Up-to-date answers to 1500 critical legal questions about doing business in each country, covering key categories.
Navigating the legal and compliance landscape when establishing and running a business can be challenging, and a failure to meet the requirements can lead to hefty fines and jail time. This category covers the local intricacies involved in forming, running and dissolving a business, and provides an in-depth overview of the various structures available to locals and foreigners, as well as their key features and typical uses.
Contracts form the backbone of most business relationships, and it is important to make sure that all local requirements for a valid and enforceable contract are met. This category provides an overview of these requirements. It also considers aspects such as freedom of contract, warranties, and prohibited and implied terms, covering contracts in general, as well as specific contracts for the sale of goods, franchise and agency.
With the risk of prison sentences and large fines, both for companies and their directors, it is essential to know when corporate entities, their shareholders, directors, legal representatives and senior executives can be held liable for their acts or omissions, and those of others. This category considers these aspects, as well as others, such as whether local law reaches beyond borders, if there are proactive compliance and disclosure requirements for businesses, as well as elements of specific offences, such as fraud, corruption, insider trading and money laundering.
In addition to unpacking the practical considerations relating to merger control and prohibited practices, this category looks at the local competition/antitrust regulatory climate, the competition authorities’ approach to enforcement and their level of cooperation with other countries’ authorities. It also highlights what constitutes a competition/antitrust law violation, who can be held liable and in what circumstances.
While the advantages and disadvantages of the various dispute resolution options are in many respects universal, local nuances influence which option is best for a particular dispute. This category looks at these considerations, as well as the different procedures, costs and timeframes for each available method – whether litigation, arbitration, mediation, negotiation, conciliation or otherwise – as well as other practical aspects like enforcement of foreign orders and awards, local requirements for arbitration agreements, and which law will govern proceedings.
Employment and Labour
From establishment as an employer through to termination of employment, this category provides a practical overview of local requirements and key considerations when it comes to employing locals and foreigners. Aspects covered include employment contracts, compliance, tax, disciplinary and termination procedures, employee rights and benefits, health and safety, the impact of major transactions on employees, and protection of confidential information and intellectual property.
As environmental liability becomes more commonplace, it is becoming indispensable for every business to understand its obligations and in what circumstances it and its directors, members, officers and/or employees may be held liable for harm. This category sets out the key legal obligations, including which permits are required for particular activities, the relevant reporting and disclosure requirements, as well as the sanctions for violations and details of who can be held accountable, including for any pre-acquisition environmental liabilities.
With potentially severe sanctions for exchange control violations, it is important to know which transactions are subject to exchange control laws and regulations, and whether the laws apply to nationals, residents, non-residents, individuals and businesses alike. This category provides an overview of these aspects, as well as others such as whether hard currency can be taken out of the country, whether remittance of profits abroad is restricted and whether bank accounts can be held in foreign currency.
Investing in a foreign country can be both risky and rewarding. To unlock the potential benefits, while managing the risk, it is essential to understand each country’s investment environment, including the necessary investment approvals and restrictions, in general and for specific sectors. This category unpacks these aspects and also covers topics such as protection of foreign investment, incentives, and repatriation of investment and earnings, and provides an overview of established and planned special economic zones.
This wide-ranging category covers the essentials of internet law, from data protection, electronic transactions, selling and marketing goods and services online, to restricted activities and cybercrime. It includes practicalities such as the requirements for collecting, storing, processing, repurposing and transferring data; and licence requirements for online activities; and also highlights certain local sensitivities.
This category considers what type of visas are necessary for particular activities, such as attending a conference or marketing a business, and what work permits and visas are needed to work or to hire employees. It also looks at what immigration documents are required; the process, cost and timeframe of obtaining these; and the consequences of non-compliance. It also includes the requirements for permanent residence and citizenship, and sets out the government’s policy on immigration.
Insolvency and Restructuring
This category covers the practical aspects of the law relating to insolvency and restructuring, including the various options for distressed businesses, and the procedure, timeframe and advantages and disadvantages of each one. It also considers aspects such as debt recovery and safeguard measures for creditors, which transactions are voidable, and potential liability for shareholders, executives, directors, officers and others.
Some of the key aspects set out in this category include an overview of the latest local insurance trends, a description of the insurance market, and details of the main types of insurance taken out locally. In addition, it covers the requirements for a valid and enforceable insurance agreement; if any premiums, cover and terms are prescribed; and whether there are any unusual clauses in local insurance contracts.
It is essential for any new business or one expanding into or exporting to a new territory to proactively protect its intellectual property. This category sets out the requirements for protecting and enforcing the main types of intellectual property in each country, including copyright, trademarks, designs and patents. It also includes an overview of the nature, duration and scope of protection, including beyond borders, as well as information on how to transfer and assign intellectual property rights.
Lending and Security
This category looks at local lending and security options, regulation, restrictions and prohibitions. It includes detailed information on the different types of securities and their perfection. It also covers important cross-border considerations, such as requirements for foreign lenders and foreign loans; restrictions on remitting funds abroad and on foreign currency loans; and whether a foreign parent, holding company or shareholder can create quasi-security in favour of a local entity.
To take advantage of M&A opportunities in Africa, it is important to understand the local environment, as well as the requirements and restrictions that apply. This category covers these elements and also provides an overview of what constitutes private M&A locally, which transactions are the most common, and what the current trends are in structuring M&A transactions. It also provides detailed information on what should and what should not be included in the relevant contracts.
What constitutes real estate, which real estate rights are recognised and protected, and what type of security can be created over each one are not necessarily the same in each country. This category looks at each of these aspects in the local context, as well as the commercial aspects of real estate, including companies’ rights to transact in real estate transactions, real estate in asset and share deals, and commercial leases, among others.
Public Contracting and Projects
This category provides a high-level overview of local public procurement laws, including which entities and contracts fall within their scope, and what requirements and restrictions apply to both local and foreign companies, including any local partner requirements. It also covers the process, timelines and contract requirements for PPPs, and looks at how successful PPPs have been locally and what types are most commonly provided for.
What local requirements, procedures, restrictions and tariffs apply to importing and exporting goods? Which trade remedies are available and in what circumstances? What sanctions apply for non-compliance and who can be held liable? This category answers these pertinent questions and also looks at aspects such as which international trade treaties apply locally and the government’s attitude towards international trade.