|Approach to costs
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always aim to approach
legal work in a financially-disciplined way. We offer
competitive rates. Our charging approach is both transparent
and geared to the options open to our clients. Our
solicitors generally charge by reference to time spent but
we can often agree fixed fees for specific work or in some
cases risk-adjusted funding structures.
Send us a summary of your circumstances and objectives for a quick response.
Starting a business: funding: company formation: partnerships
Start-up funding: setting up a company, partnership, charity, website: trading terms: business leases: employing staff: intellectual property solicitors
Solicitors here advise on and put together legal documentation for new business start-ups, including company vehicle formation with directors, shareholders & articles of association in place, partnership agreements or agency appointments, and licences of intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, designs, patents) into the vehicle from 3rd parties.
Funding a new business is often key, so loan agreements, share subscription documents & often forms of personal guarantee by directors in favour of banks to secure the overdraft need to be handled.
Humphreys & Co. commercial business solicitors supply clear, cost-effective advice & representation, in drafting & negotiating documents, on all legal issues likely to affect a start-up business or joint venture.
New businesses: start-up companies
Over 400,000 new businesses are set up in the UK every year. People take the bold step of establishing their own business for various reasons; for some there may be a product or service they wish to sell, for others a gap in a market they are looking to exploit, whilst many may simply desire the freedom and control that working for yourself affords.
As a legal person, every UK citizen has the right to trade under their own name (known as a sole trader, or more commonly “self-employed”). This small-scale approach is the most common form of start-up businesses; however there are also risks and limitations to sole trading which can be avoided by setting up a limited liability company.
As providers of high-quality, cost effective commercial legal services, solicitors at Humphreys & Co. can help those wishing to establish a limited company realise their aims. Choosing to conduct your business through the vehicle of a limited company can be a prudent course; our extensive business start-up service is designed to get your new business up and running as quickly as possible.
For expert advice on the options available to you, please contact one of our commercial lawyers, who will be pleased to get back to you with proposed costings and next steps:
|Setting up a limited liability company
What is the difference between operating as a sole trader and a limited company?
- Sole traders do not distinguish between business and personal finances. Whilst this is initially simpler to arrange, if the business incurs a loss, lawsuit or debts, the sole trader is liable, and their personal assets will be available to satisfy the debts of the business.
- A limited company is recognised as a legal person, able to conduct business and take on liabilities in its own right. The liability of the company is therefore restricted to its own assets, meaning that the personal assets of its members and officers are (in most circumstances) not company assets. This can make the company vehicle an attractive option for those currently trading as private individuals.
What are the benefits of a limited company?
Primarily, limited companies provide the infrastructure to protect yourself and your personal assets whilst trading. They also:
- Provide the perfect platform to grow, and even sell, your business in the future.
- Allow revenue to be raised by selling shares in the company.
- Allow shares to be sold when shareholders wish to cash in.
There may also be tax advantages to incorporating your business.
Humphreys & Co. can help you to understand the risks of business and minimise them – whether this be advising on the type of company which suits your needs best, or navigating legal red tape once your company is underway. Our commercial legal expertise covers everything from advising on best business practices and drafting contracts, to registering and asserting your business’s intellectual property rights to trademarks and copyright.
Companies are formed in the UK by application to Companies House. We are able to offer expert assistance in the preparation and filing of the required documents to register your new company.
We can offer advice on the issues that arise in the creation of a new company such as:
- Choosing the most appropriate type of limited company for your needs
- Selecting a company name that complies with the applicable rules
- Supplying the Articles of Association governing the internal running of the company
- Appointing the officers of the company required by law
- Directors’ service agreements
- Shareholders’ agreements
- Data protection registration
- Compliance with trading standards
Alternatively, we can get for you a company ‘off-the-shelf.’ This is a company that has already been registered, but has had no activity. By taking this option, you would be able to start carrying on business more quickly, and with less paperwork than by creating a new company from scratch.
