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Increasingly your website is the first experience your clients and potential business partners have of your organisation. So it’s understandable that companies invest time and financial resources developing their online presence. Good design and valuable content will help your visibility with search engines and potential clients. But it’s important not to lose sight of other elements of your website that are just as crucial in building consumer trust and ultimately generating new business for your company.

By publishing clear terms and conditions, privacy policies and cookies and consent policies you give a clear signal that your organisation is credible. You show that you understand and respect the principles of confidentiality, privacy and data security. In short you demonstrate you’re a company that’s ready to do business in a safe and secure way.


Inclusion on your site of the terms on which visitors use it is not a legal obligation. But it makes sense to develop a bespoke set of terms and display them prominently. Ideally there should be at least a link to the terms and conditions from each page of your site. Not only do terms and conditions help create a sense of professionalism but explicit terms can also help protect you from the legal repercussions of harmful or defamatory material that is posted on your site without your permission. In addition you can stipulate clearly how images and other content on your site may be distributed or otherwise used, protecting intellectual property and copyrighted material. Typical website terms and conditions can include:

  • Information on the website owner and contact details. Even if you don’t have terms and conditions you must display these details on your site
  • Limitations on how any content may be used
  • Whether registration is necessary to access certain sections of the website
  • Details of charges for use of information or services on the site
  • Prohibition on posting illegal or harmful material
  • Details of cookie and privacy policies


Data security laws mean that if you are collecting personal information from your web visitors you need to clearly state how and why you are doing so. A comprehensive privacy policy shows that you have complied with this legal obligation. It also provides visitors with the reassurance that they are dealing with a reputable, security-aware organisation.

If you intend to share any personal information you must either have prior consent (unless you are required by law to disclose the information). Key provisions in privacy policies include:

  • Collection of information – You should list why you collect personal information (for example to comply with anti-money laundering regulations) and set out the type of information you collect (names, addresses, dates of birth)
  • How you use the information – This could be to comply with legal requirements or to enable you to provide information to users about your services as they change and develop
  • Information disclosure – You should explain the requirements for consent to disclose information and set out the confidential basis on which personal information may be shared with your staff and external contractors.
  • Cookies – Set out how you use cookies and explain how users can disable cookies. The General Data Protection Regulation ‘GDPR’ (coming into force in 2018) places more onerous obligations on website owners who use cookies in a way that is capable of identifying visitors to their sites. In these circumstances web owners will be obliged to obtain legal consent – which under GDPR will be more difficult to obtain. Come next year consent will only be valid if a user takes a positive step to give it, for example by clicking a box on a webpage. Implied consent or statements saying users accept cookies by using the site will no longer be acceptable.

If you would like advice on terms and conditions and privacy policies for your website call us on 0203 983 8278  or contact us online.


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