We appreciate the complexities that franchise disputes have. Our franchise dispute resolution team is experienced in dealing with disputes between franchisees and franchisors.
Our franchise lawyers act for both franchisors and individual franchisees in disputes. We are also experienced in representing large groups of franchisees in complex disputes.
Getting the Right Franchise Advice on your Dispute
We understand the parties’ restrictions and obligations under the relevant franchising laws and franchise agreements. We also understand the commercial aspects of the franchising model, operations and other agreements such as supply agreements that impact a franchise business.
Unlike lawyers who provide legal advice for franchise agreements etc, litigation lawyers handle and resolve franchise disputes and litigation. This requires specific legal skills and knowledge. Court procedures, rules and processes are strict and require specific knowledge and experience to navigate.
Franchise disputes are more specialised again. There is also another added layer of complexity being the Franchise Code of Conduct (the Code). The Code contains regulations that are unique to franchising, such as the franchise documentation and disclosure documents. If you are a franchisee or a franchisor it is important to seek advice from an experienced franchise litigation lawyer. They understand the legal requirements and the commercial practicalities of operating in a franchise model.
Generally, franchise disputes need to be dealt with carefully to ensure that the relationship is preserved between the parties. In many franchise disputes, the commercial relationship continues during and after the dispute is resolved. For this reason, it is important to have a lawyer that will not unnecessarily frustrate the ongoing business relationship.
The first step is usually a discussion between the franchisor and franchisee. If there is a disagreement that cannot be simply resolved, one or both of the parties will at this point typically seek legal advice from a franchise dispute lawyer.
A franchise dispute will usually start with correspondence between the parties and a Notice of Dispute being issued. The Notice of Dispute will set out the nature of the dispute and what is required to resolve it. This will mark the effective beginning of the dispute resolution process.
Following a Notice of Dispute being served by the aggrieved party on the other party (usually a franchisee’s lawyer is the one who serves such a notice), there will be an opportunity for a response to the Notice. Following the response, mediation, which is mandatory under the Code, will typically occur.
Mediation is a formal process conducted by a qualified mediator to try to bring the parties together and resolve their issues. If mediation is successful, a settlement deed is drafted, often on the day. It is important to get an experienced lawyer as this agreement is binding. Proper drafting skills and experience are essential to getting an effective, thorough and workable settlement deed that protects you.
If the dispute does not resolve at mediation, litigation becomes an option – and it frequently follows.
Most franchise litigation is commenced in the County Court of Victoria (or one of the federal courts). These courts hear disputes over $100,000 in terms of the quantum of alleged loss. If the claim is less than $100,000, the appropriate authority will usually be the Magistrates Court of Victoria.
Our commercial litigation lawyers have acted in many franchise disputes and have a deep understanding of the nuances and complexity of franchising systems.
Our lawyers have this working knowledge combined with the legal knowledge of the Franchising Code of Conduct and the other related legislation that will ensure you have the best advice and representation.