This section should give you a good overview some of the most important issues. However, commercial law can be complex and we would strongly advise you to contact a local lawyer before committing yourself to any legally binding contracts.
You should be aware of the laws that relate to your sector and to running a business generally. The over-riding rule is that prevention is better than cure - make sure that you do not break the law by finding out what you need to know BEFORE you start to trade.
Setting up a business is an exciting time but without the right legal advice it can also be a legal minefield. Prevention is better than cure. A specialised business solicitor can help you identify future legal problems and advise you on what steps to take to prevent problems before they happen, which will protect your business from risk and save you money.
To find your nearest business law expert, visit ‘find a solicitor’ at www.lawsociety.org/find-a-solicitor
Check with your local authority to make sure that you do not need planning permission. Also it is advisable to check your tenancy agreement or the deeds of your home to rule out the possibility that here maybe exclusion clauses that prohibit you running a business from the property. Other considerations may be business rates and Capital Gains Tax if any part of the home is exclusively used for business.
Commercial property law is extremely complex and should not be tackled alone. Leases and agreements generally have long term implications and heavy financial penalties. It is a specialised area of law so look for someone with relevant experience.
Taking on a franchise will definitely involve signing a legally binding agreement. A solicitor will be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you are not commiting to something which you might later regret.
Contracts occur in every business. It might be as simple as the agreement with the milkman to deliver the milk and your obligation to pay for it, or it might be an order you made with a major supplier. While it is good practice for all business contracts to be in writing it is not essential. The contract may be formed orally, by parties agreeing the terms on the telephone but bear in mind that his could be open to differences in understanding of what has been agreed. Always read the ‘small print’ and take appropriate legal advice before entering into any contractural agreement that could end up with a dispute.
Some types of businesses do need to obtain special licenses before they open for business. The .gov website contains a useful ‘license finder’ tool: https://www.gov.uk/licence-finder.
The Citizens Advice site has a description of the the most commonly required licenses (by trade): https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-rights/legal-system/licences-and-other-types-of-official-permission/
Health and safety laws apply to all businesses. As an employer, or a self-employed person, you are responsible for health and safety in your business. Laws are there to protect you, your employees and the public from workplace dangers. The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) site is for employers and those who want some basic information on what they must do to make sure their businesses comply with health and safety law. See: www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/index.htm
Your local authority will be able to advise you on local trading regulations such as opening hours.
If you employ people you have certain duties such as the provision of a contract of employment, fair disciplinary procedures and Employer’s Liability Insurance. See also: HR & Staff
Our insurance section covers this in more depth but you must consider any action or event which involves your business which could result in it being sued. This could involve Professional Indemnity and public Liability.
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) is an Act of Parliament which defines UK law on the processing of data on identifiable living people. It is the main piece of legislation that governs the protection of personal data in the UK.
Some common types of intellectual property rights (IPR) are trademarks, copyright, patents, industrial design rights, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets: all these cover music, literature, and other artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs.
Terms and conditions are used for legal purposes by websites and internet service providers that store a user’s personal data, such as e-commerce and social networking services. A legitimate terms-of-service agreement is legally binding and may be subject to change.
The various options are covered in the chapter 5 entitled ‘Business Set Up’. If you need to form a limited company or are creating a partnership, you may well advised to take legal advice to ensure that this is done correctly. Going into business with others, even if they are friends, is notoriously unpredictable. Someone who behaves perfectly rationally normally sometimes can be entirely different when it money and stress become involved. Make sure that you have a written agreement which covers all eventualities.
Taking professional legal advice is not cheap but is essential for many of the subject mentioned here. The true cost of not seeking help may only materialise in years to come but could prove to be considerably more expensive in the long run. Many solicitors offer a free introductory session so, at very least, prepare a summary of your possible legal needs and obtain a quote for any assistance that may be required.
If you run your own business in England and would like to learn more about business law, we have compiled a library of useful resources and frequently asked questions which we hope that you will find both interesting and useful.
