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Do I have to use the services of a solicitor when negotiating with a franchisor?
There is no legal requirement for you to instruct a solicitor when negotiating with a franchisor. However, some franchisors do prefer their prospective franchisees to be legally represented, usually to ensure that the franchisee is fully aware of the legal implications of entering into a franchise agreement. Expert, professional advice is especially valuable if you are not familiar with the legal documents or with the concept of franchising. A solicitor specialising in franchising should be able to help you understand the ‘small print’ of the franchise agreement and should be able to highlight those provisions that are common practice and those that are particularly onerous. Usually there is no room for negotiating the terms of a franchise agreement with a franchisor. However, an experienced franchise solicitor may be able to highlight areas where changes may be possible. In addition, a franchise solicitor may be a useful resource when you first receive the franchise agreement as he or she can often direct you as to what further enquiries you should be making of the franchisor. If you do decide to use a solicitor you should ideally instruct a franchise law solicitor. A full list of law firms specialising in this area can be found on the British Franchise Association’s website at www.britishfranchise.org
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