Our team of experienced franchise dispute resolution specialists is an integral part of our franchise team. We advise on all stages of the dispute avoidance and resolution process. We give initial trouble-shooting advice, and ultimately advise on mediation, litigation and arbitration. We have substantial experience in each.
Early dispute resolution input is critical. We regularly advise on issues such as termination, managing franchisee performance issues, injunctive relief to prevent competition with the network, and strategies to avoid escalation of network-wide franchisee unrest.
In addition to our significant UK disputes expertise, we regularly advise clients on disputes arising out of international franchise relationships and roll-out programmes. We have advised clients on disputes, and managed litigation, in countries as diverse as Hong Kong, Romania, India, China, the UAE and Brazil.
We have significant experience of franchisee class actions and have successfully represented groups to re-negotiate their franchise agreements, obtain damages, free themselves from contractual restrictions or buy out the business from their franchisor (where we believe we were the pioneers of the franchisee buyout).
Notable deals / highlights
- Acting on behalf of a leading UK care home provider in its successful claim against franchisees in the leading 2014 English High Court judgment in this sector. Judgment was awarded in favour of our client in relation to every aspect of its claim (including its post-termination covenants), and an indemnity costs award made in favour of our client.
- Acting on behalf of an international hotel chain in its defence of a claim brought by a franchisee in India.
- Advising on risk, quantification of compensation and associated multimillion claims arising from the closure by a leading High Street bank of a network of banking agencies.
- Representing a group of more than 100 franchisees in a dispute concerning their franchisor's level and quality of support to their businesses, and advising many of those on possible exits from the network. The broader dispute was eventually resolved in a complex, yet successful, mediation involving almost 70 parties.
- Representing a franchisor in the High Court and Court of Appeal in a dispute against a former franchisee who had continued to trade in breach of post-termination restrictions. The Court of Appeal confirmed that a franchisor can rely on post-termination restrictions to protect goodwill in a territory regardless of whether it is able to recruit a replacement franchisee immediately.
- Securing for an international food franchisor an injunction to restrain a former franchisee from operating a competing franchise in breach of post-termination covenants. The competing franchise (in several former territories) had been set up to conceal the former franchisee's involvement.
- Advising a services franchisor on wholesale changes to its franchise strategy and connected disputes with a number of groups of franchisees.