PR: Legal issues

Some of the main legal issues facing PR freelancers are:-

- Non payment of fees by clients.

Don't ever be afraid to ensure that your client signs a contract outlining the exact nature of the work which will be delivered against your standard Terms and Conditions, ahead of commencing work. Ensure you note any agreed changes to that work schedule once work is underway, detail impact on the costs previously agreed as a result of these changes, and ask the client to sign this in addition. This safeguards you some way to protecting your business.

- Contracts

The mantra of all freelancers: 'make sure you get it in writing'. Contracts should be signed by your client in accordance with your terms and conditions, which set out how you do business (including credit terms, cancellation fee, if any, which expenses are chargeable to client, etc).

Freelance UK will shortly have a legal section covering certain issues in more depth. Basic guidance can be found here however: Contracts & Schedules.

- Data protection

If you obtain, store or use personal details from customers, suppliers or other contacts, it is a legal requirement that you comply with the eight main principles of the Data Protection Act to protect people’s privacy.

- Copyright

Copyright gives creators the legal right to control the use of their material, in restricting unauthorized copying and reproduction by others.

Marking your copyright work with the copyright symbol © followed by your name and the date, will warn others against copying it, but it is not legally essential in the UK.

- Lawsuits by clients

Insurance tailored specifically for freelancers is available; many freelancers recommend looking at the various insurance policies which are available to protect you in the event of claims made against you. Further details can be found here


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