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Commercial Agency Law

Our specialist lawyers are experts in this area and advise agents and principals on all aspects of commercial agency law, covering the full life cycle of an agency contract. This includes negotiating and drafting agency contracts at the outset of the relationship, advising on rights and remedies as issues crop up during the life of the agency contract and dealing with any issues and claims which may arise from the termination of the agency contract.

Our philosophy is to provide our clients with pragmatic, commercial and cost effective advice to help them achieve their objectives, build and maintain successful relationships and avoid costly and stressful disputes. While we have acted in several of the leading cases in this area, we have also helped many of our clients to settle claims amicably without the need for Court proceedings.

We represent clients across a wide range of sectors including:

  • clothing, footwear, bridal wear and fashion;
  • furniture and other homeware;
  • flooring, bathroom, kitchen, heating and lighting products;
  • medical devices and PPE products;
  • electrical goods;
  • the automotive industry;
  • toys, gifts and greetings cards;
  • jewellery; and
  • cosmetics.

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Areas of Practice

We advise agents and principals on all aspects of commercial agency law, including whether the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 apply to the agency contract and the effect they might have. We cover the full life cycle of an agency contract:

At the outset of the agency – agreeing the terms of the agency contract

We can advise on the key terms that should be included in the agency contract, help you to negotiate those terms and draft the agency contract to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the agent and principal.


During the agency - making changes to the agency contract

As circumstances change, we can help you to negotiate and draft variations to the agency contract so that they are legally effective. These changes might relate to the agent’s territory or the customers to be serviced by the agent, the commission rates payable or the products that the agent is authorised to sell.

During the agency - rights and obligations under the agency contract

Even if the agency contract is not set out in writing, there will be one in place. We can advise you on your specific rights and obligations under that agency contract, including those which may be added to the agency contract by the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993. This advice can often help agents and principals to resolve performance or conduct related issues quickly and avoid full blown disputes.

During the agency - Dealing with changes to the parties

We can advise on what needs to be done if the agent wants to change their method of operation from sole trader to limited company, or if the principal is bought out or wants to restructure their group of companies.

We can help you to ensure that such events do not adversely affect the agency contract.


At the end of the agency - termination of an agency contract

When termination of an agency contract is being considered, by an agent or by a principal, we can advise on whether the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 apply to the agency contract, whether rights to terminate have been triggered and how strong those rights are. This can involve assessing the performance of the agent, the conduct of the principal or whether the agent wishes to retire. It is important to get these decisions right because they can be very costly if you get them wrong.

Claims that can arise following termination of an agency contract

Depending on whether the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 apply to the agency contract, various claims can potentially arise from termination, including claims for unpaid or pipeline commission, claims arising from insufficient notice being given by the principal and claims for compensation or indemnity under Regulation 17.

We can help you to navigate safely through these difficult areas.


Dealing with disputes

We can assist you at any stage of a dispute, from the very early stages of discussion, through to starting the Court process and on to trial if necessary. The vast majority of disputes can be resolved without having to go to Court and we are highly skilled at helping our clients to negotiate amicable settlements in a cost effective manner. The earlier we are involved, the more effective we can be.

For those disputes that cannot be settled, we are very experienced in taking or defending commercial agency claims to a successful outcome through the Court process. We have close links with barristers who specialise in this area and forensic accountants who can provide expert assistance on the valuation of compensation claims.

Dealing with Disputes

Latest Insights

Commercial Agency Law

What happens to an agency contract if the principal goes out of business?

January 13, 2021

Fletcher Day's excellent practice provides good quality, realistic and sensible advice, with particular expertise in the casual dining and retail sectors. - The Legal 500, 2019