Franchising

“Their service is excellent, with the ability to contact key solicitors. It is the best service level I have experienced.”

Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2016
Our franchise lawyers advise on all aspects of franchising law working on behalf of franchisors, franchisees and industry bodies. We are recognised as leaders in our fields and for our pragmatic, easy to understand and cost effective advice.

Main areas of practice

For franchisors

Our Franchising team can help franchisors at all stages of their franchising journey – from the initial stages of franchising their business, through day-to-day management of their network, and onwards to the sale of a network to a new owner. We have the requisite experience and expertise to advise franchisors on all aspects of their network and to add real value to the business, both within the UK and internationally.

Our lawyers can help with: 

  • Franchising your business
  • Managing your franchise network
  • Brand protection          
  • Sale of a franchise network or seeking further investment
  • Property services
  • Disputes with franchisees
  • Company secretarial and other corporate governance services
  • Banking requirements and consumer credit issues
  • Business restructuring

For franchisees

Our Franchising team is experienced in advising prospective and existing franchisees on all stages of the process from reviewing deposit and franchise agreements at the outset, negotiating the lease for your premises or dealing with day-to-day business and employment issues through to selling your business and managing disputes arising with your franchisor. 

Our lawyers can help with: 

  • Fixed fee reports on franchise agreements
  • Purchase or sale of an existing franchise business
  • Property and leases
  • Disputes with the franchisor
  • Company secretarial and other company services
  • Loans and personal guarantees
  • Collective advice to groups of franchisees

Clients

We work with clients in a wide range if industry sectors, some of which are household names, including:

Molly Maid UK The Southern Co-operative 
Driving Miss Daisy UK Costa
DHL International The Bluebird Care Group
Sprinkles Gelato Barn Store
The Trussell Trust  The Hotel Collection

Significant experience

Some examples of recent work undertaken by the Franchising team include: 

  • Working with a long-standing retail franchisor to prepare suites of agreements for use with their franchise networks, including interlinked EPOS hire agreements, option agreements and loan documentation.
  • Acting for a successful NZ franchisor, a provider of specialist companion driving services on its UK network, preparing standard documentation and granting a master franchise to the UK management team.
  • Advising social franchises on appropriate template agreements and related charity law and Equality Act implications
  • Working with a global hotel brand to take a multi-location option for a Marco Pierre White restaurant franchise.
  • Advising Costa on the acquisition of its existing franchisee Life Coffee Cafes Limited, one of Costa's largest franchisees operating 16 stores across the South of England as well as a London head office facility.
  • Creating inter-creditor deeds and loan agreements for various franchisors lending money to franchisees.
  • Advising on the tax implications on the restructure of a UK wide cleaning franchisor.
  • Creating and advising on quasi-franchise and concession agreements and related property work, including national wide roll-out of "stores within a store".
  • Acting for the founders of the Bluebird Care Group in the trade sale of their franchised network to a US investor.
  • Acting for a franchisee of a lettings and estate agency franchise in respect of claims of for breaches of the franchise agreement - including advising on settlement which enabled the franchisee continue to operate their franchise and remain in their retail premises.
  • Advising a restaurant brand on disputes with its franchisees and complex passing off disputes.
  • Advising retail franchisees on disputes with their franchisors including claims of misrepresentation, stocking of products in nearby competing outlets, and lack of support.
  • Advising franchisees in relation to the administration of their coffee shop franchisor.
  • Assisting a franchisee on a complex purchase of a camping and caravanning site and business from an ongoing franchisee.

Additional expertise

We have a worldwide network of trusted law firms with whom we work regularly to help franchisors set up international networks.

We also have a network of trusted franchise consultants and other professional advisors to help clients maximise the value and reach of their businesses.

The head of our Franchising team, Sheilah Mackie, was also the first solicitor in the UK to achieve the qualification of Qualified Franchise Professional (QFP). The QFP is a qualification designed by the BFA for people working within the franchising industry who want to demonstrate their experience, understanding and ethical approach to franchising.

“They provided sound practical advice and we always feel that they represent our best interests as the seller.”

Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2015

“Advises household names on both contentious and non-contentious matters.”

The Legal 500 UK 2014

“A high-profile partner-led practice advising on domestic franchising deals.”

Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2014

Related expertise

Main contacts

Related Knowledge & Resources

The Times Business Clinic: Should our drive from the Batcave take us overseas?

News

Blake Morgan partner and Franchising expert Sheilah Mackie features in The Times Business Clinic.

Global recognition for Blake Morgan Specialists

Press Release

Two legal specialists at Blake Morgan have been recognised as global leaders in their field in the 2017 edition of the prestigious worldwide law directory Who’s Who Legal.

Franchise business model may constitute ETO reason for dismissal of employees

News

The EAT recently considered whether changing the method of providing services from an employed workforce to a franchise model could amount to a legitimate reason for dismissing individuals following a TUPE transfer.

New EU Trade Mark Regulations: What's changing?

This week, on 23 March 2016, the new EU Trade Mark Regulations will come into force. The aim of the new regulations is to make trade mark registration systems in the EU cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable.

Changes to CTM renewal fees from 23 March 2016

On 23 March 2016 the new EU Trade Mark Regulations come into force.

A New Code for Ethical Franchising in Britain

Following a long period of consultation and discussion at European level, the British Franchise Association (BFA) adopted the latest version of the European Code of Ethics for Franchising (ECEF)

EU Trade Mark Regulations: Changes to the interpretation of EU Trade Mark specifications

A change will be implemented in relation to the EUIPO's interpretation of descriptions of goods and services.

Franchising flourishes as revenue rockets

British franchising businesses contributed more than £15 billion to the national economy last year, according to new figures from the latest bfa / NatWest Franchise Survey 2015 (the 30th such report).