Agency & Distribution Agreements

Key facts:

  • Agents and distributors are useful in order to get your products and services into new markets or territories, without having to open a new office or retail presence.
  • Agency agreements are, amongst other things, regulated by the Commercial Agents Regulations 1993, so you need to be aware of how this applies to your agency agreements.
  • UK and EU competition law have important implications for distribution agreements, so they need to be tightly drafted.
  • We can handle everything from reviewing your existing agency and distribution agreements to drafting new ones, exiting from agreements, and assisting with dispute resolution.
  • Read our Agency & Distribution Agreements FAQs to learn the basics.

Why would your business need an agent or distributor?

If you’re thinking of setting up a relationship with an agent or a local distributor, then you’ll be effectively sub-contracting the sales or marketing function of your business to a third party. This can be a good way of relieving the pressure on you while taking advantage of an agent or distributor’s local connections and in-depth local knowledge.

Why does your business need agency or distribution agreements?

You’ll need agency agreements and/or distribution agreements to protect your business. As with any other commercial agreement, it’s important to make sure your agency and distribution agreements are legally binding and detail the rights and obligations of both parties.

If there’s no written agreement in place, or it’s not drafted properly, then certain terms may be contrary to the intention of the parties – and so disputes can arise.

We recommend that you seek the help of a commercial solicitor to help draft and review an agency or distribution agreement on your behalf.

What is an agency agreement?

In an agency arrangement, a supplier gives an agent authority to introduce orders from a third party to create a legal relationship between the supplier and the customer. An agent will receive commission from the supplier and does not contract with customers in their own right, which means they generally have no liability to them.

The main source of rights for the parties will be set out within the written agency agreement itself. If there’s no agency agreement, one may still exist and certain terms may either be implied through common law or due to the application of the Commercial Agents Regulations (1993). Read much more about agency agreements in our FAQs.

What is a distribution agreement?

A distribution agreement involves a distributor buying goods on their own account from a manufacturer or other supplier and reselling them to customers. The contract for the sale of the goods/services is between the distributor and the customer. Find out more about distribution agreements and how they work in our Agency & Distribution Agreement FAQs.

How can Harper James Solicitors help with agency & distribution agreements?

For agency agreements:

Most importantly, the Commercial Agents Regulations stipulate that a payment must be made to an agent on termination and it’s important to choose the correct method for deciding the amount in order to minimise the costs to your business.

If you wish to appoint an agent, our commercial solicitors will draft and review a written agreement designed to regulate this relationship to make sure you’re compliant with the regulations, while also preparing you for the potential impact of EU and UK competition law.

For distribution agreements:

EU and UK competition rules prohibit arrangements that prevent, restrict or distort competition. We strongly advise that your distribution agreement is drafted by a commercial solicitor to make sure you take advantage of the various exemptions available to avoid you falling foul of competition law.

Why choose our agency agreement solicitors?

There’s no doubt that you’ll need a solicitor to draft, review or negotiate your agency agreements or distribution agreements. You don’t want to be left unprotected or caught out, especially when dealing with the Commercial Agents Regulations. Our solicitors have all worked at partner level in top 100 firms or in house at major international businesses, and have considerable experience with agency and distribution agreements. Find out more about each of our agency and distribution agreements team:

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:

City

Straightforward access to senior solicitors from £200 per hour.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive 'City' partner-level expertise at a fraction of 'City' prices.

Enterprise

Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £99 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.

On-Demand

For businesses requiring 60+ hours of support a year, with prices equivalent to £99 per hour.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

What our clients say

We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.

What next?

Please leave us your details and we’ll contact you to discuss your situation and legal requirements. There’s no charge for your initial consultation, and no obligation to instruct us. We aim to respond to all messages received within 24 hours.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

50-52 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 3RJ
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP

Our other locations

Immeuble Danica B, 21, avenue Georges Pompidou, Lyon Cedex 03, Lyon, 69486