This website terms and conditions template is for use on websites with typical features: informational pages, contact forms and user-submitted content.

The terms and conditions reflect applicable requirements of both European Union and United Kingdom law, including the directive on electronic commerce (Directive 2000/31/EC) and its UK implementing regulations (the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002).

You may well need other legal documents on our website. In particular, you may need to publish a privacy policy that sets out information about how you handle users’ personal data.

Moreover, these terms and conditions are insufficient for websites selling products, downloads or services. For websites selling subscriptions, see these terms and conditions, which are available in a number of variants; for social networking websites, see this pack of documents; and for a complete set of documents for an online store, see our online shop packs.

There’s more information below about the other documents you might need on your website.

What clauses are included in these terms and conditions?

The terms and conditions include the following provisions:

  • a licence of the copyright in the website (and restrictions on what may be done with the material on the website);
  • a disclaimer of liability, limiting the scope of legal claims that a user might bring against you;
  • a clause governing user accounts, the use of passwords and restricted areas of the website;
  • an acceptable use clause prohibiting various forms of undesirable conduct;
  • a licence of user content, required because user content is itself protected by copyright and you need a licence in order to publish that content;
  • rules relating to user content, such as prohibitions on defamatory and explicit material;
  • a variation clause allowing you to change the terms and conditions;
  • a clause specifying the applicable law and the jurisdiction in which disputes will be decided;
  • a provision specifying some of the information which needs to be disclosed under UK and EU legislation.

How do I use the terms and conditions?

Before publishing the terms and conditions on your website, you will need to edit them using word processing software. After editing, you should convert them to an appropriate format such as HTML.  Your content management system may help you with the conversion.

Before and during editing, please read the guidance notes accompanying the terms and conditions. They highlight some of the key issues, including drafting which reflects specific statutory requirements.

Feel free to ask questions about the terms and conditions in the comments section below or using our Q&A system.

Why do I need website terms and conditions?

Obscure in the footer of almost every web page, amongst little used links to website policies, investor relations reports and adverts for adverts, you’ll find a terms and conditions link. Almost no one reads terms and conditions. No one really likes them. Web designers work hard to minimise their impact upon the user experience. Some publishers really are too cool for legal documents. Nonetheless, the directives of company legal departments and/or the inchoate fear of legal calamity drive most publishers to include legal documents on their websites.

What are the specific functions of terms and conditions?

There are four main functions:

  • to protect intellectual property rights;
  • to limit or exclude liability in relation to the use of the website;
  • to make information disclosures required by law; and
  • to establish a contractual framework governing the relationship between the publisher and users of the website

Our template terms and conditions cover each of these functions.

See below for more details concerning the specific contents.