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Doing Business in Scotland A Guide to Doing Business in Scotland

Scotland is a land of opportunity for businesses and investors across a range of diverse sectors, for start-up businesses, SMEs and multinationals. The highly skilled workforce, progressive approach to research and innovation and cultural distinctiveness that attracts visitors from all over the globe all make Scotland an obvious choice for investment.

Glasgow Central Bridge

A strong and productive economy

Scotland is home to a strong and productive economy, with a transport network that supports the functioning of over 360,000 businesses and has the fastest growing goods exports of the four UK nations. In Scotland, 45% of these registered enterprises are part of the six Growth Sectors, identified in Scotland’s Economic Strategy. These are: Food and Drink (including agriculture & fisheries), Creative Industries (including digital), Sustainable Tourism, Energy (including renewables), Financial and Business Services and Life Sciences.

Scotland enjoys strong and long-standing trade links with the UK, Europe and North America and exports across a diverse range of industries.

Leading innovation and growth

As home to some of the world’s best educational institutions, Scotland welcomes over 10,000 students each year who go on to graduate in software and technology-related fields and, as a country, we understand that the digital world is growing at an exponential rate is set fair to lead innovation and growth in a sustainable and rewarding way.

Legal Considerations When Doing Business in Scotland

Our guide provides a general overview of the legal aspects and considerations when doing business in Scotland, including:

  • Business Structures in Scotland

    For any overseas company beginning to trade in a foreign jurisdiction, choosing the most appropriate business structure will be one of the many important considerations. The choice of structure will have taxation, legal and regulatory implications. The range of business structures available in Scotland is similar to that of the rest of the UK; however, there are some important distinctions.

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  • Commercial Contracts in Scotland

    To maintain its daily operations, every organisation must enter into a variety of commercial contracts. To reduce the risk to business operations in relation to such contracts, it is critical that these are clear, precise and legally binding so businesses minimise commercial risk.

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  • Competition Law (Antitrust) in Scotland

    Scotland has a well-developed system of competition law, derived primarily from previous membership of the European Union and, post the UK’s exit from the European Union, principally under the Competition Act 1998.

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  • Data Protection & Consumer Law in Scotland

    The UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) (which, for all intents and purposes, incorporates the General Data Protection Regulation “GDPR”) governs the collection, use, storage and disposal of personal data throughout the UK.

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  • Debt Recovery in Scotland

    Yuill + Kyle, one of Scotland's leading debt recovery and credit control law firms, is part of the MacRoberts Group and offers cmprehensive pre-litigation and litigation services.

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  • Dispute Resolution in Scotland

    Scotland has a separate court system from England & Wales. Scottish procedure is governed by a number of rules, with different procedures in the various Scottish courts (principally the various local Sheriff Courts or the highest civil court, the Court of Session in Edinburgh) for different types of action.

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  • Employment Law in Scotland

    Although Scotland is a separate legal jurisdiction from the rest of the UK, employment rights are safeguarded by legislation which is applicable throughout the UK and sets standards that all employers must comply with.

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  • Family & Personal Law in Scotland

    If you are considering setting up a base in Scotland and relocating members of your team to get your new base established, there will be a number of personal and practical factors to consider.

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  • Freedom of Information in Scotland

    Scotland has well established freedom of information laws which allow individuals to request information held by or on behalf of Scottish public authorities.

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  • Intellectual Property Rights in Scotland

    Intellectual property law is largely the same in Scotland as in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Through its previous membership of the European Union, there is also significant harmonisation of IP law between the UK and a large number of other European countries.

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  • Loans & Security/Enforcement in Scotland

    Bank loans are usually governed by a facility agreement which sets out the basic terms of the loan, such as interest payable, dates of repayment, financial covenants and numerous warranties and indemnities in relation to the position of the business.

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  • Public Procurement in Scotland

    Procurement contracting between the public, private and third sectors is seen as a sustainable investment in Scotland’s people, infrastructure and assets that encourages innovation and promotes inclusive economic growth.

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  • Real Estate in Scotland

    Having decided to establish a presence and operate in Scotland, a business will need premises from which to do so. In Scotland, there are two ways to acquire premises: purchase and lease.

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  • Tax in Scotland

    The majority of fiscal powers are currently reserved to the UK Government. Consequently, most of the tax law which applies in Scotland is UK law. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) collects and administers UK taxes.

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