Our franchise lawyers have years of experience in respect of franchising, including managing litigation and disputes for both Franchisees and Franchisors in respect of the mediation process and court proceedings. We have also acted on behalf of clients in respect of investigations and hearings conducted by the ACCC relating to the Trade Practices Act.
The CEO of a large franchisor once said: “You are a virgin franchisor until the day you find a ‘Statement of Claim’ in your mail box, and that inevitable day will come, accept it as fact. If you can’t, don’t become a franchisor”.
Acting for Franchisors
Well-founded legal advice and practical management of a dispute may avoid escalation of a dispute between a Franchisee and a Franchisor. However, there are times when this is not enough. Armstrong Lawyers provide personalised service, appropriate advice and judgment in respect of legal disputes including:
- Franchisee / Franchisor disputes, including mediation or court proceedings; or
- Alleged Trade Practices Act breaches or ACCC investigations.
Acting for Franchisees
Most Franchise disputes involve allegations by Franchisees that:
- The Franchisor made misleading and deceptive statements to induce the Franchisee to enter the Franchise Agreement in contravention of the Trade Practices Act; or
- The Franchisor failed to perform its obligation under the Franchise Agreement.
Customarily, a Franchisee will pursue a dispute via the mediation process stipulated under the Franchising Code of Conduct. Armstrong Lawyers can advise Franchisees about their rights and how to articulate their claim and the evidence that is necessary to maximise the likelihood of the Franchisee obtaining the most favourable outcome in their dispute.
In the event that a dispute is not settled at mediation, Armstrong Lawyers can act on behalf of a Franchisee by issuing legal proceedings seeking damages or make appropriate complaints with regulatory bodies.
“If you have a problem with one Franchisee, you have a problem franchisee. If you have a problem with twenty Franchisees, you have a problem Franchisor.” Jim Penman, founder of the Jim’s Group.
A class action, otherwise known as a representative action, is available in the Federal Court and involves 7 or more people with the same or similar dispute against the same party.
Since a typical Franchisor has many Franchisees, an allegation that the Franchisor breached its obligations can involve more than one Franchisee. In that event, a class action allows a group of affected Franchisees to pool their resources and minimise their individual legal costs. Armstrong Lawyers can advise in respect of class action claims.