Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Intellectual property protection

Intellectual Property (IP) is a valuable asset and it is recommended you protect it in overseas markets. The United Kingdom (UK) is a member of several international conventions.

  • Patents and trademarks are administered by the Intellectual Property Office in the UK.
  • The Madrid International Trademark System (WIPO) and Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OIHM) also covers IP protection for Europe including the UK.

Precaution is always the best remedy. As part of a market-entry strategy Australian companies should conduct an IP audit and be acquainted with how best to protect their IP rights. For more information, visit IP Australia.

Dispute resolution

Laws governing commercial relationships are broadly harmonised to comply with EU legislation. The general rule is that a contract shall be governed by the law chosen by the parties. Disputes are often resolved by the parties through methods such as arbitration or mediation without a court judge.

It is important to note that the UK does not have a single unified legal system, but rather consists of three distinct legal jurisdictions:

  • England and Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland.

Different laws and dispute resolution procedures may apply depending on where you are doing business.

Companies involved in negotiating an international sales contract or in international commercial disputes should seek appropriate legal advice in Australia or overseas.