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We answer the most common business and legal questions from freelancers. Can't find the answer? We also provide all members with a free consultation. Just click on Business Advice, fill out the form and our partners will get in touch.
As a freelancer, be it a make-up artists, photographer, designer etc one of your main priorities is having a contract for your services. They could be delivered personally or through a limited company.
You will also need a contract for when you are receiving services from someone else e.g. a fellow contractor. On top of this, the documentation you need will depend on how you operate your business. If you are taking on staff, you might need a contractor agreement or even an employment contract. If you are renting a space, you will need a lease. If you have a website, you'll need to have Terms and Conditions, a Cookies policy etc.
We recommend you fill out the form to speak to a solicitor about your working arrangement to make sure you don't miss out on any important documentation that could harm you down the line.
If you don't have a contract and a dispute arises it's far more difficult to resolve. Sure you may have email correspondence or that elusive phone call where that specific piece of information was mentioned, but this is so much more difficult to draw upon and prove than a piece of paper which states it clearly.
Although contacts can be made by email or even verbally, they normally lack specifics in relation to rights, responsibilities, risks and rewards. Even if you do not have a dispute, it's a handy reminder of each of your obligations throughout the relationship, which will ensure a smooth process from start to finish. It may even help to prevent any disputes before they arise.
A trade mark is a sign that is represented graphically or via words or even via the shape of goods or packaging that distinguishes goods or a service. Registering a trade mark means you can:
If they are using it on social media there may well be provision in the Terms and Conditions of that social media site which enable you to request a take-down of infringing material. If that doesn't work or the infringement takes place on a site which has no such policies then you or your lawyer can send a 'Cease and Desist' letter directly the infringer and often this will be enough to achieve your objective/stop the infringement.
If you're an innocent user you shouldn't have anything to worry about. if you've received the Cease and Desist notice from a social media site because someone else has complained about you then you should demonstrate to the social media site your proof of ownership. If you're approached directly by them you can provide that information directly. If you have infringed then it's best to stop infringing immediately so as to avoid the risk of escalating damages and costs in a legal dispute.
If you've already reminded your client to pay and they're simply refusing, don't worry there are legal steps you can take to recover the money you are owed.
If you run a Limited company together it may be that you have a shareholders' agreement which regulates disputes between you. If not, the company will have some Articles which provide its constitution and may give you some clues as to how a disagreement should be managed. If, instead of running a Limited company, you run a legal partnership together then either a partnership agreement will exist or a statutory partnership agreement will be deemed to apply to the partnership. In either case, disputes with a business partner are very stressful and can be quite complicated so it's worth getting some legal advice at the outset.
If it's a written contract, the document may specify circumstances in which you are entitled to terminate, and these might include a performance failure by the other side. If there is no specific term allowing you to terminate the agreement early then the risk you run is that you yourself might be in breach if you terminate early. If that happens you could incur financial consequences such as damages and costs. It is worth getting some advice before you take a hasty step.
If you are threatened with court action it is definitely worth having a lawyer represent you. It may be that the allegations made have no legal basis or that you have a defence, or that you have a counter-claim, or that the threatening correspondence you've received does not comply with the pre-action procedures which the courts require. A lawyer should be able to spot any inadequacies in the claim against you and advise accordingly.
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