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Business Law

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The Crane & Staples business law department covers all business-related legal issues. Our knowledgeable team of commercial lawyers will assist with all of your business needs in a professional and efficient manner.

Whether you are a sole trader or partnership, small company or major corporation, it is vital that you receive the right advice, that your business arrangements are correctly formulated and that you fully understand the legal implications of any agreement or transaction you propose to enter into.

Commercial law is a dynamic field. So our experienced team of commercial lawyers in Welwyn Garden City is a particularly progressive one that strives to provide individually tailored solutions to specific business needs with as much commercial flair as legal acumen.

Our aim is to create lasting client solicitor relationships and to ensure that we understand your business and work with you in achieving your aims. Meetings will be arranged with you and either your matter will be dealt with by a Partner or there will be direct partner supervision with a support team that will handle your day-to-day transactions.

As well as working closely with you to achieve your aims and anticipate problems and pitfalls along the way, we work closely with all the firm's other specialist areas (including the Commercial Property, Employment and Litigation teams as well as our Wills Trusts and Probate department) to create a seamless legal service that adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

Click on the headings below to

Setting up and running a business

We can assist with incorporation of companies and LLPs and thereafter dealing with shareholder, LLP and partnership agreements.

If you are thinking of starting a new business, or have recently done so, you’ll know there is a lot to consider. We can help in a number of areas.

There are a number of legal entities which can be set up for your business. We can advise on which would be most suitable for you, depending on the nature of the business and the number of people involved.

You may decide to run your business through a limited company. This may be appropriate so that you benefit from limited liability and/or for tax reasons. We can assist with the formation of the company with Companies House, and ensure that you comply with a number of statutory requirements when running a limited company.

If you decide to form a company, you may be the only shareholder of the company. However, it is possible that there may be a number of shareholders who set the company up together. If so, it is advisable for the shareholders to enter into a Shareholders’ Agreement.

This agreement can usefully deal with such issues such as how much each party will initially contribute; how profits are to be distributed and how capital gains are to be dealt with; how the company’s activities are to be managed and controlled; what happens when a shareholder wants to sell their shares; what happens when a shareholder dies; agreeing weighted voting on certain matters requiring ambiguity or special majorities on specific matters; how deadlocks are to be resolved and how and when the company will be wound up.

You may decide to run your business with one or more business partners, which would result in a partnership being formed. Unlike a company, there are no formal legal requirements in order to set up a partnership. However, as with shareholders’ agreements, there are many benefits to entering into a legal Partnership Agreement.

We can discuss any issues which may be pertinent to your business, and draft an agreement to suit your specific requirements. Equally we can review this periodically to support the growth of your business.


 Unless you work from home or your business involves providing services off the premises, it is likely that you will require some kind of business premises to operate from such as an office, shop, warehouse.

You may consider purchasing the premises in which case we can assist with the acquisition. More commonly however you will require a lease of a premises. We can advise you on the terms of the lease; negotiate on any adverse terms; advise you on your legal obligations in respect of the property and deal with issues such as Stamp Duty Land Tax and registration of the lease at the Land Registry.

Entering into a lease without obtaining legal advice can be risky. You could find yourself liable for substantial repairing obligations, risk being unable to use the property for the intended use and various other pitfalls. Please see our Commercial Property section for more information.

Business and share acquisitions and disposals

 We can advise upon a range of mergers, acquisitions and disposals whether the subject matter is a small business or a complex corporate takeover.

We also advise upon share options and share re-structuring.

Purchase of existing business
Rather than starting your business from scratch, you may decide to purchase an existing business. This could be beneficial to you as you have the opportunity to evaluate the track record of the business and so gage your potential future prospects of success. We can assist by drafting, agreeing and completing the necessary legal documentation including assignment of the business lease, purchase of goodwill and stock and share sale and purchase agreement (if applicable).

Commercial agreements and documentation

To ensure your business is protected by robust documentation, our advice can save you time and money. We can deal with the drafting or advising upon all manner of commercial documentation such as loan agreements, service contracts, terms and conditions, confidentiality and exclusivity agreements, agency and distribution agreements.

Contracts with customers and suppliers
It is likely that you will enter into a number of contracts and agreements with customers and suppliers. We can either draft documentation for you or simply read through documents given to you by third parties to advise on terms and suggest amendments where necessary.

Terms of Business
We can help you to draw up appropriate terms of business which you can use when entering into contracts with customers. By ensuring that you do business based on clear terms and conditions will reduce the risk of any uncertainty and argument over the terms of the deal, such as time for payment, risk, obligations of both parties, duration of the contract and what happens when things go wrong. By reducing the scope for ambiguity you will also reduce the prospect of disagreement between the parties which could ultimately lead to expensive litigation.

Franchise and joint venture agreements

Legal advice on entering into a joint venture can be invaluable and ensure both parties are represented. or the setting up of, or entering into franchise agreements whether as franchisee or franchisor.

Another possibility is that you take a franchise of an existing business. The franchisor will require you to enter into a Franchise Agreement and we can advise you on the terms and negotiate amendments if appropriate.

If you are in a position where you are wanting to expand your business into a franchise, we are able to act for you as a franchisor.

How much will it cost?

In accordance with the Law Society Client Care Procedure we will notify you of our charging policy and provide you with an estimate of costs. Alternatively we can agree with you a capped limit for costs and would only exceed that with your consent. We ensure all our clients are updated at regular intervals on any changes either incurred through additional costs or occasionally our charging rates.

If you would like to find out more about any legal matters affecting your business, please call one of our team now on 01707 331194 or email us at

Department Contacts

The following members of the C&S team specialise in this area of law. To find out more about them simply click on their name.

Department contact details

Direct Dial 01707 387072 or email

Secretarial Support

  • Sam Britten
Lexcel Law Society Accreditation logo.

Crane & Staples Solicitors
Longcroft House, Fretherne Road, Welwyn Garden City,
Hertfordshire AL8 6TU

Tel: 01707 329333

Fax: 01707 331194


DX: 30051 Welwyn Garden City