Solicitor Service UK

Terms and conditions for a website

A website owner wishing to set out terms and conditions for use of a website can do so using a terms and conditions for a website document. This document may be used by the owner of an online business, a blog, a social network site, an online store and so forth. It forms a contract between the website owner and the website user.

Who needs a terms and conditions for a website document?

This is a useful document for a variety of website owners. It is an important document for online businesses and subscription-based websites, copyright owners, the owners of dating, social networking or recruitment websites, and so on. For businesses, the document spells out users’ rights and obligations while using their website. Copyright holders can use it to license their copyright and place restrictions on the use of their material. Other website owners can use this document to specify acceptable use of their website and reduce liabilities.

Why is this document important?

A terms and conditions for a website document is important for content owners seeking to control lay out conditions for the use of their content. A website owner can use this document to specify the rights of users to use website materials, to fulfil legal disclosure obligations, to reduce the risk of warranties and disclaim liabilities, and so forth. An online business can use a terms and conditions for a website document to protect their products and reduce their liabilities.

What is in terms and conditions for a website?

This document contains terms and conditions for a website, with sections including: Acceptable use, License to use website, Limitations of liability, Restricted access, User content and so forth. A website owner can specify specialised terms and conditions according to their website and their specific requirements.

If you would like to download a Terms and conditions for a website document for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Why you need a Shareholders’ Agreement

At the outset of your new business venture, you may feel so enthusiastic about putting your ideas into action that you overlook the difficulties of maintaining amicable working relationships with your co-owners. If your company has more than one owner, you should strongly consider implementing a shareholders’ agreement document.

Your shareholders’ agreement should cover the following issues:

  • The direction and growth of your company;
  • The appointment or removal of an individual as a company director;
  • The level and duration of each of your co-owners’ time and financial commitments;
  • The extent to which each of your co-owners are involved in decision making;
  • The payment of dividends;
  • The issuance of shares to any new co-owners;
  • The sale of a shareholder’s shares;
  • The right to purchase the shares of any co-owners who no longer fulfil their contribution to your company;
  • The valuation of the shares owned by any outgoing co-owners.

A shareholders’ agreement will grant you the chance to address the management and financing of your company, enabling you to run your company as you wish. Such an agreement will ensure that your co-owners know exactly where they stand in relation to their investment in your company. It will therefore minimise your risk of encountering complex and costly co-owner disputes.

If you would like to download a Shareholders Agreement Document for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Confidentiality agreement document

A confidentiality agreement (also known as a non-disclosure agreement, secrecy agreement, proprietary information agreement or confidential disclosure agreement) is a legal document used by businesses all across the United Kingdom. A confidentiality agreement document is an agreement between two or more parties which outlines any content or other material that needs to be kept secret from any third parties. Via the contract, all parties bound by the confidentiality agreement are legally obliged not to disclose any information to external individuals or organisations.

When are confidentiality agreements used?

Confidentiality agreements or NDA’s were created in order to create confidential relationships and protect proprietary information and perhaps more importantly, trade secrets. For example, if a web design company had been working on a new site for a business they may well be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. This would stop them from sharing any information they were privy to when working on the said website with competitors, therefore giving them a commercial advantage. Similarly, a confidentiality agreement also protects any non-public business information.

Common scenarios

Confidentiality agreement documents are commonly put into place when two or more organisations are contemplating going into business together or perhaps working on the same project. They would, in these scenarios, need to be able to understand the processes involved in order to assess the partnership which could be formed. The involved parties would not want all of their sensitive information or processes they have worked so hard to develop, to be made public. This is when a confidentiality agreement would be of paramount importance, as any divulging of this information would render the guilty party liable for court action. These agreements are often mutual, so both or all parties involved would be bound by exactly the same terms and conditions, there are instances where the use of material is only restricted for one of the parties.

