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Commercial Agency Law

DWF’s commercial agency team is highly specialised in advising on issues arising out of commercial agency relationships. Whether you are a principal or agent, our specialist team is on hand to provide strategic, commercial advice to protect your position.

How we can help

We have a market leading reputation for providing expert advice.

The law relating to commercial agency relationships can be a minefield for agents and principals alike. There are many questions which are not always easy for principals and agents to answer – and it can be very expensive if you get it wrong.

Described by Oliver Segal QC, one of the leading barristers in this area of law, as "one of the leading solicitors’ teams in the field of the Commercial Agents Regulations", we have vast experience of advising companies and individuals working in a wide range of markets on issues including:

  • When do the Regulations apply?
  • What rights and obligations do the parties have during the agency?
  • What sort of conduct entitles the other party to terminate?
  • How can an agent or principal vary the terms of the agency?
  • When is an agent entitled to an indemnity or compensation following termination?
  • How can an agent lose the right to an indemnity or compensation?
  • How is the value of that indemnity or compensation calculated?

DWF’s commercial agency team is highly specialised in advising on and pursuing and defending claims arising out of the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993. We have extensive experience in:

  1. Advising on the principal/commercial agent’s business relationship from the outset and during the relationship
  2. Drafting/health checking contractual agreements to ensure the party represented is appropriately protected
  3. Representing principals and agents in the event that the terms of the agency agreement need to be amended;
  4. Dealing with issues relating to breach of the agency contract by the agent and/or principal; and
  5. Acting for principals and agents in relation to issues arising upon the termination of the agency contract, including dealing with contested claims for compensation and indemnities and valuation issues.

We act on all values of claims across all sectors from fashion to aerospace and food to manufacturing

We act on behalf of both agents and principals and have substantial experience of multi-million pound claims as well as claims involving technical issues such as choice of law and jurisdiction; the applicability of specific regulations; how the Regulations apply in the context of “super-agents” and “sub-agents”; and the calculation of compensation and indemnities.

Examples of our work includes:

  • Successfully acting for a purchasing agent in the diamond sector in the High Court and Court of Appeal, including securing substantial damages, indemnity costs orders and successfully arguing that the Regulations were applicable in response to the Principal's argument that the commodity market / commodity exchange exception applied
  • Acting for an agent in a £17 million dispute with a US polymer manufacturer when the turnover of polymer sold exceeded £100 million per annum
  • Acting for a global electronics contracts manufacturer in relation to a $3 million claim for compensation
  • Advising major food manufacturer in relation to a potential €1.8 million dispute
  • Acting on a claim for £1.5 million in the natural resources/heavy machinery sector
  • Securing a settlement of USD500,000 for an agent in the aerospace and defence sector
  • Succeeding in a claim on behalf of an agent in the aerospace sector and securing a substantial settlement where the US-based principal denied that the English court had jurisdiction
  • Advising a “super-agent” in the gift products sector in relation to a claim for more than £1 million
  • Advising a household name food-manufacturer in relation to claims brought by two agents worth a total of more than £600,000
  • Acting for a very well-known European food manufacturer in a claim for an indemnity brought by an agent
  • Advising a major sportswear manufacturer on its relationship with a European agency business
  • Acting for a major biscuits manufacturer in a claim brought by an agent
  • Acting for an agent in the fashion sector in claims against a principal based in Hong Kong and New York
  • Acting for an agent against a household-name brand in the sports/leisure sector
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