UK legal compliance issues

Legal issues to be observed:  UK office opening

The following includes a summary of the main legal issues to be observed when doing business in the UK or employing staff and the action required

Legal issueAction required

Registration required with HM Revenue & Customs for payroll taxes, VAT and corporate tax.





Payroll compliance


We require:

  • Full names, private addresses, dates of birth and nationality of all the directors.
  • Certificate of incorporation / branch registration and Memo & Articles.
  • Evidence of intention to trade: office lease and signed contract with UK client

             (e.g to provide technical services).

We will send you the relevant forms to sign.

  1.  Amounts for PAYE (income tax) & National Insurance(NI) must be deducted from

Gross salary and paid to HMRC by the 19th day of the month following the payroll month.

  1. Overseas secondees must complete forms P46 & P86 before joining the UK payroll.
  2. Non-EEA nationals must send a copy of their work permit to us for payroll processing.


Employers liability compulsory insurance (ELCI)  to meet the costs of compensation and legal fees for employees who are injured or made ill at work through the fault of the employer.  The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing this law.Employer must have ELCI cover of at least £5million. ELCI must cover all your employees in

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We can put you in touch with a suitable insurance broker who will arrange cover for you.


Health & Safety issues compliance and registration with the HSE.

  For further information go to:

If you are taking a serviced office do ask the supplier whether you are covered under their H&S arrangements.

This 10-point list shows some of the key actions required by law:

1.Register a new business with the Health and Safety Executive or your local

Authority, depending on the sort of business you have.

2.  Take out Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance and display the


3.Make sure you have someone competent to help you meet your health and

safety duties. This does not have to be an external consultant.

4.Decide how you are going to manage health and safety in terms of

Drawing up a H&S policy.

5.Decide what could harm people and what precautions to take. This is your
risk assessment. You must act on the findings of your risk assessment, by

   putting sensible controls in place to prevent accidents and ill health and making

      sure they are followed.

6. Provide basic welfare facilities, such as toilets, washing facilities and drinking


7. Provide free health and safety training for your workers.

 8. Consult your workers on health and safety.

9. Display the health and safety law poster or give workers a leaflet with the


10. Report some work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences.



Data Protection registration with the Information Commissioner


The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them. It provides a framework to ensure that personal information is handled properly.

The Act works in two ways. Firstly, it states that anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles, which make sure that personal information is:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary
  • Processed in line with employee/stakeholder rights
  • Secure
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

The second area covered by the Act provides individuals with important rights, including the right to find out what personal information is held on computer and most paper records

We can assist you to register under the Data Protection Act.

Business names

(not registrable with the UK government any longer)


The previous law was replaced by the Business Names Act 1985. This allows the

Secretary of State to have certain control over the name you choose for your business

and what you must tell others about the ownership of the business.

You should also check local phone books and any relevant trade journals or magazines,

 to see if any other business is already using the name. If it is, you could face legal


If you have any intention to trade goods or services, you would be well advised to ensure

your business name does not conflict with a registered trademark. It does not have to

be identical with a trade mark to cause possible conflict. Problems can arise if a name is

judged to be confusingly similar.  

Employment issues
  • Employment contract, in accordance with UK law, must be given to employees within

two months of joining date (refer to 16 point statutory checklist.

  • Availability of Staff Handbook.
  • Part-time and casual workers.
  • Employee v self-employed consultant.


  • Obtaining work permits to transfer non-EEA workers to work in the UK.
  • Employer registration as Sponsor under Tier 2 of Points Based System.
  • Work permit extensions and obtaining Further Leave to Remain
  • “Business” visas cannot be used to “work” in the UK.