Businesses in Europe are setting up a new business in the UK as a very effective way of off-setting the problems and tariffs associated with cross-border business post-Brexit. The process to set up a limited liability company or any of the other types of business entities is relatively straightforward and can be achieved very quickly.
However, in order for your newly acquired UK company to thrive is ensure from the beginning that it is legally sound with regard to laws in England and Wales that impact on business, such as, employment law, tax and shareholder agreements.
Legal disputes, should they arise, are not only time-consuming and costly, they can seriously affect the functioning of a business if a long-running dispute ends up in court or a tribunal and requires witness evidence from your wider staff. Not only do you have the cost of lost time taken by senior staff in initially attempting to resolve the issue, there are the on-going legal costs and also the loss of productivity if staff are eventually required to give evidence even if you win the dispute. Should you lose the argument, depending on its nature, you could be fined, have to make financial reparations to the other party or worse still, suffer from reputational damage that is hard to overcome.
The very best advice you could take at the beginning of your venture is legal advice.
Gonzalo Butori, an Abogado and Registered Foreign Lawyer, in the corporate and commercial team, commented "you will need to decide the best format would suit your business model, sole trader, a partnership, or a limited company. From the on-set you must ensure that your business is registered correctly and that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is informed" he further commented "you need to be fully informed of all the implications surrounding the type of business formation you choose, a limited liability company limits personal liability but is subject to far greater regulatory responsibilities, any breach of which can result in a hefty fine or worse."
Another key area that could pose a problem if not properly adhered to is the employment law in England and Wales. Giambrone's corporate and commercial lawyers strongly recommend that comprehensive legal advice is sought from the beginning to be certain that the firm is fully compliant. Should an employment law issue arise it should be managed by experienced employment lawyers to avoid the risk of a breach of current employment law. Especially when an employee is disciplined or dismissed. It would be a wise practice to document every step you take and to keep your employee fully informed of all decisions and why they were made, in order to demonstrate that you have strictly adhered to the law.
Disputes between shareholders are surprisingly common, particularly in respect of family businesses where the familiarity of the shareholders often results in certain formalities being overlooked. It is not unknown for family businesses to rely on verbal agreements and the general expectations of the parties rather than drafting a formal shareholders' agreement stating the rights and responsibilities of each shareholder, outlining the objectives of the company and how its official shares are divided. Often as each generation takes its place at the boardroom table misunderstanding and disagreements arise which can surprisingly quickly turn into an acrimonious legal battle.
Foreign nationals doing business in the UK Giambrone's highly regarded commercial lawyers strongly recommend appointing multi-lingual lawyers to advise and guide you to safeguard your business interests.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.