Once your new business is up and running, we can assist you in complying with ongoing obligations placed upon limited companies by the law, such as:
Ensuring that the necessary information about your company is clearly presented to the public (trading and disclosure requirements).
Ensuring that necessary company documents remain available for inspection upon request by the public (inspection requirements).
Ensuring that directors comply with the important obligations imposed upon them by company law.
If you have decided that forming a company is not your preferred option (and tax considerations are very important here), we are able to offer advice on alternatives, such as the formation of partnerships and limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and entering into a joint venture.
Another option you may wish to consider is preparing a constitution for an unincorporated association. This is a legal agreement between individuals that wish to pursue a common aim without establishing a more formal vehicle such as a company or limited liability partnership. It offers the flexibility of designing your own rules to suit your particular purposes, without also incurring the obligations of a corporate body. Our lawyers are experienced in producing these agreements and can ensure that the members of an association create an effective working relationship.
Commercial focus: detailed scopes of work: transparent costings: clarity
Charities - setting up a social enterprise
Social enterprises provide services with a distinct social benefit.
Most function in a similar way to limited companies, the difference being that any profit is reinvested rather than distributed amongst shareholders or paid out to the owner.
There are multiple structures for social enterprises, some of which are:
- Unincorporated Partnerships
- Community Benefit Services (BenComs)
- Community Interest Companies
Our lawyers here advise and represent a number of local, regional and national charities. We can assist in getting a charitable organisation off the ground and in complying with the ongoing requirements of charity law. It is important to bear in mind that any charity registered in the UK must:
- Adopt and carry out solely charitable aims as defined by charity law.
- Pursue its aims in such a way that they contribute towards public benefit.
A common arrangement for establishing a new charity is to set up a trust fund, and submit an application for the fund to be awarded charitable status. A trust is a legal arrangement whereby two or more individuals declare that they hold property to be used exclusively for certain purposes. We can assist in preparing these declarations, and can ensure that the operation of the trust in practice furthers the aims that the trustees had in mind at its formation. We can then guide clients through the process of registration as a charity. This entails the submission of an application form to the Charity Commission together with a governing document, which in this case would be the declaration of trust.
If you anticipate that the charity will be undertaking aims that entail significant financial risk, or will require the signing of a high volume of contracts, you may like to establish a corporate charity.
This involves registering a company, usually a company limited by guarantee, with Companies House, which can then be registered as a charity with the Charity Commission using the same process that applies to trust funds. The main difference at the registration stage is that the company’s Articles of Association are submitted to the Charity Commission as the governing document.
Unlike a charitable trust, the finished product in the case of corporate charities becomes a legal person distinct from its members (in most cases). The most significant implication of this is that the personal assets of the members are protected, should the charity incur liabilities that it is unable to repay. There are other advantages, particularly for larger charities, such as the ability to enter agreements and take on employees in the name of the charity, rather than the name of particular trustees.
There are a number of options to consider, however, and ultimately the precise structure that your charity adopts will depend upon its particular circumstances. Indeed, in some cases, it may not be possible to pursue your aims through a charitable organisation at all.
If you would like to discuss the nature of the work that you would like to undertake, then do get in touch with our lawyers.
Starting a business, with the legal documentation & liabilities entailed is not straightforward: best to get in business lawyers from the start
We take instructions from UK & international clients. Our independent lawyers are available by email, telephone & fax. With central Bristol offices we are just 90 minutes from London by road or rail and 15 minutes from Bristol International Airport. We can travel to meetings if required.
We are an independent professional law firm here, not a legal factory turning out mass-produced products. In our experience, determined case-handling is more likely to produce effective results.
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. look to input not only
careful legal work and precision but also the determination
to keep matters moving. They aim to work in clients' real
interests with energy and pragmatism.
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always try to open up the
legal process by giving advice and explaining options to
clients in a concise and straightforward way, identifying
clear courses of action whatever the technical or legal
complexities of the subject.