We’re here with practical legal information for your business. Learn about employment law, company law and more.

Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

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.

Forming a business - checklist

When forming a business make sure you get it right from the start. Check the key considerations and legal requirements to prevent expensive mistakes.

  • Involve professional advisers (eg an accountant) from the outset.
  • Consider whether you will be in sole control of the business or will share ownership or involve external investors.
  • Consider whether a company or limited liability partnership (LLP) will offer worthwhile financial flexibility, protection of personal assets and credibility with customers, suppliers and lenders.
  • Consider whether the administrative burden and costs, and the disclosure requirements, of a company or limited liability partnership will be justified.
  • Investigate the likely effect of different business forms on your tax and National Insurance position.
  • Choose the most appropriate business form: sole trader, partnership, LLP or limited company.
  • Draw up an agreement with the key individuals involved covering, for example, strategy, remuneration, responsibilities and 'what if' scenarios.
  • Choose a trading name; check that it is permitted, and is not already being used by another, similar business.
  • Use a company formation agent (or your accountant or solicitor) for the legal formation of a company or limited liability partnership.
  • Check any legal requirements (eg licences) with your local authority and organise insurance.
  • Contact HM Revenue & Customs to organise tax and National Insurance (and PAYE if you will be an employer); if necessary, register for VAT with your VAT office.
  • Organise systems to keep records and ensure that you can comply with statutory requirements (eg filing annual returns).