Our franchise agreements are constantly updated because we monitor legal developments relevant to franchising as and when they happen.
Our franchise agreements are drafted to increase the likelihood that the terms of the agreement will be upheld and enforceable should a dispute arise.
Franchisors constantly complain that Judges seem to favour their franchisees. Whether or not that is true, undoubtedly Judges are influenced by the “look and feel” of a franchise agreement. Historically, for very good commercial reasons, franchise agreements have placed great emphasis on imposing very substantial obligations and restrictions on franchisees. As a result franchise agreements have traditionally given the appearance of reflecting a one sided commercial relationship. In our view it is vital that that is not how the franchise agreement comes across.
There really isn’t any point in drafting agreements which seek to protect the franchisor from all possible eventualities however remote. Agreements need to be focused on those issues which are important and not on irrelevancies.
WHAT IS A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT?
Unfortunately a franchise agreement is an extremely complicated and detailed commercial contract. Generally, they are about 40 pages long although some are as long as 100 pages!
Really all that a franchise agreement does is to expand on the standard definition of franchising which is:
• the franchisor allows a franchisee to use its brand;
• the franchisor will provide continuing training and guidance;
• the franchisee must comply with the franchisor’s requirements;
• the franchisee must make payments to the franchisor.
Inevitably because lawyers are involved, agreements expand on these very simple principles at great length. Having said this, franchise agreements are complex and it is essential that you obtain legal advice on the agreement from an experienced franchise lawyer who will know what provisions are unusual, unfair or unworkable. The BFA has a list of affiliated lawyers who know about franchising. It is very unlikely that a lawyer who is not affiliated to the BFA will have sufficient experience of franchising to be able to advise you properly.