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Complete legal service from specialist franchise solicitors

“As a fast growing franchise business, we are relying on Clarke Willmott more and more for a wide range of legal services including drafting and revising franchise agreements, sub/head leases, and other legal documentation. We work with a variety of lawyers at Clarke Willmott across all areas and have found them to be very responsive, knowledgeable, value for money, and a pleasure to work with.” Inhouse lawyer

Clarke Willmott provides a “one stop shop” for franchisees and franchisors for both domestic and international matters. Our team of specialist franchise solicitors is actually made up of highly experienced intellectual property, commercial property, employment, litigation, commercial and corporate solicitors, which enables us to provide a complete legal service to our franchise clients.

We are members of the British Franchising Association (BFA).

How our team of solicitors can help with franchising

Our work for franchisors and franchisees includes:

  • Reviewing and drafting franchise agreements, deposit agreements, lease and sub-lease agreements, “buy-back” and disclosure packs
  • Advising on the scope of operations manuals
  • Advising on data protection issues arising within a franchise network
  • Assisting clients in establishing a franchise network and developing an appropriate group structure
  • Representing franchisees in franchise re-sales
  • Resolving disputes between franchisors and franchisees
  • Managing trade mark portfolios, including filing and prosecuting trade marks around the world
  • Drafting employment contracts and advising on employment matters, including when franchises are brought back “in-house” by franchisors
  • Assisting clients in developing franchise networks in other countries

Who we can help and how

Our specialist team of franchising solicitors can assist both franchisors and franchisees in a wide range of fields, including health and fitness, education, fashion, travel and food and drink.

We also work alongside other third parties such as accountants, franchise consultants and property management agents to ensure that our clients obtain a complete franchising service.

One particular area of concern we help with relates to the legal limits on sharing data. The ability to market to a former franchisee’s customers once the franchise has come to an end, or the ability to promote effectively across the franchise network are crucial to a franchisor’s success. We give specialist advice on this and members of our specialist team present regularly on this topic, including at BFA events.

Another area often in issue is social media, and the control of social media use by franchisees to ensure consistent branding. We can draft provisions dealing with social media in franchise agreements and can also give ad hoc advice as issues arise. We can also offer structured training on social media legal dos and don’ts and how to protect brands in the event of a social media catastrophe.

Recent franchising work

  • Undertaking work for a major shoe retailer, which has a very large franchise system around the world, including reviewing its franchise agreements, advising on competition law and how it impacts on the franchise network, and enforcing the terms of franchise agreements
  • Dealing with various IP disputes in the UK and around the world including disputes between franchisee and franchisors
  • Acting for a large restaurant chain on the multi-million-pound sale of franchised businesses to the franchisees, involving two large property portfolios of more than 25 properties located in Scotland and the north of England. We advised on the sale and purchase agreement, the franchise subleases and negotiated and completed licences to underlet with a large number of landlords
  • Advising a franchisee of multiple fast food outlets on a funder’s finance agreements and security documentation in relation to the acquisition of new outlets
  • Advising on the TUPE obligations arising out of the sale of a franchised business
  • Training franchisees on employment law affecting new franchise holders
  • Acting for a service station group on the acquisition and construction of a new motorway service station in Cobham, together with associated infrastructure agreements, such as highways agreements. This included dealing with the easements granted to the statutory service providers. The team negotiated and exchanged pre-lets and (following practical completion) completed leases with WH Smith and substantial franchise operations, McDonalds, KFC and Welcome Break. The completed development has an investment value in excess of £75m

Contact a franchising solicitor today

Our team of solicitors based in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton can provide legal advice on franchising to clients located within the UK and internationally.

Call for a free initial consultation today on 0800 652 8025 or get in touch online.

Your key contacts

Marc Long

Head of Employment and HR Team/COFA

Southampton and London
Marc Long is the Head of Clarke Willmott’s Employment and HR team specialising in TUPE and outsourcing.
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Peter Swinburn

Chief Executive

Southampton and London
Peter is Clarke Willmott’s CEO and is responsible for the day to day management of the firm, chairs its executive board and define and implement the firm’s strategy.
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Amy Peacey


Amy helps businesses and individuals document their contract relationships with third parties ensuring their commercial contracts are legally sound and comply with all applicable laws.
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