A startup business is like any other business and requires a relatively standard set of legal documents. The legal documents that each startup will need have been briefly summarised below. Each of these documents will need to be tailored to match the nature of your business. If you are unsure of whether or not there are specific legal matters which need to be addressed in the different documents, you should consult with a startup lawyer.

Shareholders/Partnership Agreement

If you’re not operating as a sole trader, then you will need a shareholders agreement if you are setting up a company, or a partnership agreement if you are operating as a partnership. This agreement is essential because it governs the relationship between you and the other founders and investors. The agreement will set out how decisions are made, how a shareholder or partner can remove himself or herself from the business, and most importantly, what each shareholder or partner’s rights and responsibilities are. If you are unsure of what needs to go into this agreement, you should seek assistance from a startup lawyer. A startup lawyer will be able to prepare an agreement which looks after the interests of each shareholder or partner, and also the interest of the business.

Sales/Services Terms and Conditions

Every business provides some sort of product or service. If you are selling products you need a set of sales terms and conditions, and if you are providing services, then you need a set of services terms and conditions. It is important that you include in your terms and conditions what exactly it is that you are providing to avoid disputes between your business and the consumer. Other clauses which should also be a part of your terms and conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • payment terms to ensure that you are paid correctly and on time;
  • termination provisions to allow you to be able to terminate under certain circumstances;
  • intellectual property and/or confidentiality clauses to provide your intellectual property and confidential information as necessary; and
  • Email disclaimers and general disclaimers clearly setting out what you are not responsible and will not accept liability for to avoid being held accountable for certain loss or damage that occurs to a damage through use of your products or services.

Website Terms of Use

Most startups will have a website. If you have a website through which you provide products or services, you should have a set of website terms of use. Your website terms of use govern the use of your website and should address important matters such as copyright and prohibited conduct. It can also include a disclaimer for any third party materials and links which are posted on your website so that visitors to your website are aware that you are not endorsing or recommending any of these third party materials or links.

Privacy Policy

The Australian Privacy Principles were introduced in March 2014 and form part of the Privacy Act 1988. Generally, small businesses with an annual turnover of greater than $3 million are required to comply. Some other private organisations with under $3 million turnover are also required to comply – more information can be found at www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/australian-privacy-principles. The easiest way to ensure that your startup complies with the Privacy Act 1988 is to have a privacy policy which clearly sets out what personal information you collect from your consumers, how this information will be used and disclosed, and what security measures you have in place to ensure security of such information.

To conclude

Setting up your legal foundations is extremely important and it is highly recommended that you have the necessary agreements professionally drafted by a startup lawyer. Having strong legal documents which protect your business interests could be the difference between a startup success and a startup failure.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Lachlan McKnight
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at info@legalvision.com.au

View Privacy Policy