Morgan Russell Solicitors

Business Trading Disclosures

This advice provides sole traders, partnerships, limited liability partnerships ("LLP") and limited companies with information about what they are required to publicise to the public. The requirements stem from a general principle in UK law that people should know or be able to identify who they are dealing with in order to enforce their rights.

Companies’ Trading Disclosures:

The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 were introduced in 2008 as a result of the Companies Act 2006. These require limited companies and LLPs (by virtue of The Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Companies Act 2006) Regulations 2009) to make certain displays and disclosures regarding the company or LLP for identification purposes.

The regulations require a limited company or LLP to disclose its registered name in all:

  • business letters, notices and other official publications (this includes emails,
    compliments slips, catalogues, brochures, websites, etc);
  • bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements and order forms;
  • cheques and orders for money, goods or services signed by or on behalf of the
    company;
  • bills of parcels, invoices and other demands for payment, receipts and letters of
    credit;
  • applications for licences to carry on a trade or activity;
  • all other forms of business correspondence and documentation.

This applies whether the documents listed above are produced in electronic or paper format (or any other format).

In addition, the company or LLP must also disclose the following information on all business letters (as set out above), and order forms (whether electronic or paper) and on all websites of the company or LLP:

  • the part of the UK in which it is registered (e.g. England);
  • its registered number;
  • its registered office address.

There is no guidance in the regulations as to size of font but it must be “legible with the naked eye”.

Please note that in addition to the above, a limited company or LLP is required to display its registered name at its registered office and any location at which it carries on business (unless a registered office is a director’s or member's residential address). Directors or members may prevent their residential addresses from being made available on the public register at Companies House.

Other Businesses’ Disclosure Requirements:

In relation to sole traders and partnerships, sections 1200 to 1206 of the Companies Act 2006 apply. In summary, the requirement is that, whatever the trading name, the individual or the members of the partnership must all disclose their names and an address for service of documents on:

  • all business letters;
  • written orders for goods or services to be supplied to the business;
  • invoices and receipts issued in the course of the business; and
  • written demands for payment of debts arising in the course of the business.

In addition, all of this information should be displayed in a prominent position in any premises where the business is carried on and to which customers or suppliers to the business have access. Being in default of these provisions is a criminal offence, and may also affect any civil claim brought by a person who has not complied with the legislation (for example, the claim could be dismissed).

Using a website:

In addition to the information which is required to be disclosed, as set out above, it may be wise to include on a website the following:

  • terms and conditions of use of the website
  • disclaimer to exclude or restrict liability in connection with its use
  • privacy policy if the website is used to obtain users’ personal details
  • standard terms and conditions of sale used in the business

You should also consider:

  • If a contract is intended to be concluded by use of the website – is it legally binding?
  • Whether there are any other regulatory issues which affect your industry which should be covered or referred to on the website (such as complaints, or who your regulator is).
  • When did you last update your copyright? Dated material on websites can give the impression it is not regularly checked or updated.
  • Whether you have appropriate licences to use any third party works which are included on the website;
  • If you advertise on the site, whether you have complied with advertising regulations.
    Intellectual Property:

If you are thinking of using a logo on your business stationery, you should ensure any design does not breach any other trademark or copyright, and consider protecting it yourself. Such protection should be made obvious on the logo. You should also copyright any of your written works which are valuable to you.

Further Information

If you have any questions regarding the above or require additional information or assistance, please contact Debbie Turner on +44 (0)1372 461411.

The data contained within this document is for general information only. No responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies. Readers are also advised that the law and practice may change from time to time. This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.
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