Employer confidentiality

The other scenario, in which a confidentiality agreement would be of great use, is with regard to employers. The ethos is the same as the above but instead it stops employees of an organisation taking trade secrets to their next place of work. This is quite common where contractors or freelance staff are used, as they may not feel a particular affiliation to any company and be happy to share information. A confidentiality agreement would be very useful here as it would eliminate any chance of this taking place; it restricts employees use and dissemination of any confidential information owned by the company.

If you would like to download a Confidentiality Agreement Document for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Share Option Agreement

What Is A Share Option Agreement Document?

A share option agreement document is a contract between the owner of shares and a third party. It provides a party with the right to buy or sell shares (options) at a fixed price for a specific period of time. The document itself is extremely precise. It establishes a set price, known as a strike price, at which the contract may be implemented.

What are the main types of share option?

The three main types of share option are as follows:

Call option

A call is an option agreement that provides a prospective shareholder with the right to buy shares at a specified price for a certain, fixed period of time. It is the opposite of a put option, which gives a share owner the right to sell shares.

Put option

A put is an option agreement that provides a share owner with the right to sell his or her shares at a specified price for a certain, fixed period of time. It is the opposite of a call option, which gives a prospective shareholder the right to purchase shares.

Cross option

A cross option is an option agreement comprising of several put and/or call options. The shareholders of private companies may wish to put cross option agreements in place to ensure that, upon the death of a shareholder, any surviving shareholders are able to buy the deceased shareholder’s shares and have the funds to be able to do so.

What does a share option agreement document set out?

A share option agreement document sets out the detailed terms in respect of the shares, the type of option and the circumstances in which the option is able to be bought or sold. It includes a clear statement detailing:

• The issuance of the put, call or cross option
• The type of shares that are at the centre of the option
• Any money to be distributed on the issuance of the option
• Any conditions that must be satisfied before the option can be bought or sold
• The time period in which the option can be bought or sold
• The method by which the option is to be bought or sold
• The price of the option and the way in which it has been calculated – e.g. whether the price is a fixed price or whether it is calculated in accordance with a specified formula
• Any circumstances under which the option will lapse
• Whether or not the shareholder is expected to give warranties in respect of the shares
• Any restrictions that will be placed upon the shareholder while the option is in effect
• Whether the reorganisation of share capital will have an influence on the option

Why are share option agreement documents so popular?

Share option agreement documents are popular with employers as they can be used to incentivise employees. Through a share option document, employers can provide employees with the right to buy shares at a specified price on or before a specified date. If the shares increase in value, employees are able to make a profit. Shares can therefore aid an employer in increasing the motivation of their employees.

If you would like to download a Share Option Agreement for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Grievance Procedure

What Is A Grievance Procedure Document?

A grievance procedure document details the way in which an organisation should handle concerns, problems or complaints raised by their employees. It can cover a wide range of issues, including concerns about relationships with clients or customers, changes in employment terms and conditions, changes in working conditions, problems over personality clashes, health and safety issues, workplace restructuring problems, discrimination, and bullying and harassment issues.

Why is a grievance procedure document necessary?

A written grievance procedure document ensures that employees are aware of the steps they must take to raise their grievances and the actions that their organisation will take to resolve these grievances. It also ensures that employees are aware of their legal rights, such as the right to be accompanied at grievance hearings.

What should an organisation include in their grievance procedure document?

A grievance procedure document should include the following elements:

  • It should instruct an employee to inform an organisation of their grievance, in writing.
  • It should detail the way in which an organisation will carry out the investigations required to establish the facts of the case.
  • It should provide information on grievance meetings, which enable an employee to put forward their grievance and any suggested solutions.
  • It should inform an employee of their right to be accompanied at grievance meetings.
  • It should provide an employee with details of the appeals process, should they fail to feel satisfied with the outcome of their case.

If an organisation wishes to provide external mediation for certain types of grievance, the document should explain how and when mediators may be used.

Is an organisation obliged to follow the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Code of Practice on grievance procedures?

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides a wealth of practical guidance to aid organisations in acting fairly and reasonably when responding to grievance claims. Their Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures details the basic requirements of fairness and provides a standard of reasonable behaviour. If the Code applies to an organisation and the organisation unreasonably fails to follow its provisions, an Employment Tribunal may raise an award it makes against an organisation by up to 25%.

