Franchise Disputes


Franchise Disputes and Litigation Experts

Our dedicated litigation team have over 35 years combined experience of handling franchise disputes representing franchisors, franchisees and action groups of franchisees.

They are headed up by Russell Ford, assisted by Nicola King, Lynsey Smith and Alicia West. The 2015 Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession recently described Russell as; “… a fantastic litigator – right from the get-go he is thinking tactics and substance. He is consistent in how he explains things.”

Representing Franchisees

We are often instructed by franchisees, wishing to pursue claims for misrepresentation against their franchisor.  Usually these arise out of statements made to the franchisee, to induce them into signing the franchise agreement, based on financial projections or the success/failure rates in the franchise network. 

We have successfully acted for franchisees, winning such cases at trial and recovering substantial compensation.  We have also negotiated favourable settlements at mediation.  Recent cases where we have successfully represented franchisees include

(1) Peart Stevenson Associates Limited –v- Brian Holland

(2) MGB Printing and Design Limited –v- Kall Kwik UK Limited.

After negotiating settlement terms at a mediation one franchisee client wrote to us saying;

“We wouldn’t have got to this point without the professionalism and tenacity shown by you and your practice, for which I am extremely grateful.”

In 2017 we acted for Gary Hay and Wendy Hay and their company in a franchise dispute which went to trial at the High Court. He wrote:

“Russell Ford and his team at Owen White provided an excellent service. Sound legal advice was given throughout upon which appropriate decisions could be made. Response times were always good and pre-trial preparation extremely thorough. The court work of the legal team was of the highest standard.

I would highly recommend Russell Ford and Owen White who provided a skilled and professional service and who were supportive always during the challenges of the litigation.”

Representing Franchisee Action Groups

We have represented dozens of action groups of franchisees, belonging to national networks, many involving household names.  Frequently these involve allegations of breach of contract by the franchisor, such as territory infringement whilst building a national account customer base, failure to provide marketing or business support, the utilisation of leads from websites and over charging for products.  We have experience of advising groups from 10 to over 100 franchisees.

As an example of recent work we were instructed by over 75% of a network of franchisees concerned about their franchisor attempting to convert their customers into national account customers and to then sub-contract that work back to the franchisees on less favourable commercial terms.  The parties became embroiled in a High Court claim for over £1m which was then settled on good terms.

Representing Franchisors

For franchisors we are able to defend misrepresentation claims, oppose group actions and take appropriate action against franchisees for breach of contract.  This can involve bringing claims for substantial damages, for breach of contract and enforcing post-termination restrictive covenants, in relation to running a similar competing business or soliciting former customers by injunction. We successfully represented Dream Doors Ltd in the Court of Appeal in 2012 in relation to the test for interim injunctions, to prevent a former franchisee from competing.

‘Thank you for all your hard work and persistence in dragging this over the line! I remain very happy with my decision to engage you and couldn’t recommend you highly enough to anyone in future.’

Franchisor Client

“ Still number one in the region, the firm impresses clients not only with its cost effectiveness and the approachability of the individuals, but also with its niche housing experience and specialist housing advisory service. Clients value the one-stop shop approach, noting that the team covers all areas of housing advice. ”
- Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession

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Our Dispute Resolution Solicitors

For further information about our disputes and litigation work or to discuss a particular situation in confidence, please contact Russell Ford.