Law and Compliance in the U.K.

Overview by

Business Contract

General Observation
In English (common) law, there are 3 key elements to the creation of a contract: these are offer and acceptance, consideration and an intention to create legal relations. See an overview by following this link.
Law Applicable to the Contract
You must be particularly vigilant about the law applicable to the contract and the methods of conflict resolution. Indeed, the UK is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on International Contracts. Click here to visualize the list of signatory countries.
Advisable Incoterms
Language of Domestic Contract
English. It can be translated, but will then often include a clause stating that the English version will prevail for all interpretation purposes.

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Independence of Justice
Judiciary is completely independent in U.K.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Britain has large numbers of immigrants and locally born children of immigrants, who receive equal treatment under the law. In practice, their living standards are lower than the national average, and they complain of having come under increased suspicion since the July 2005 terrorist attacks in London and the alleged foiled plot in August 2006.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
In case of penal action, an interpreter should be made available for individuals who do not speak or understand English sufficiently. Interpreters should be registered with the NRPSI (National Register of Public Service Interpreters).
Legal Similarities
United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy. In the absence of a written constitution, the main source of the law in the country is the common law with early Roman and modern continental influences. Scotland has a separate legal system. UK accepts compulsory ICJ (International Court of Justice) jurisdiction but with reservations. Being a member of the EU, the national law in UK needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation.

The Different Legal Codes

English Criminal Code English Criminal Law
Checking National Laws Online
British Law - Community information site for citizens and small businesses
Other Useful Resources
Public Services.
The Law Society International Division.
Country Guides
LexMundi, A guide to doing business in the UK compiled by MMS

Find Legal Experts in the United Kingdom on

The Jurisdictions

House of Lords The House of Lords will be the final court of appeal in all matters under English law, Welsh law and Northern Irish law.
Court of Appeal Criminal Division and Civil Division.
High Court Queen's Bench Division; Administrative Court; Family Division; Divisional Court; Chancery Division; Divisional Court.
Crown Court Trials of indictable offences, appeals from magistrates' courts, cases for sentences.
Magistartes' Courts Trials of summary offences, committals to the Crown Court, family proceedings courts and youth courts.
County Courts Majority of civil litigation subject to nature of the claim.
Tribunals Hear appeals from decisions on immigration, social security, child support, pensions, tax and lands.

Court Officials

They are high-level lawyers appointed by the Ministy of Justice on the basis of their competences and personal reputation.
Justices of the Peace from Magistrates' Courts)
Professionals such as teachers, entrepreneurs, who carry out their duties part-time, assisted by Clerks to the Justices who advise them on legal procedures.
Solicitors look after the legal preparation of the case, which includes the analysis of the facts and the identification of relevant documents. They advise their clients on applicable regulations and alternative modes of conflict resolution, prepare conclusions and liaise with the other party's solicitor. They are the client's main contact.
In recent years, the distinction between solicitors and barristers has been broken down and certain solicitors are now allowed to appear as advocates in higher courts, as long as they have been authorized to do so by the relevant authority.
Notaries Public
Notaries public undertake work for private individuals, and for commercial firms engaged in international trade.
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