APS Legal & Associates
Protect your family, home and assets. Your Will. The most important document you will ever possess. Without a will the law, not you, decides who gets your money and possessions and who will look after your children. You may lose your family home if you have to go into care and your family home may be subject to inheritance liability. 1297444153
Aurora IP Solutions
Provider of Intellectual Property & Contract Solutions for small companies who require high quality Intellectual Property and Contract advice but have a limited budget i.e. Early Stage Companies, Start-Ups, Spin-Outs and Charities. 7813794471
C G Safety
My role is to provide advice and support to your Business by creating simple steps and processes to help you achieve health and safety compliance, giving the best customer experience at reasonable rates. I can offer adhoc support to help you with your existing health and safety arrangements. I can also help to establish new safety systems and procedures for your Business or provide a thorough review of your existing management system. I can provide a bespoke service depending on your needs. 7808011556
Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureaux offer free, confidential, impartial and independent advice from over 3,500 locations. These include high streets, community centres, doctors
UK employment law is complicated. Whilst individuals can be classified as consultants and therefore self employed, on the whole individuals are deemed employees and therefore entitled to various rights. +44 (0) 1753 551111
Harvey Ingram Will and Probate Dispute Solicitors
At Harvey Ingram, we have an experienced and dedicated team of legal professionals who handle a variety of contentious probate issues. These issues are complex, but our specialist solicitors will provide sensitive, proactive and timely advice throughout the course of your case while pursuing an outcome that is in your best interest 8082316788
Heckford Norton Commercial Property Solicitor
Heckford Norton provide a full range of quality legal services to both individuals and businesses. With three office locations in the UK - Stevenage, Letchworth Garden City, and Saffron Walden - we serve clients throughout the UK and abroad but particularly in London, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. Our solicitors provide advice regarding a broad range of legal matters including commercial property, commercial disputes, civil disputes and employment law. 1772368108
Hodders Law UK
Getting things right at the beginning can save you a lot of time and money later on. It lays the foundation to allow you to run your business safe in the knowledge that you have started out on a sound footing. At Hodders we know about starting and buying businesses, we have been doing it for years for our clients. We can offer you standard and complex shareholder agreements, partnership agreements and directors' agreements as per your requirements. From the beginning when you are arranging the lease or purchase of your premises or if you enter into negotiations with your landlord. We are the experts in the start-up process from start to finish. As a law firm we have a unique position in the business start-up arena, not only are we able to provide bespoke legal advice with regard to supplier contracts and employer contracts, write personalised company handbooks and procedures, including health and safety and where required provide all licensing work including, music, entertainment, alcohol and personal and premises licenses. We also know how to run a business. We have special packages for start-up businesses, from instalment plans and bulk rates to a free legal advice line during your first 3 months in business. We can usually create a package to suit your unique business and its needs, so call today and make an appointment for a free initial meeting. We are able to guide you through this challenging process with experts dedicated to making sure you can get on with what matters, running your business, while we do what we do best. "I instruct Sherine because her knowledge and vast experience on all my commercial matters is second to none" -Vinny Chada, RKC Properties "You cannot rely on any promise made on a handshake, when you start your business we understand the desire to make quick and easy deals with friends or acquaintances, these arrangements need to be backed up by solid contracts from day one!" The law is our business, what's yours? 0844 2 250 004
Legal Digital Marketing
Based in the heart of Birmingham, LDM is a marketing company focused on growing legal businesses and building our Portfolios. The company started in 2013 and with strong growth through diversity and teamwork the business now provides extensive Legal Services and guidance to clients across the UK. Legal Digital Marketing is truly different and manages its business accordingly - we strive to be a business services firm with a core competence in law-" 0121 223 4381
Legal Help centre
We are a national based firm providing you with advice in all parts of law, e.g mortgage repossessions, rent arrears, debt issues , employment law, 01582 227080
With over 20 years of experience in the Legal industry, Local Solicitor provides a professional legal service to customers throughout the local area. Founded in 1991, the firm is located in Liverpool. The firm delivers expert legal advice to its clients, which is intended to help them claim compensation they deserve. Using vast resources, Local Solicitor can offer a tailored service to suit all clients. 8437754315
Mark Bull Consulting Ltd
Supply of confidentiality agreements, terms and conditions of sale, and terms and conditions of purchase, to start-ups. 01926 843366
Your own HR compliance dept for only 7825799159
Since 1983 Peninsula has been providing employment law and health and safety solutions to firms around the UK. Around 25,000 Health and Safety and HR departments have benefited from our input.
Pilgrim Investigations is a company providing a range of investigation services for the commercial, industrial and private sectors in and around Yorkshire, and through associations with other professional agencies, nationwide. Located in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Pilgrim Investigations offers a variety of services from Process Serving through to complex investigations. 0114 3030358
Pope & Co Conveyancing, Probate and Family Law Solicitors
Pope & Co is a solicitor law firm in Cromer specialising in Conveyancing, Wills, Trusts, Probate and Family Law. Its solicitors have experience ranging from 10 to 40 years each. They have years of experience dealing with the legal issues that are most likely to affect the average person. They understand the challenges facing clients and are often able to resolve related issues from different areas of practice. 8082316789
We are employment law solicitors advising all kinds of organisations, and based in Central London. If you are thinking of taking on staff, take a look at our free employment contract proforma to download on our website. 0207 324 6271
Sarah Edmunds Legal
Sarah Edmunds Legal is a firm of professional and affordable solicitors based in East Sussex. We offer a range of legal services including residential conveyancing, wills and debt recovery. 4.41E+11
Spencer Lufia Employment and Commercial Solicitor London
Spencer Lufia LLP is a London-based law firm specializing in employment and labour law and related business and commercial law practice. We are particularly attuned to legal considerations in the technology, media, entertainment and leisure sectors, serving companies large and small, from start-ups to multinationals, throughout the UK, the United States and Europe. 8001577605
The Law Society
If you need to find a solicitor to help with any legal aspect of your business, the Law Society's website contains a searchable database. this allows you to choose solicitors or law firms by specialism.
ThirdSide Dispute Mediation
Mediation is an effective way of resolving a wide range of commercial disagreements that could otherwise prove damaging, disruptive and hugely distracting. Mediation is a completely voluntary and confidential way to resolve conflict and disputes. It involves a professionally trained and accredited mediator, an independent and impartial person, who helps the parties reach a solution that is acceptable to everyone. 07834 954918
Wendy Brown HR & Employment Law Consultant
HR and Employment Law advice and assistance for small businesses. Advice on all employment law matters and drafting of all employment related documents such as contracts of employment, disciplinary, grievance and probationary procedures, and HR policies such as equal opportunities, email, internet use. I have more than twenty years experience advising across all industries. I have particular experience in advising the hairdressing, painting and decorating, care, dentistry, vetinary, and optometry, sectors. I also spent several years as an adviser to the membership of the Federation of Small Businesses. 01255 222373
What The Solicitor Says
Starting Your Business. Many people feel nervous about seeing a solicitor. They worry about the time it takes, they are afraid of legal fees and are uncertain as to where to find someone they can trust. This book which is written by an experienced Solicitor, aims to remove some of these fears and gives honest, practical advice for all stages of your business.
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