Should an organisation involve their employees in the development of a grievance procedure?

An organisation should actively involve their employees and their representatives in the development of a grievance procedure document. If an organisation’s employees are granted the chance to discuss the details of the grievance procedure document and the way in which it will work in practice, they will be more likely to follow the procedure. An organisation does not require consent, however, for their grievance procedure to apply.

How often should an organisation review their grievance procedure document?

An organisation should review their grievance procedure document at least once a year. In doing so, they will be able to ensure that the document remains relevant and still works effectively. If an organisation wishes to alter the document, they should discuss the proposed changes with their employees and any relevant representatives.

Can an employee ignore an organisation’s grievance procedure document and go straight to an Employment Tribunal?

An employee is free to bring a claim arising from a grievance before an Employment Tribunal, whether or not they have followed an organisation’s grievance procedure. However, if an employee unreasonably fails to follow the grievance procedure, the Employment Tribunal may reduce an award it makes against an organisation by as much as 25%.

If you would like to download a Grievance Procdue for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Bullying and Harassment Policy

What constitutes bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment could take a variety of forms. It might be one person treating another person unfairly, or a group of people picking on an individual. Humiliation, causing deliberate offence and giving someone unwanted attention are as unacceptable as violent or aggressive behaviour. Refusing to acknowledge a decent worker’s competence and denying them access to promotion or training could also be described as bullying.

This sort of malicious behaviour can happen face to face or indirectly. Indirectly, it can take the form of spreading unkind rumours, or harassment via email or phone.

Why is having a bullying and harassment policy important?

It is against the law to harass another person when that harassment is based on the person’s gender, age, disability, religion, race or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment, or unfair treatment of women because they are pregnant or returning from maternity leave are also illegal.

The bullying and harassment policy document that you put in place will inform your colleagues and employees of what behaviour is acceptable in the workplace and help you refrain from illegal practises. If the policy is not observed there is a risk that your company will experience a damaging lawsuit.

Who will use the bullying and harassment policy document and what is the procedure?

Everybody within a workplace should be aware of the policy. However, should harassment occur that cannot be solved informally, it is the duty of the manager, HR department or trade union rep to go over the policy document with any individuals who are in breach of it. Every claim should be treated seriously and everyone has the right to make themselves heard.

Not taking an individual with a claim seriously, or not acting upon it, will be seen as collusion. Those in charge of the policy must confront the aggressors and take a course of action to ensure that that harassment or bullying stops.

What happens if the policy is disputed or legal action occurs?

Should the policy document be disputed, the employee will be advised to follow the company’s grievance procedure to make a formal complaint. If the harassment continues then those behaving maliciously should be dealt with accordingly. No company should tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any kind.

If the harassment continues the victim may wish to call an employment tribunal to take legal action. The policy document will be used in the company’s defence if the company can prove that they have abided by what is contained within it.

If you would like to download a Bullying and Harassment Policy for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

 

Whistleblowing Policy

What is whistleblowing?

The term whistleblowing is used to define an employee’s decision to raise their concerns about wrongdoings within a company. The concern must be a genuine one, and may revolve around the cover up of a criminal offence, an injustice or a danger to health and safety.

What is a whistleblowing policy document?

A whistleblowing policy document is a legal agreement that details the procedures that will be followed whenever an employee discloses information about the illegal activities or dangerous practices that are taking place within a company.

Why create a whistleblowing policy?

A whistleblowing policy document encourages an employee to disclose their concerns using appropriate channels before they become a serious problem. It assures an employee that the company for which they work will adhere to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and will not dismiss them or take disciplinary action against them for blowing the whistle, as long as they follow the correct processes. The document not only protects an employee, but also has the potential to safeguard a company from negative publicity, regulatory investigations and fines.

How should a company introduce and use a whistleblowing policy document?

