What legal information do you need on your website? (A 5-step checklist for UK companies)
After spending countless hours designing your website, crafting compelling content, and optimising its functionality, there's still one crucial aspect that often gets overlooked; legal compliance. As a website owner, it's your responsibility to ensure that your website meets all relevant legal requirements.
If you're unsure about what information needs to be included on your website, keep reading! In this blog, we'll provide you with a 5-step checklist to help you to ensure your website has the correct information and data protection documents, as without these, you won't be compliant with UK laws. While it's not an exhaustive list of legal requirements across all industries, this blog provides a helpful guide for business owners looking to take the necessary steps to bring their website in line with UK company and data protection laws.
Let's dive in and explore the essential information needed on your website to help protect your business and also your customers.
1. Company Information
If you run a business in the UK, it's important to include certain information on your website. If this information isn't set out somewhere on your site, you'll be in breach of UK company law.
You don't need to include this information on every page, but it should be easy to find. The most common places are on pages like "Contact Us" or "About Us". You can also add it to your website's footer, which can help your visitors find it easily and also improve your search engine optimisation.
If you're a registered company, it's crucial to have all the necessary corporate information displayed on your website. This information includes your:
- Company name;
- Registered number;
- Place of registration (e.g. England and Wales);
- Registered office address;
- Postal address (if it’s different from your registered office);
- Email address;
- Contact details by non-electronic means (i.e. by phone or mail);
- VAT registration number (if your company is registered for VAT); and
- Relevant trade bodies or regulatory authorities (if applicable) (e.g. the FCA).
If you’re not a registered company, you should still as a minimum set out your:
- Business name - If you’re a sole trader and you use a business name that is different to your actual name, you must provide both;
- Trading address;
- Business email and phone number; and
- VAT registration number (if applicable).
So now you have the company information that you need on your website covered, what legal documents should also be on your website?
2. Privacy Notice
What is a privacy notice?
Yes, your privacy notice should be tailored to provide details of the types of personal information that your business collects and how you use that information. If you want to create a speedy privacy notice that complies with UK data protection laws, check out our lawyer-made website privacy notice template.
3. Cookie Notice
What are cookies?
Cookies are tiny data files that are placed on a website visitor’s computer or mobile device when they visit a website. They store information about visits, such as the user’s preferred language and particular products or pages that they view. Cookies are used to remember a user’s preferences and login details (username and password), to prevent the need to re-enter this every time you visit the webpage. They also can help to target ads specifically for users and provide better content.
What’s a cookie notice?
A cookie notice is a document that lists the cookies used on a website and gives detailed information about each type of cookie. It lets users know how the cookies track data, what data the cookie will track and where their data is being sent. While cookies help to provide a more personalised web-browsing experience for users; cookies are also a very helpful tool for website owners to analyse activity and gather data about users’ behaviour online.
If you’re worried that you might miss important details, Docue’s cookie notice template will prompt you to input all the relevant information relating to your website cookies with handy guidance notes to help you along the way.
If you’ve put a lot of time and effort into building your website, you’ll want to ensure your website visitors use it as you intended. Although it's not strictly necessary, it's a good idea to set out the terms of your website. This document will explain how people can use the information on your site, who owns the intellectual property of the content on the website, and what your company isn't responsible for (known as limitations of liability).
Do’s and don’ts: The terms should include information about your business (as the website owner), details of how information can be accessed on the site and most importantly, the rules and restrictions for users when using your site.
Use and ownership of IP: The intellectual property rights section will let users know that you own the content and IP on your site to protect them from being copied without your permission. For more information about the different types of IP rights, check out our intellectual property rights: A complete guide for businesses blog.
It's important to note that some specific industries, such as e-commerce or financial services, may require a company's website to have certain terms and conditions in place to ensure they are compliant with industry-specific regulations.
5. Website legal notices
What should be included in website legal notices?
This can include your rights to modify the site or take it down altogether, or disclaimers regarding information published on your website. For example, your website may contain information about legal subjects, but if your company is not a regulated law firm, you will want to ensure your company disclaims any liability for reliance on that information by a user, by saying “in giving you access to this information through this website, we do not give legal advice”.
Modern slavery statement
Finally, if your business has a global turnover of £36 million or more, then you're required to publish a statement about your company's efforts to prevent slavery and human trafficking. You must include this statement on your website and make it easy for people to find by putting a link to it on your homepage.
In conclusion, it's important to take the necessary steps to ensure your website is compliant with UK laws. Without the correct corporate information on your website, and data privacy documents in place, you will be in breach of UK company and data protection laws. However, having the correct legal information and documents on your website can help protect your business from potential legal issues and disputes in the future. Additionally, providing your customers with clear and transparent information on your website helps to build trust and credibility, which is crucial for any successful business. So take the time to review your website and make any necessary updates to ensure that you are in compliance with the law.
How can Docue help when it comes to your website?
Lawyer-grade templates: At Docue, we’ve worked hard to provide over 100 accessible and affordable templates. Each document contains helpful information boxes created by qualified lawyers to guide you through the process at the click of a button.
Easy-to-use: Docue was created with business owners in mind. It's user-friendly and efficient, making it easy for users to create high-quality legal documents without the need for extensive legal knowledge. Get started today and give your business the legal protection it needs with Docue.