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BREXIT-TROUBLE AHEAD FOR COMMERCIAL AGENTS?

Roger Billins
Roger Billins

The most difficult aspect of the Brexit referendum decision for lawyers is that we are now in a period of real uncertainty as to the economic and political structure that will be in place once negotiations have been completed, making it impossible to give certain advice.

​The assumption must be that the Government will, at some stage, trigger Article 50. The resultant exit will almost certainly mean the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 and this will also mean the repeal of all the regulations made pursuant to it, including the Commercial Agents ( Council Directive) Regulations 1993. It is possible that the entire jurisprudence giving protection to commercial agents will be swept away.

There are two possible positive outcomes for agents. The first is that the U.K. will continue to enjoy access to the single market ( so called ‘soft Brexit’). If that happens it will almost certainly mean that the Regulations will be preserved-perhaps pursuant to new primary legislation. Alternatively, in the event of ‘hard Brexit’, the government may see the merit of continuing to provide protection to commercial agents and introduce its own legislation, along the lines of the existing Regulations. It would be foolish for either principals or agents to rush into variations to their contracts until we have a better idea of the future.

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