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Business Law | Legal Guides

Back to Committees

Find out more about some of the legal issues affecting businesses via the links below:

Talk to your solicitor

The information provided here is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have a legal issue, you should talk to a solicitor who has the skills to help you.

No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions, howsoever arising.

Most businesses employ people to produce, sell, or deliver goods and services.

Laws regarding employment are constantly changing. Many disagreements are caused by a poorly-drafted contract or poor human resources (HR) procedures.

Your solicitor can advise you on your obligations as an employer and review your contracts or processes.

Goods and services

When buying or selling goods and services, it’s important to understand your legal duties. A solicitor can advise on product liability and what you can say when advertising goods or services. A solicitor can also advise you when entering agreements such as:

  • Agency agreements.
  • Licences.
  • Hire purchase agreements.

This may be particularly useful if the small print contains complex provisions. If necessary, a solicitor can also refer you to a specialist in a particular area.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to ideas or designs that you create and legally own. Businesses need to protect their IP. A solicitor can give you advice about how to protect your rights in this complex but important area. It includes:

  • Patents.
  • Copyright.
  • Trademarks.
  • Designs.

For example, if someone else is creating something for your business, it is vital for your contract to state that you own the IP of anything that they create. A solicitor can write this contract for you.

The cost of a legal case can be significant. Disagreements can grow and expand if not solved quickly and effectively.

If you and another member of the business have a disagreement, a solicitor can help you to resolve this problem before any further action has to be taken. If you take advice from a solicitor at an early stage, it may help to prevent potential disputes from happening at all. For example, a solicitor can help you to:

  • Set out the division of responsibilities and profits.
  • Draft a will to decide what happens your business, or your part of a shared business, on your death.

If you hire a solicitor, you can get the information and insight you need to reach an informed decision on a solution and to protect your interests. A solicitor can help you to protect your rights in court, or to consider alternative dispute resolution.

Business structure

When starting a business, one of the most important decisions to make is what kind of legal structure you wish to use.

A solicitor can advise you on your options and what factors to consider when deciding what type of legal entity is right for your business. Examples include a private limited company (this is the most common kind), a company limited by guarantee (suitable for clubs or charities) or a partnership (often used by accountants, solicitors and architects).

If you are going into business with other people, your solicitor will arrange a shareholders’ agreement or partnership agreement.

Business premises

If you are renting your business premises, it is important to fully understand your lease. A solicitor will help you to identify hidden costs in a lease. They can answer any questions you may have or advise you on any situation which may arise about the premises.

Your solicitor can help if you decide to buy a premises.