Keeping up-to-date with legislation can be difficult for small businesses, especially when there are more than 3,000 changes in UK and European laws every year.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all business contracts and documents reflect the latest legislation; failure to do so could leave the business vulnerable to litigation.

The following documents all need to be regularly reviewed and updated (if applicable to your business):

Section 1 Statement

Employment contract – the minimum requirement by law.

Employment Contract

Covers all legal requirements and company policies including benefits.

Employment Handbook

Policies and procedures that apply to all employees, and certain terms and conditions of employment. The handbook includes sample forms to be used by the company.

Service Agreement

Employment contract used for senior managers and directors with additional clauses covering benefits and restrictive covenants.

Conditions of Sale

Your standard terms and conditions, which should be part of your quotation, pricing and invoicing documents. This applies to products.

Conditions of Supply

Terms and conditions of sale applicable to services.

Conditions of Sale & Supply

Terms and conditions of sale covering products and services.

Conditions of Purchase

Similar to Conditions of Sale but identifies your terms to suppliers and should be part of your purchase order procedure.

Distribution Agreement

For selling products and services through a distributor.

Agency Agreement

For selling products and services through an agent, usually paid on commission. The supply company maintains direct control of the customer relationship.

Procedures Document

Covers e-mail policy, internet, computer use and data protection.

Confidentiality Agreement

Mutual non-disclosure agreement.

Rent Review Memorandum

Covers the rent review process.

Short Term Lease and Court Order

Covers short-term lease of property and court order.

Software License

Agreement licensing the use of software to a number of users.

Software Support Agreement

Covers support by the software supplier and responsibilities of the user.

Hardware Maintenance Agreement

Agreement covering the support by the supplier and responsibilities of the user.

Web-Site Design Agreement

Covers responsibilities of the designer and URL user.

Web-Site Protection

Covers rules by which visitors use a site including a disclaimer.

On-Line Terms & Conditions of Sale

Terms and conditions of sale for all transactions via a website (business-to-consumer)

Company Secretarial Documents

Covers documentation relative to AGMs, EGMs and Elective Resolutions.

Consignment Agreement

For goods placed on consignment and paid for when used. The agreement protects the supplier.

Monitoring changes

You can obtain information on legal changes from solicitors, trade associations, accountants, the general press, chambers of commerce and other external sources (e.g. the internet).

Alternatively, a cost effective solution is to outsource the maintenance and updating of legal documents. This way every clause in your business documents which has been affected by the introduction of new English and European statutes, or as a result of court adjudications, will be appropriately revised.