Legal System Of The UK

Legal System Of The UK

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Legal System Of The UK

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Legal System Of The UK

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You are working in a law firm advising new start-up companies on the legal system and key legislation that they are required to know and apply. You have been asked to produce a handbook for new companies in order to support your business advice and guidance.


Entrepreneurs required evaluating and understanding the legal system which applies to the company since it assists them in complying with necessary legal requirements and taking right business decisions. This report will evaluate the legal system of the United Kingdom by overseeing different laws that are necessary to comply by new start-ups. Further, the report will analyse the potential implications of law on businesses and the government’s role in the law-making process.
UK Legal System Explanation
The UK is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch. The country has an unwritten constitution, and there is no single written document which provides the rights that citizens have and how the government should act. There are a variety of sources which comprised as the constitution, some of which are written whereas others are unwritten (Ward, 2011). The doctrine of judicial precedents is a unique feature in the legal system of the UK whereby the decision taken by the courts are binding as a source of law over the future judicial decision. The crown court handles all criminal cases after they are appealed from magistrate court.
However, the magistrate court has the right to entertain both civil and criminal cases. County court is the first level of civil cases, and it cannot be passed to magistrate court. For criminal cases, magistrate court is the first level. The parties have right to appeal against the judgement of both County and Magistrate court in Supreme Court which is the last supreme power in the country (Ingman, 2011). The Supreme Court has the authority to give punishment like combining two punishments. The laws are necessary to comply by organisations include company law, employment law, National Minimum Wage act 1998, English contract law, and others.
Overview of UK’s Sources of Law
There are three key sources of the UK law which include common law, legislation, and the European Union law. Legislation laws are referred to the acts that are created by a legislature, and the Acts of Parliament are defined as the most significant pieces of legislation. The UK Parliament is situated in London, and it passes laws that implement in the UK. The Parliament consists of the House of Lords in which the number of members is not fixed (currently 792 sitting lords) and the House of Commons in which 650 members sits. The legal system that applies in Wales and England is a common law one, therefore, the judgment of senior appellate courts becomes a part of the law (Armour, et al., 2009). The country is a member of the European Union (EU); therefore, it has to comply with the EU law, and it takes precedence over nation’s law.
Explaining the Government’s Role in Law-making
The government plays a key role in law-making since it introduces great majority of Acts of Parliaments. The government performs different activities or functions during different steps of the law-making procedure. Firstly, the executive branches of government develop a draft of the law which is known as a public bill, and the main function of parliament is the review, amend and pass such bill to create a new law (Mahalatchimy, et al., 2012). The draft presented by the government includes proposed law and its impact on the society. Only few bills become law. The procedure for passing a bill starts from presenting of the bill in either the House of Lords or the House of Commons. The first reading of the bill is just a formality in both houses. In second reading of the bill, a government minister read and presents that bill in front of the House of Commons.
The opposition and other parties present their views. Generally, the opposition opposes the bill, but it almost always progresses to the Committee stage. The committee further examines and amend the bill, and it reports the debates and amendments to the House. In third reading, members of the House vote whether the bill should be accepted or rejected. Further, the government plays a crucial role in Delegated Legislation in which the parliament delegates the power of law-making to the government. This legislation is subject to strict limitations, and it can only use for regulating issues of administrative nature. There are three key types of Delegated Legislations. In order in council, the government made law during an emergency. In the Statutory instrument, the government ministers create new regulation, and the local and national authorities create Bye-laws.
Key Legislations for Start-ups
