When setting up a business and establishing a new website, it is natural for all of your energy to go into ensuring the content is correct and easily accessible for consumers. This can sometimes lead to important documentation, such as terms and conditions and policies, falling on the backburner.
The mere launch of a website initiates a multitude of legal and procedural hoops that the website owner must comply with. This can be in the form of content regulation, data protection, information to be disclosed or otherwise.
The legal documents set out below are essential for governing the use of a website by visitors. The implementation of such documentation will ensure that your website is effective and legally sound, helping to protect both your business and the website users by limiting liability, ensuring it complies with legal disclosure obligations and with consumer rights, amongst other legislation.
What documentation do you need?
There are several pieces of legal documentation that we recommend clients have in place for their websites. These include:
- Acceptable Use Policy - details of the standards that apply when customers upload content to the website and prohibited uses.
- Website Terms and Conditions - necessary where there is a supply of goods and/or services and are particularly important if goods/services are sold directly from your website. Such terms are heavily tailored depending on the type of goods and/or services sold.
- Cookies Policy - information on the types of cookies used, details of the specific cookies used and information on a customer’s preferences.
While the above list is extensive, it is by no means exhaustive therefore it is important to seek advice on how best to protect yourself and your customers before implementing such documents.
Each of the above documents should be easily accessible by website users while covering the main ways that visitors interact with the website and how data is handled. However, the documentation will be tailored to meet the requirements for your website and focus on the areas most applicable to your business.
In addition to being easily accessible, it is important to remember that these documents will typically be accessed and read by the average website user. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the documents are drafted in plain English, avoiding the use of legal jargon, making them easier to understand.