legal ease

There are underlying legal aspects to a lot of areas of running a business, from putting appropriate contracts in place, to complying with legislation and regulations, and ensuring you have the appropriate licences and permits.  

 

We look at some of the most common areas below.  There are other areas that we look at on other pages, such as:

 

  • Legal issues around protecting and exploiting your creations, inventions and brand (see Copyright, Etc.)

  • Understanding specific legal risks and exposure to your business of particular acts, omissions or circumstances.

contracts

Contracts

As you start and grow, you may need to enter into contracts to cover a wide variety of arrangements.  A written contract is required by law in some instances, and is always advisable in order to get clarity on each party's rights and obligations (including payment) and help you manage your liability and financial exposure, and is almost always cheaper than having to resolve a dispute later on about an oral or unclear arrangement.  Typical business contracts you may need include:  

  • Sales terms & conditions and policies for your goods and services - online and offline.

  • Software licences

  • Contractor agreements eg website design, logo design, software development, IT services etc.

  • Investment or loan agreements

  • Partnership agreements

  • Buying, selling or leasing land or premises.

  • Collaboration or project agreements

  • Joint venture agreements

Click here to understand more on how Contracts work in general. 

COMPLIANCE

Data Protection

There are also various laws and regulations governing business behaviour that you will need to comply with, where failure to do so can mean large fines or even prison.  They include:

  • Financial conduct: rules and regulations governing investments

  • Import/export licences

  • Regulations governing specific business activities in particular sectors (such as food and drink, pharmaceutical).

  • Competition rules to make sure businesses don't prevent, restrict or distort competition in the relevant market (for example, no retail price fixing, or limits on how you can divide up market territories)  

  • Rules on anti-bribery & corruption, anti-money laundering, and anti-slavery (fines and possibly prison for non-compliance)

  • Workplace: health & safety

Licences

Licensing Your Creations, Tech & Brand

Are you sure you have all the necessary licences and permission in place for your intended business activities? For example:

  • Do you have appropriate intellectual property licences in place to reproduce someone else's creation, brand or technology in the way you want? (See IP Rights.)

  • If you'll be working from home, have you checked the terms of your mortgage or leasehold arrangements permit you to do so?

You should really try to seek legal advice for any of these areas where possible, to help you avoid or minimise future legal liability or losses, and also make the most of your business opportunities.  This could mean external legal advice on some or all of these issues or, as your business grows, engaging a lawyer to act as your in-house counsel for a number of hours or days per week.

As seen in...

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