While starting up a new business, founders have to decide the legal status of the company as it influences the way a business is operated and it affects the way it pays taxes and record accounts. Firstly, entrepreneurs have to decide the legal structure of business. There are three key types of legal structure of a business, sole trader, limited company and partnership. For limited companies, founders have to register with Companies House (Gov.UK, 2018). As per the legal system in the UK, the name of the company must be displayed at the register offer and its literatures. The founders register a company and select a unique name in order to start its operations. The members and the company are separate entities and members cannot be held liable for company’s debts. For example, as provided in the Salomon v A Salomon and Co Ltd (1897) AC 22 case, the founders and the company has separate legal entity (Goulding, 2013).
Entrepreneurs have different responsibilities based on the types of their business, and they have to check the requirement of licences or permits and insurance. For example, entrepreneurs who are establishing a business in hospitality or catering industry such as restaurant or pub required a licence to work. The business that relies on licence for its income, start-ups are required to take business insurance that protects them in the event of a loss. Start-ups have to comply with different employment and contract laws in order to smoothly operate in the UK. For example, as per employment law in the UK, any business that employs staff is required to take an employer’s liability insurance with a cover level of £5 million. Another example is provided in British Gas Trading Ltd v Lock & Anor (2016) EWCA Civ 983 case in which the court held that Working Time Regulations 1998 can be interpreted for including results-based commissions (Employment Cases Update, 2016).
Potential Implications of Law
Copyright Law: With the growing number of start-ups, the growth in protection for intellectual property has grown as well. The UK Copyright Service protects the slogans, creative work, logos and designs of businesses from copying or infringement. Start-ups are required to carefully comply with the UK Copyright law to avoid legal issue. For example, in Temple Island Collections Ltd v New English Teas Ltd (2012) EWPCC 1 case, the court held that reproduction of substantial part of claimant’s artistic work is considered as an infringement of copyright act (Harms, 2013).
Employment Law: Start-ups are required to comply with various regulations relating to employment law such as providing safe and healthy workplace environment, appropriate leave policies, compliance with minimum wage act, equality act and others. For example, in The Government Legal Service v Brookes (2017) UKEAT 0302/16/2803/RN case, the court held that as per Equality Act 2010, indirect discrimination is illegal and corporations cannot discriminate between candidates for recruitment based on their disability (Employment Cases Update, 2017).
Contract Law: Start-ups have to comply with provisions of the English contract law when they entered into a legal agreement with customers, suppliers, investors or other entities. Due to the implication of contract law, the companies have to ensure that they fulfil all the terms of a contract because non-compliance can lead to legal consequences. For example, in Marks & Spencer PLC v BNP Paribas SSTC Ltd (2015) UKSC 72 the judgment was given by the Supreme Court which provided that a contract should not be treated as authoritative guidance instead it should be treated as inspired discussion (Havelock, 2016). The case proves that Start-ups should carefully fulfil the terms of a contract to avoid legal implications.
In conclusion, the report discussed the legal system of the UK and analysed it sources of law which include legislation, common law and EU law. Start-ups are required to comply with different laws while operating their business in the United Kingdom, such as employment law, contract law, copyright law and other, in order ensures that they smoothly operate their business and sustain their growth.
Armour, J., Black, B., Cheffins, B. and Nolan, R., 2009. Private enforcement of corporate law: an empirical comparison of the United Kingdom and the United States. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 6(4), pp.687-722.
Employment Cases Update. (2016) British Gas Trading Ltd v Lock & Anor [2016] EWCA Civ 983. [Online] Employment Cases Update. Available at: [Accessed 6 March 2018].
Employment Cases Update. (2017) The Government Legal Service v Brookes UKEAT/0302/16/RN. [Online] Employment Cases Update. Available at: [Accessed 6 March 2018].
Goulding, S., 2013. Principles of company law. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
Gov.UK. (2018) Set up a business. [Online] Gov.UK. Available at: [Accessed 6 March 2018].
Harms, L.T., 2013. ” Originality” and” reproduction” in copyright law with special reference to photographs. PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad, 16(5), pp.01-28.
Havelock, R., 2016. Return to Tradition in Contractual Interpretation. King’s Law Journal, 27(2), pp.188-213.
Ingman, T., 2011. The English legal process. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Mahalatchimy, A., Rial?Sebbag, E., Tournay, V. and Faulkner, A., 2012. The legal landscape for advanced therapies: material and institutional implementation of European Union rules in France and the United Kingdom. Journal of law and society, 39(1), pp.131-149.
Ward, R., 2011. Walker & Walker’s English legal system. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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