The Legal Form Your Business Should Take

You have a choice to make on how best to legally organize your business, as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. Broadly speaking sole trader is the simplest and limited company and the most complex way of setting up a business, but each of the three methods provides advantages and disadvantages according to the type of business you operate. A professional advisor will be able to give you more detailed advice on which will be the most suitable arrangement for you. However, the following guidelines I have provided will help you in the early stages.

Sole Trader

The sole trader embodies the spirit of the small business person. It is you, on your own or just making a go of it. The bookkeeping and accounting side should be very straightforward, although it is always helpful to seek professional advice. You are however, totally responsible for any liabilities you incur in your business, which means you’re personal as well as your business assets may be at risk.


A partnership shares many similar characteristics of a sole trader in that it is simple to establish, but as its name implies, it involves two or more people jointly running the business.

Although you do not have to formally register a partnership, I strongly advise that you draw a partnership agreement with the help of a professional. Among other things this will outline exactly who has put what into the partnership, how the profits will be split, who does what work, and what happens if the business is wound up.

On top of this legal basis, you must ensure that you can trust your partner(s), because in theory at least each partner is personally liable for all debts incurred by the business. Through no fault of you own, you may find yourself paying off substantial debts, which your partner(s) may have has run up without telling you.

Limited company

A limited company is different from a sole trader or partnership in that it is an entity separate from its owners. As such, you would not usually be personally liable for its debts because normally creditors can claim only the assets of the business (although you may be asked to give personal guarantee on certain loans and liabilities)

A limited company is a little more involved to create, and I also strongly advise that if you wish to set up a limited company you seek the advice of a professional (an attorney or accountant). You must register the company and have properly audited annual accounts.

Limited companies have the following characteristics and requirements:

(a) They need to be registered

(b) They are owned by shareholders

(c) They are managed by directors who are appointed by shareholders. In the majority of small limited companies the directors are also the shareholders.

(d) The rules for managing the company, including what the business can undertake and the power of directors are set out in a document called the “Memorandum of Articles of Association.”

As in a partnership, a limited company will often involve working with other people and again it is vitally important that you can trust your colleagues and will be able to enjoy working with them. Should the relationship breakdown, a business can be severely damaged, or even brought to its knees, while people try to untangle themselves.

When starting a business you should do a deep research and understanding on the legal forms I just supplied to you. These can be a make or break for the success and future of your business.

How Professional Translators Can Address the Challenges of the Legal Translation Process

While mistranslations can be humorous under most circumstances, they are not a laughing matter in the legal field. The legal translation of a document is a challenging and complicated process that isn’t quite as simple as translating the text for word for word.

Unlike other sensitive documents such as medical reports, which use terms that have set definitions formed through a consensus of the medical community, legal documents contain words that can have entirely different meanings depending on the legal system they’re from. For instance, several European languages will have two words for the English word “Law,” each with a slightly different meaning. Conversely, different words or phrases from the legal documents of two countries may actually have the same definition.

A proper legal translation entails taking these factors into account, and reproducing the document while retaining as much of the interpretation and flow of the original content. A poorly translated legal document can lead to a considerable waste of time and money in the form of delayed court hearings and lawsuits, among other things.

Because of the sheer number of complications that legal translations can have, law firms or companies that need their legal documents translated to a different language are advised to seek the help of a professional translation company.

A good translation company will include a staff of veteran translators within its ranks, often with several years of experience in providing legal translation services using their target language. Aside from outstanding grammar and editing skills, these translators will have an in-depth understanding of the cultural context of the legal documents they work on.

Unlike several countries in Europe, the United States does not have a universal form of certification for translators working within its borders. However, this is more due to a lack of certification, accreditation, or screening for several languages, than a lack of quality.

Uncertified translators working in the U.S. are perfectly capable of producing quality legal translation services that comply with stringent international standards such as the ISO 9000. There are also a variety of tests that can determine a translator’s proficiency, such as those provided by groups like the American Translators Association.

A good translation company will also assign each law firm client a designated account manager and translation team. Aside from streamlining the procedure, this also ensures that their documents will be handled by a dedicated staff that is not distracted by other translation projects.

A Comprehensive And Holistic Analysis Of The Legal, Financial, And General Business Climate In Dubai

I’m assuming you are interested in setting up a company in Dubai? Otherwise you would not be reading about this. Companies in Dubai have paid their fair share to establish get going. The abundance in the Dubai employment market has made it easier than ever to start a business today and run at full speed tomorrow.

I was also interested in setting up a business in Dubai not long ago. So this discussion is based on my personal research and experience from the time I was serious about the idea. If you want to start your corporation in Dubai you’ll have to go through the Dubai Department of Economic Development or the “DED” as most refer to it.

This agency was formed in order to stimulate economic activity which would grow the emirate of Dubai. Most cities, states, provinces have an agency of similar stature which reviews business applications, approves them and grants them licenses to operate.

Your cost of setting up a business in Dubai will include the following costs:

* License involved with the kind of business activity you engage in (service vs. manufacturing vs. intellectual capital)

* Business and liability insurance (still a comparatively weak infrastructure in comparison with the USA)

* Professional fees (legal and accounting)

* The cost of a local partner (this varies from UAE Dirhams 20,000 to 2,000,000 a year depending on their greediness)

The banks in Dubai are ever ready to give you the initial cash in order to establish your business concern. However, be prepared to sign for the loan with a personal guarantee. Even if the banking companies in Dubai ever lend money to you, it is crucial to show them the proper credentials and the economic performance of your corporation during the last several years. After all, everyone wants to protect their behind.

So as to avoid paying a local partner, various entrepreneurs begin their companies in one of the many free zones in Dubai such as the Jebel Ali free zone. These free zones were instituted by the Dubai Government in order to encourage business formation and foreign investment. These zones are treated as stand-alone entities and they could be your “silent partner” in business.

If you want to get an idea on the amount of money required to start a company in Dubai, check out the DED website and choose the “English” option on the upper left hand side of your monitor. This is only if the website reads in Arabic. Once you’re in the English mode, navigate to the eservices menu where you could do the cost simulation.

As much as I’m an entrepreneur at heart who loves to take charge and execute things first hand, setting up a business in Dubai is something that I DO NOT RECOMMEND you do alone. There are several cracks to slip through and they can prove really costly for you both in the short short term and long term perspective.

You need to understand the legal structure and the general rules and regulations regarding finance and commerce in Dubai. Starting your company in Dubai all by yourself can also end up costing you way more than what it should.

If you’re serious about doing business in Dubai, I strongly suggest you consider the team at Global Office FZ led by Christine Orth. As of 2009 Christine has over 6 years with her team and is my single trusted point of contact with everything that has to do with doing business in Dubai. You can read more about their credibility and qualifications here.

This is a very serious move and you’d like to ensure you go about it the right way. Having the right business adviser in order to guide you will make all the difference while you get started and continue to require assistance along the way. I wish you very well and I’m certainly eager to hear about your experiences. Do come back and give us an update. We would be keen on featuring your success story in our Dubai personal stories section.

2010 UPDATE New – Virtual Office company set up with full business license and 3-year residence visa now available in Dubai. Costs begin at AED 18,000 per annum You as an Investor are entitled to get 5 visa for you and staff and can sponsor your family and a maid.

The set up is approved by Abu Dhabi High Court and is being licensed through a Northern Emirates Free Zone that is legally entitled to provide Free Zone business licenses in Dubai.

Their business center is conveniently situated at Dubai Marina with numerous restaurants, hotels and ample free parking in walking distance. To get to know more about our activities, please contact our business partner Christine.