When established businesses move to Ashtons Legal’s specialist team, incorporating the skills of Chambers & Co, from their existing legal advisors they find four main differences:

  • with a non-specialist practice they increasingly find that they know more about franchising issues than their own lawyer and do not feel they get value for money
  • realising that their original franchise agreement does not give them the protection that they thought they had when disputes arise
  • finding that their current advisor more often than not tells them why they cannot do something, rather than telling them how to do it
  • facing too high a proportion of franchisees leaving the network, or franchisees are abusing system controls – and they want to talk to someone who has ‘been there’ to see what to do.

The law relating to franchising is surprisingly complex, but we pride ourselves on presenting sensible commercial solutions in a down to earth manner. Our team members are each acknowledged to be in the top of their field. Their work is coordinated by Damian Humphrey, who heads up the firms’ nationally recognised franchise team, which provides a first class service to many of the country’s leading franchise brands.

It is our approach to the key elements of your franchise business that encourages many people to change legal advisers.

  • Agreement and prospectus – We will review your existing agreement free of charge. If we think it is fine we will say so. If it needs strengthening, we will give you a fixed price for carrying out the work. This can often include an across the table review of your franchise controls, structure, and systems, similar to that offered to prospective franchisors.
  • Dispute resolution – The 80:20 rule applies here – 20% of your network will often give you 80% of the trouble. Rarely is terminating a franchise the best option. We have particular skills in resolution, but we will not drag a serious dispute out to increase our costs. We will tell you what we think your position is and agree an objective for trying to sort it out.
  • Data protection/GDPR – This is currently a hot topic. Many franchisees have used data protection legislation to try and wriggle out of their franchise. Some will use it as an excuse to be difficult about passing across a customer base, often in the run up to a termination. We can review your notification, privacy policy and then prepare a data protection policy and even assist your whole network to properly notify their businesses. This is particularly important in instances where a large amount of customer data is kept and shared by each franchisee.
  • Resales – Another hot topic. We have a simple package that drives the resale to meet your training dates and uses the purchase price to clear any debts to you from your outgoing franchisee. It is often paid for by the outgoing and incoming franchisees and is therefore usually free to you.
  • The Ashtons Legal team are here when you need a different perspective on a particular issue, be it something that affects an individual franchisee or the entire network, you often have no one to test it against. The British Franchise Association does offer an admirable discussion forum, but at best only once a quarter.


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