Brexit: Possible Implications for Commercial Agents

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Suzanne Carr - Partner


The British government recently announced its plans to scrap all EU financial regulations by the end of 2023. Despite the profound impact that will have on the UK financial sector, this current government appears determined to have its “Brexit bonfire”. The UK ceased to be part of the EU on 1 January 2021. However, the EU regulations implemented pre-Brexit remained part of UK law. But since 1 January, the UK is no longer required to have any EU regulations.

Given statements made by the former Minister for Brexit Opportunities, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the bonfire is likely to spread to other EU regulations, which include the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (the Commercial Agents Regulations).

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What will this mean for agents?

If the Commercial Agents Regulations are scrapped, it is overwhelmingly likely that agents will lose out on the right to claim compensation from their principals on termination of the agency. Moreover, the author doubts any new UK-made legislation dealing with commercial agents’ activities in the UK (assuming there would be any such legislation) would include the right to claim compensation. Therefore, any right to claim compensation as a result of termination would have to be written into a written contract between the agent and principal, which would be a matter for commercial negotiation.

The point here is that if the Commercial Agents Regulations are scrapped, principals will not be obliged to pay compensation on termination. The implications are that agents, especially those with high-earning agencies, could be terminated without any ramifications. That unfairness is precisely what the Commercial Agents Regulations were designed to remedy, and agents have enjoyed that protection since 1993.

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What will this mean for agents

What can agents do?

Agents will have to wait and see whether the government will make good on its promise to scrap all EU regulations. The timing of the abolition of the Commercial Agents Regulations and any grace period will be important, particularly for agents reaching retirement age. Once an agent reaches retirement age, they may terminate the agency at their option and claim compensation. There is no agreed retirement age for commercial agents, but the current authority suggests 67 years.

Not all agents want to retire at 67, especially if they are reaping the benefits of a long and successful career. However, agents in that position should be mindful of the government’s plans to scrap EU financial regulations, which may include the Commercial Agents Regulations, and when that will take effect. In other words, agents on the edge of retirement and who plan to retire should ensure any retirement notices are given before the abolition of the Commercial Agents Regulations takes effect.

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What can agents do

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Our experts are ready to assist with all aspects of commercial agency law. We are always happy to have an initial no-obligation chat to help guide you in the right direction. Please do not hesitate to contact us at:

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Suzanne Carr's profile picture

Suzanne Carr


Suzanne has 21 years of experience acting as a Dispute Resolution solicitor. Suzanne has specialist expertise in professional negligence claims, partnership disputes, complex contractual disputes, and commercial agency claims.

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