Best practice in web design
Business websites: legal requirements
As a UK-registered business, you will need to disclose certain information about your company on your website. This is a legal requirement. Failure to comply can result in fines, action taken by the regulators, customers or consumer protection bodies, and damage to your reputation.
Is your business website legal?
You must display registered information relating to the identity of your business. This includes:
- company name
- registered number
- place of registration
- registered office address
- contact details, including an email address
- details of how to contact business by non-electronic means
- the VAT number of business, if applicable
- details of any trade body or regulator registration
For sole traders and partnership, you must display the address of the principle place of business. If the company is being wound up, you must also display this on your website.
This information doesn't have to be on every page of your website, but it must be easily found. For example, you might want to put it on the 'contact us' or 'about us' page. Some websites have this information in the footer section of each page.
As well as registered information, you must also publish on your site:
- a privacy notice - to explain what personal data you collect and how you use it
- a disclaimer - to outline your liability for the use of your website and its information
Cookie information and consent
Under privacy laws, you must tell people if you set cookies on your website, unless those cookies are essential to provide an online service at someone's request (for example, to remember what's in their online basket, or to ensure security in online banking).
Selling to consumers
If you sell online, you must also include on your website:
- terms and conditions - see sample website usage terms and conditions of use
- delivery and returns policy
These are all required as part of the consumer protection regulations. Read more about consumer contracts.
As a website operator, you will also have a legal duty to address any web accessibility issues on your website.