We provide specialist and experienced advice with drafting, negotiating, amending commercial agents contracts and also in situations where disputes arise. We can help whether you are the Principal or Agent.
Agency law is a complex area covering a multitude of different types of business arrangements which fall short of employment. Agents are a common feature in business and many legal relationships come within the jurisdiction of the Commercial Agency Regulations.
Businesses often use sales agents in order to:
The difference between the relationship of employer and employee and principal and agent is quite fluid under English law, and generally each case is considered on it’s own merits by the courts in the event of dispute. A relationship which may have started with the intention of being agency can change over time, and be found by the courts to have become an employment relationship. This can result in:
Agency law is highly regulated, particularly by EU law. The Commercial Agency (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (“the agency regulations”) gives sales agents rights, amongst other things to minimum notice periods and potentially significant compensation on termination.
These rights cannot be varied even with both parties consent, so it is highly advisable to take advice on whether what is intended as an agency contract is likely to be classified legally as employment, sales agency, marketing agency or distribution agreement. Marketing and/or distribution agreements are not subject to the agency regulations, making them potentially attractive for the above reasons.
It is highly advisable to have a professionally drafted agency agreement which will make detailed provision, amongst many other things, for:
If you are a business considering an agency arrangement or an agent offered an agreement, please contact us for a fixed fee quote for a professionally drafted, tailored agreement to maximise your position and minimise your risks under the agency regulations. If you have a dispute, whether as agent or principal, we can help.