If implementing a new or revised policy, a company must notify all of their employees by memo or circular. In doing so, they will be able to provide their employees with details of the date of implementation of the policy and offer them the chance to review the policy before it is put in place. A policy will only work effectively if employees are aware of its existence and understand the actions they must take to follow it. A company should not rely on the policy to speak for itself. Instead, they should educate their employees on the policy, bearing in mind that the policy will only be of use if it is enforced by senior management. If a company does not wish to educate their employees on the whistleblowing policy, they should direct their employees to their HR department or trade union, who should be able to provide support and advice.

Can an employee raise a complaint through a whistleblowing policy?

Whistleblowing is not the same as making a complaint. If an employee has a complaint regarding pay, working hours or bullying, they must raise the issue through a company’s grievance policy.

Is it acceptable for a company to make changes to their whistleblowing policy without consulting their employees?

If a company has an existing whistleblowing policy, their senior management must consult with their employees with regards to any changes that will be made to the policy. This will not only constitute good practice, but it will also help a company to adhere to their legal requirements, particularly if the existing policy document forms an essential part of the contract of employment.

What happens to the policy document when whistleblowing legislation changes?

It is essential for a company to review their whistleblowing policy document on an annual basis, taking into account changes in legalisation. When creating a whistleblowing document, a company may wish to nominate an individual to take responsibility for the task of future policy evaluation.

If you would like to download a Staff Handbook for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Consultancy Agreement

What Is A Consultancy Agreement?

A consultancy agreement is a legal agreement between a business and a consultancy agency, which can take the form of a company or an individual. The fundamental aim of a consultancy agreement is to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the parties involved in a business relationship.

When should a business use a consultancy agreement?

A consultancy agreement may be appropriate for use whenever a business needs to complete a specific project and requires the assistance of a consultancy agency. The consultancy agency will not usually be considered an employee of the business and hence, a consultancy agreement must be drafted in accordance with the law to define the terms of the relationship.

How is a consultancy agreement structured?

A consultancy agreement document can be structured in a range of ways. The structure of the agreement will depend on the following:

• Whether the agreement is between a business and an individual consultant or between a business and the consultant’s employer
• Whether the agreement covers the services of an individual or a number of people
• Whether the services are required for a specific period of time or are to be called upon as and when required

If the services are to be called upon as and when required, it may be useful for a business to draw up a master consultancy agreement for the provision of services and produce separate project statements as and when required.

What are the main elements of a consultancy agreement?

While there are several elements to a consultancy agreement, the following elements are essential to ensure that both the business and the consultancy agency benefit from the business relationship:

Description

The description element should detail the scope of the project to be undertaken and the purpose of the agreement. It should include the type of work the consultancy agency will be required to perform and the methods that will be used to meet a business’s requirements.

Schedule

A consultancy agreement can be short-term or long-term. Thus, it is essential that the document contains details of the time frame of the agreement. The schedule element should detail any timelines agreed upon for the completion of key tasks. It must include the repercussions that the consultancy agency will face for failing to complete work in a timely manner and the criteria that will be used to recognise the project as complete.

Ownership

The ownership element should cover the consultancy agency’s right to claim ownership over the final work. This section therefore deals with the various issues surrounding intellectual property rights.

Payment

The payment clause should detail the amount and form of the payment to be provided to the consultancy agency. It may also include information on expenses, budget restrictions and bonuses.

Warranty

The warranty element must cover any warranties provided to the business by the consultancy agency. It may include the timescale in which a business must notify the consultancy agency of any errors or problems with the work performed and may detail any costs associated with the warranty.

Confidentiality

The confidentiality clause should cover the terms of confidentiality the consultancy agency must uphold. This clause is important as the consultancy agency may discover a business’s trade secrets while performing key tasks. It must therefore define the legal penalties the consultancy agency will face for disclosing confidential information about a business.

Cancellation

The cancellation clause must detail the actions that need to be taken in the event of either party wishing to cancel the contract. It should include notice requirements, mechanisms for cancelling and cancellation fees and penalties.

