Legal obligations in the UK

What legal obligations are there for setting up a UK establishment?

An overseas company wishing to trade in the UK has two principal options as to how to structure its operation:

  • create a wholly-owned UK subsidiary (i.e. a separate UK company owned by the overseas company); or
  • register a UK establishment (i.e. a branch located in the UK).

This guide sets out what is required for an overseas company to set up a UK establishment but please see other guides on the website which explain how overseas companies can set up a wholly-owned UK subsidiary.

One of the main benefits for an overseas company in setting up a wholly-owned UK subsidiary is the ability to ring fence liabilities and losses incurred by the subsidiary company. This is not possible where an overseas company has set up a UK establishment. In this case they will be directly responsible for all liabilities and losses incurred by the UK establishment.

This is an important point to consider when making a choice between UK subsidiary or UK establishment however often the choice will be decided for the overseas company by the scale of its business operations in the UK.

To ensure that we are able to offer a fully holistic solution for businesses entering the UK, any services related to legal obligations are provided by our preferred supplier, Brabners, a well renowned and respected law firm with corporate expertise both at home and abroad.

About Brabners


Brabners are a law firm with global reach. Active members of Eurolegal and the Association of European Lawyers (AEL), they are represented in over 35 countries across Europe and perfectly placed to provide speedy access to trusted foreign legal advice.

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