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Do all UK franchisors have to comply with the British Franchise Association’s code of ethics?
All members of the British Franchise Association are required by the bfa’s rules of membership to comply with the code of ethics. This ought not to be a major burden on members because all that the code of ethics does is set out what is generally recognised as good practice in franchising. The bfa has provided a guide to the code, which gives practical assistance on the way it should be implemented. The fact that the code represents good practice has been recognised by the courts. In a recent case involving a franchisor, the High Court judged the actions and behaviour of the franchisor on the basis of the code of ethics, even though this particular franchisor was not a member of the bfa. The judge recognised that the code represented good practice, which all franchisors should follow. The franchisor had also previously been a member of the bfa, and so was considered to be aware of its contents. Notwithstanding the above, the only way that franchisees can ensure that their franchisor has ‘signed up’ to the requirements of the code is to enter into a franchise agreement with a member of the bfa, because the bfa will be quick to investigate any allegations from a franchisee that the franchisor is failing to comply.
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