Why draw up a consultancy agreement?

By setting up a consultancy agreement, a business will be able to specify the duties the consultancy agency will be required to undertake. Moreover, it will provide the consultancy agency with a description of their precise role and details of their rights and responsibilities.

If you would like to download a Consultancy Agreement for free, please visit
www.free-legal-documents.co.uk

Raise your left hand in the air…

If you have been asked to be a witness in court, you might be wondering whether or not you have to go if you don’t want to. Well, in a nutshell, the answer is yes, you do!

When you receive a letter from court asking you to be a witness, you must comply with their requirements.

As long as you can understand the questions being asked and the jury and judge can understand your responses, you can give evidence in court no matter what age you are.

You will be contacted by the Witness Service after you have been called upon to give evidence in court and they will be able to offer you some help and support before and on the day of the trial. If you would like to, they will be able to arrange for you to visit the court and find out more about what goes on so that on the day of the trial you will know what to expect and what will be required of you.

The Witness Service will also meet you on the day of the trial and ensure that you have a quiet place to wait before you give evidence and accompany you to the court room when you are called on. You should make sure you arrive at the court least 30 minutes before the trial is due to start as you have to go through a security check and then go to the reception desk.

It will not always be necessary for you to actually enter the courtroom – if the judge thinks that it might be too difficult for you to give evidence whilst in view of the person on trial, special steps can be taken, for example if you are:

  • under 18
  • disabled
  • afraid to give evidence
  • a victim of a sexual offence

Special measures could include:

  • screens to stop you from having to see the defendant
  • giving evidence via a live TV link
  • asking the public to leave the courtroom when you give evidence, if it’s a case involving a sexual offence

If you think you need special protection, you should speak to the police officer, witness care officer or the solicitor who asked you to come to court.

Once you have given evidence, sometimes you might be asked to wait but usually, if there are no more questions, you will be allowed to leave the court. In the ensuing weeks, you will be informed as to whether the person was found guilty and if they were, what penalty was given to them. Your witness care officer should:

  • tell you about the outcome within one day of the court’s decision
  • explain to you anything you don’t understand

If you are a defence witness, the person who asked you to come to court should tell you the result of the trial.

If you would like more information in relation to being a witness in court, LegalCare are there to help and answer your questions. All you have to do is ask their professionals for the guidance you need.

Can I claim compensation?

To qualify for compensation you must be eligible under the rules made by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the independent watchdog set up by government under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) to regulate financial services in the UK and protect the rights of consumers. The rules tell us which types of claim are eligible for compensation, and limit how much compensation is to be paid. Different rules and compensation limits apply to different types of claim so for advice on making a compensation claim it is always advisable to seek legal counsel.

If you have suffered an accident or an injury in the last three years that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to make a personal injury claim.

There are specialist solicitors who are professionally qualified and competent when it comes to advising people over compensation claims and you can access this expert guidance from the team at LegalCare.

Speaking to solicitors can be expensive.

If cost is an issue for a potential claimant they should try to access affordable options open to them, which is where LegalCare comes in.

In the past, compensation firms have offered to provide a free initial consultation to customers thus allowing would-be claimants an opportunity to explain their case and gain a better idea of where they stand and the likelihood of receiving compensation. If the firm agreed to take on a case, they would provide a solicitor both to advise and represent the claimant.

LegalCare have taken this model and made it even simpler. You no longer have to arrange a consultation or waste any time researching suitable firms or visiting solicitors. As a member of LegalCare all you have to do is input your question into the box on your dashboard and it will be sent directly to an experienced adviser.

If you are unsure about the process of claiming accident compensation then they can reassure you. On initial contact, all you have to do is tell them the circumstances of your accident, the injuries you have suffered and how those injuries have affected your life. An advisor will them examine your claim and help you make your next move. They will provide reliable and accurate answers to any compensation queries submitted in under an hour.

LegalCare point you in the right direction so that you can be sure you are placing your trust in the right hands.

If you would like more information relating to claiming compensation, all you have to do is ask.