Wednesday, 27 May 2015

How to protect your business legally

Whether you are about to start up your own business or you have been running your own business for years, protecting your business legally is essential. Any ideas, copyrights, patents, software and financial information should be protected with a non-disclosure agreement. Protecting these can help keep your business safe against other businesses, that may wish to replicate your work. Non-disclosure agreements can also offer some protection in relation to the information you disclose. Non-disclosure agreements can be used by just one person as way of disclosing information or can be used by two parties as a deterrent against disclosing confidential information.

If you own or are setting up a limited company, a shareholders agreement must be set up. A shareholders agreement outlines and regulates the arrangements between you and other shareholders in the business. With this in mind, it is essential to agree to the shareholders agreement as well as writing down who owns the shares and in what amounts.

In addition to this, the framework of how your company is operated also needs to be set out, as well as who makes the decisions and how they are going to be made. Signing and setting up agreements such as these are also essential for avoiding any future disputes.

If someone decides to invest in or loans money to your business an investor agreement should be made. By setting up such an agreement, investors will be able to see the terms on which they are giving money formally written down. With this you must write down how many shares they get, what type they are and what their value is. This agreement should also address the following questions/issues:

·         Will their shares get diluted if more money comes in?

·         What are the procedures for running the company and its exit?

·         How much control will you be giving them?

·         If you fail to address potential situations such as this, it may come back to bite you later.

If your business has a website, your consumers should be able to see your sites terms and conditions. Your websites terms and conditions should set out how your business is run and how you expect your customers to behave. Copying and pasting another sites terms and conditions is not an option as there may be certain laws that you must adhere to which is not included in theirs.

If your business has a website or you are an online business it is more than likely that you will have software developers helping you build your business. Setting up a software agreement is important and can help you avoid any potential pitfalls. This type of contract should include answers to questions/issues such as:

·         What’s the price?

·         When will it be paid?

·         What are the development milestones?

·         Who will own the software?

·         Who will deal with bugs, changes and maintenance and at what cost?

Your businesses software could be a key factor in running your company so ensuring that the paperwork is correct is vital.

If you are thinking of starting your own business or if you already have your business but lack the legal documents which could protect you, LawStore Business can help you! LawStore Business provides legal packages for both startups and established businesses.

Legal services may seem like a costly, overwhelming expense but ensuring that the right legal procedures and documents are in place from the outset will help prevent against any unforeseen, costly difficulties that your business may face later on. They will also ensure that your businesses identity is protected right from the beginning.

The LawStore's Business Start-up Legal Packages offer cost effective, fixed fee solutions for all your start-up needs from Company Formation through to Contracts, Terms and Conditions and even website services and privacy policies, designed to assist new and even established businesses in all the necessary legal preparations required.

To find out more about LawStore Business' legal packages simply click here or call them on 0845 603 6544 today!

Letting agents to publicise fees charged to landlords and tenants

As from today (27th May 2015), it is a statutory duty for letting agents to fully publicise the fees they charge to both landlords and tenants. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, letting agents must visibly display a list of their fees at each of their offices, including their website.

These new requirements have been issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government with some input from the Advertising Standards Authority. The new guidelines state that, "all fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) which are payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant in respect of letting agency work and property management work carried out by the agent in connection with an assured tenancy. This includes fees, charges or penalties in connection with an assured tenancy of a property or a property that is, has been or is proposed to be let under an assured tenancy.”

All fees must also be inclusive of VAT. Letting agents however, do not need to publicise the rent which is payable to a landlord or the tenancy deposit which is taken as security against any damage or violation of the tenancy agreement.

These guidelines are enforced by Trading Standards. Non-compliance will result in a fine of up to £5,000. Lower fines will only be applicable to those in extenuating circumstances. Common excuses including, ‘I did not know about the law’ or ‘I did not know what to do,’ are no longer acceptable.

This change now means that a breakdown in costs are required. All fees should be clear without surcharges or hidden costs. Fees for things like 'administration fees' will no longer be acceptable, with all charges being displayed inclusive of tax.

In addition to these changes, letting agents must also display which redress scheme they have joined. There are three redress schemes and they include:

- The Property Ombudsman

- The Property Redress Scheme or Ombudsman Services

- Client Money Protection (CMP)

But what do you think? Start your own discussion in the LawStore Social Landlord and Tenant forum.

Monday, 18 May 2015

MTA Solicitors took part in Will Aid

MTA Solicitors LLP has been mentioned in the Bromley Times online. In an article entitled "Solicitors waive Will fees to raise £1.75m for charity", MTA solicitors is one of twelve solicitors in the Bromley and Bexley area who have helped raise money for nine charities by taking part in Will aid. The Will aid campaign takes part each November and is designed to encourage people to protect their families by ensuring that they have a properly drafted Will as well as support charities. It is estimated that around 70% of people in the UK do not have a Will.

Click here to find out more.

See below for other blog posts about Wills

Don't have a Will? Neither does 73% of the UK

What you need to consider when making a Will

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Personal Injury Claim - Hit and Run

A hit and run on celebrity Actor Ryan Reynolds has recently made headlines causing many to ask ...can I make a personal injury claim for hit and run injuries?

Being left to suffer after a hit and run can leave many feeling both frustrated and helpless, especially if the accident has left you with an injury. If you failed to get the details of the driver, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injury and any loss suffered.

The procedure for making a claim will depend on:
  • whether the driver is traced by police following the accident
  • whether the driver was insured at the time of the accident

A 'normal' personal injury claim can be made if the driver responsible is traced and holds a valid insurance. However, if the driver is traced but fails to hold valid insurance your chosen solicitor will be able to assist you with making a claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) under the Uninsured Driver Scheme.

If the driver responsible is unable to be traced, the MIB may still be able to assist you with your claim. The MIB is designed to help deal with claims from the innocent who have suffered an injury or damage to their property as a result of an uninsured or untraced driver. Before making a claim, it essential that you seek expert legal advice from a solicitor as procedures involving the MIB can be complex.

Gathering any evidence relating to your accident will also help to strengthen and support your case, especially if the driver responsible does not have insurance. With hit and run accidents, it is unlikely that you will be able to get the drivers name and address, however it would be an added advantage if you could remember the following details:

  • vehicle model
  • registration number
  • details of damage to your vehicle
  • photographs
  • witness details
It is important to note that if you have been involved in an accident, that you ask for the other driver's insurance details. If the other driver has fled or refuses to give over insurance details, you should report the accident to police within 5 days.

Claims to the MIB can only be made once the police and your insurance company have attempted to find the driver responsible. Therefore, it is extremely important that the accident gets reported to the police.

If you have been hit and injured by an uninsured or untraceable driver, Acorn Law can help you claim the compensation you deserve. Find out more at or call 0845 602 6938 to speak with an advisor.