We draft, negotiate and amend commercial agents contracts and also advise in situations where disputes arise. Our lawyers can help whether you are the Principal or Agent.
Business Agent agreements are complicated by the rules imposed by the Commercial Agent Regulations 1993 and the risk that whatever the agreement contains the agent may be able to claim that he or she is in fact an employee.
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 regulations give 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 our solicitors for a fixed fee quote for a professionally drafted, tailored agreement to maximise your position and minimise your risks under the European Regulations. If you have a dispute, whether as agent or principal, we can help.