also hold professional indemnity insurance.

Some of the key areas where legislation is likely to affect your business are listed below. The list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Homeopathic medicines

Homeopathic medicines are regulated by the Simplified Registration Scheme. Medicines are assessed for their quality and safety and once approved can be marketed in the UK as long as they do not make any specific medical claims. In this way new homeopathic medicines can be introduced more swiftly. Since September 2006 homeopathic medicines intended to relieve or treat minor symptoms and conditions can also be registered under the National Rules Scheme.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Insurance for a homeopathic business

When you start up in business you will need insurance cover. Contact an insurer and explain to him or her exactly how your practice will operate - the insurer will then recommend what cover you should have. This might include:

  • professional indemnity. If you are a member of a registering body like the Society of Homeopaths, it's likely that you will be required to have professional indemnity insurance. The premium for this insurance may be included in your membership fee
  • practice rooms, equipment and stock
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employer's liability
  • public liability
  • product liability
  • motor insurance (for business vehicles)

When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form. 

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