Frequently Asked Questions

UK: What legal terms do I need for my UK company website or mobile app?

The legal terms and notices a service provider may need for its website or mobile app will depend on a host of factors, such as the purpose of the site or app, the data collection practices on the site or app, and the functionality available on the site or app. 

The necessary legal terms can be divided into (i) contractual terms between you (as the service provider) and end-users/customers; and (ii) notices required by applicable law.

The most common notices required by applicable law are privacy policies and cookie notices. In the UK, you must provide a privacy policy if you collect any personal data on your website, app or other service. If you use cookies or similar tracking technologies (including in mobile apps), you must provide a cookie notice (which may be combined with the privacy policy) and implement a cookie selection mechanism that complies with applicable laws. More information about privacy policies can be found here.

The contractual terms required depend on the nature of the website, app or service. They are typically drafted to ensure there is a binding contractual relationship between the parties, and to mitigate risk for the service provider. They will set out the key terms governing the relationship between the parties (e.g., limitations of liability and warranties, IP ownership, suspension/termination rights and governing law), as well as restrictions on how the user can use the service (e.g., licensing restrictions, prohibited conduct, content or behaviour, and data usage rights).

Common terms include: 

  • Websites: Terms of service/use.
  • Online/digital services: Terms of service/use, end-user licence agreements, user terms and conditions, product specific terms, developer terms.
  • E-commerce: Terms of sale, delivery and returns policies, payment terms and links to third party terms (e.g., PayPal or Stripe terms).
  • Marketplaces, social networking and other user-to-user services: Terms of service/use, acceptable use policies/content guidelines and community standards.

Whether your website, app or service is B2B or B2C will have a significant impact on how the terms need to be drafted. There are strict consumer protection laws in the UK that mean certain terms in B2C agreements may be deemed unfair and unenforceable against UK consumers.

Terms of service and other terms must also be presented to and accepted by users in a manner that indicates their agreement to the terms in order to be legally binding on users in the UK.

If a mobile app includes open-source software, a service provider also may include a document in the app that notifies end users of the open-source components included in the app. This is because commonly used open-source licences impose certain notice and attribution requirements on service providers when they distribute open-source outside of their companies, and including open-source software in a mobile app constitutes such a distribution.