Self-Employed Legal Information

Self-Employed Legal Information

Legal challenges can often feel overwhelming and scary, particularly if you’re working as a solo business owner. But being reluctant to take action, or ignoring an issue in the hope it will disappear, will often make the situation worse. Our self-employed legal information section has guides and explanations to empower you to manage common situations you might encounter in your career.

The aim of our guides is to make legal issues less intimidating and more understandable, whether you’re dealing with another small business or a much larger company. But every situation is different, so we’d always urge you to seek specialist advice relating to your individual circumstances. Support for IPSE members includes a free 24-hour legal helpline, along with discounts on legal services from our partners.
Copyright and Intellectual Property

Copyright and Intellectual Property

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You don’t have to be a creative freelancer for copyright and intellectual property to be important to your self-employed business.

Whether it’s enforcing your rights against a copycat emulating your identity, or accidentally infringing on the work of others, your professional reputation can be significantly damaged by copyright and IP issues. And they can also be expensive, and time-consuming, to resolve.

Copyright is automatically assigned as part of the process when you express an idea. Even if you’re not a photographer or designer looking to formally licence your work, you may be missing out on income and other benefits by not enforcing your rights.


How to avoid copyright infringement as a freelancer

If you’re self-employed, you probably support the idea that copyrights should be enforced to allow other individuals to be paid fairly for their work. And yet it happens all the time, and not just by big companies stealing intellectual property. So here’s how to avoid copyright infringement as a freelancer.

How to tackle copyright infringement as a freelancer

It’s not just those people working in creative fields who need to know how to tackle copyright infringement as a freelancer. Whatever self-employed sector you’re operating in, understanding how to enforce your rights can help if someone decides to steal your brand, or copies the products and services you offer.

Contracts and Disputes

Contracts and Disputes

It’s easy to overlook the importance of contracts when things are going well. But they’re invaluable if something goes wrong with a client, collaborator or sub-contractor.

You should always have a contract or Statement of Work in place before undertaking any work. But it’s also important to understand what steps to take if any terms are breached by either party. How should you handle late delivery, missed payments, or confidential information being leaked?

In addition to our guides, IPSE members have access to a wide range of contract templates to tailor to their business, and a discounted contract review service to check everything is in order.

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Freelancing website templates

Freelancing website templates

When you’re creating a website to promote your self-employed business or freelancing career, it’s easy to overlook details including the Privacy Policy, or Terms and Conditions. But this can create problems in the future, especially since the introduction of GDPR regulations on data handling and processing.

Investing a little time to understand the requirements and tailoring our templates to your needs will ensure you have the right details in place. 

Further resources

Further resources


Some of the legal issues impacting the self-employed require more detailed and specific guidance, which is why we have dedicated sections covering areas including IR35, Managed Service Companies, and Tax

But they can also impact other areas of your professional and personal life, whether that’s your financial wellbeing, or your stress levels and mental health. Whether you’re struggling right now or want to avoid any potential negative effects, you can find help and support in the relevant advice sections.

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All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information on this website, you do so at your own risk.

While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

Looking for more?


Where next?

We have dedicated advice pages to help your physical and mental wellbeing whilst working from home but also on areas such as winning work or navigating the tax system. And to help and support you through all the challenges that can come with becoming self-employed, from chasing late payments to being able to work through power cuts and other emergencies.

View all advice pages



Physical wellbeing advice

Running a business, or freelancing and contracting for clients, can be busy, stressful and all-consuming, but Ignoring your health and wellbeing can have serious implications for you, and your business.


Mental wellbeing advice

We've put together a set of resources and guides to support positive mental wellbeing for the self-employed, combing our business knowledge with tips and advice from mental health and wellbeing experts.


Winning Work advice

Tips and advice to help you grow your business no matter what industry or sector you work in.


IR35 advice

Off-payroll working rules, otherwise known as IR35 or the intermediaries legislation, is a damaging taxation law from HMRC that IPSE strongly opposes.