For small businesses, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to turn to brush up on specialist knowledge – so we’ve compiled a definitive list of advisers, handy links and informative blogs.
There are some great resources for getting to grips with digital business strategy – like Google’s crash course in analytics, or their Digital Garage, both of which can help you to understand and begin to practice the basics behind specialist digital techniques.
However, some things are much more complex and the resources aren’t always as easy to track down. For others, the subject matter is incredibly complex, and so finding resources which explain matters in easy-to-understand terms is the challenge.
This is usually the case with legal resources, which are sometimes so complex that there is no easy way of explaining the content.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best legal resources we can find from across the web – the following websites are the best at making dull content slightly easier to understand. As well as linking to their websites, we’ve included their social media handles where we can, to make life easier for you.
Alongside these legal resources, you should also be aware of your legal obligations under law and regulations governing the work place (for example, Health & Safety regulations, statutory minimum wage obligations, and so on). You can find helpful, easy-to-understand resources on employee rights and employer obligations here, here, and here.
The first distinction to make is the one between civil and criminal law; businesses will be concerned with civil law, which deals with disputes between individuals and organisations.
Civil law aims to right wrongs between individuals. If one of your employees thinks you’ve breached their legal rights and the courts agree with them, then you may have to pay compensation.
> Gov UK – @GOVUK
The government’s online portal should really be the first port of call when seeking legal advice, and they have a number of different pages dedicated to legal information relating to civil law.
If you need legal aid, this is where to start. It will walk you through what sort of aid or representation you’re entitled to, your eligibility and the conditions under which that support is given, as well as explaining how to apply for and claim legal aid.
There’s also the Civil Legal Advice service, which can help you with a range of other civil legal issues – these ones are less concerned with business and more on family and social issues, however.
> Citizens Advice – @CitizensAdvice
Citizens Advice is another great resource if you need information, advice or financial aid.
A charity network which offers advice and information, Citizens Advice is a comprehensive resource which can help with law, rights, discrimination, debt, and everything in between.
> Advice Now – @LfL_Advicenow
Advice Now is an independent website run by the charity Law for Life which aims to provide free legal advice for people wishing to develop their knowledge of the law and how to manage their own legal issues.
The advice is selected from various professional sites and checked for accuracy before it’s posted – so you can be sure that everything you find on the site is accurate information.
An award-winning website, Advice Now is a great hub for business owners hoping to get a brief introduction to a range of legal topics. The employment law section is detailed, with guides to pay, employee rights, and plenty more.
> Federation of Small Businesses – @fsb_policy
The FSB are another excellent source of legal information for small businesses, with pages full of information. However, this isn’t immediately accessible – you need to be a member of the FSB to have access to these resources. However, you also get free legal advice as one of the perks of your membership (have a read of what the FSB can do for you).
> Law Donut – @LawDonut
Law Donut is the online legal advice hub from Startup Donut, offering both business and individual services. The website has a range of articles and FAQs targeted specifically for small businesses and start-ups.
Blogs & Comment
(Disclaimer: comment and opinion pieces shouldn’t be regarded as legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should seek it from an official, qualified source.)
The Kingsley Napley employment law blog brings you detailed posts, supported by instances of case law, the decisions made by judges in previous cases. While they’re good blog posts, they are also a little bit heavy on legal terminology. If that doesn’t put you off, however, they’re insightful and useful pieces to read.
The Guardian Law Blog is a useful resource which brings together news and opinion pieces and offers comment on on-going legal stories.
Mason Bullock Solicitors was originally founded to provide legal advice to small business. They now operate two offices, in Coventry and Northampton, and can offer specialist advice in employment law. Their blog offers advice and insight for employers across a range of legal matters within the arena of employment law.
Finally, the Advice for Employers blog has posts on a range of topics, and its collection of legal posts is broad. As such, there are loads of different topics if you’re looking for a range of information and advice.
Going it alone
Want to check legislation or court rulings by yourself? You’re brave.
We don’t recommend this; legal documents (including court judgements and Acts of Parliament) are full of jargon, specialist terminology and are generally difficult to read, much less understand. However, if that hasn’t put you off, then there’s a number of websites that you can use:
If you’re interested in or following a particular case, then Justice UK will allow you to track civil cases, provided you know the date on which proceedings began. Equally, the Supreme Court portal will allow you to find cases which have been decided.
If you want to examine legislation which has already been enacted, then you can search this database (at your peril).
Remember: this collection of resources is meant only as advisory. If you still need more expert advice, then your best bet will be consulting a qualified legal practitioner to help you.