Case summaries

Court proceedings can be stressful.  This is particularly true for matters outside of your control: you may think you know your witnesses and what their evidence is, but once they are in the box, they are on their own.  Some people excel as...
Two High Court cases decided within 18 months of each other have raised the unlikely topic of abusive language and its ability to result in a lawful termination of contract. The two pertinent words in the cases were s**t and shite and the apparently...
The High Court has considered how and when an agency agreement comes to an end in the absence of a clear termination date. The claimant acted as the defendant’s exclusive agent, and attained orders in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The...
Suppliers and distributors sometimes join forces to restrict the sale of products in different markets or the prices at which those products are sold.  But they might be surprised to learn that what they are doing can be illegal. Nintendo...
The European Self Employed Agents Directive allowed member states the opportunity to specify that a commercial agent may be entitled to either an indemnity or compensation payment in certain circumstances on termination.  While the majority of...
The extent to which account is to be taken of factors extraneous to the agency in determining the compensation payable to an agent is at the heart of the recent McQuillan judgment.  McQuillan concerned the distributor and one of his agents for the...
Volvo Car Germany GmbH v. Autohof Weidensdorf GmbH (C-203/09, 28 October 2010) Principals will find it even harder to avoid paying compensation to terminated agents under the Commercial Agents Regulations following a recent European Court decision. ...
In answer to the ever-tricky question of where to sue the agent in the context of a modern commercial agency agreement where the agent operates in more than one EU country,  the Court in Wood Floor Solutions GmbH v Silva Trade SA set out a three-stage...
Non-compliance with a principal’s reasonable instructions can put an agent in all sorts of difficulties. This is especially so where an agent is unwilling to change working practices. This is the result of the recent case of Gledhill v Bentley Designs,...
Introduction "You are a despicable, horrible little excuse for a human being" was part of the statement made by Mr Gledhill to the managing director of his principal, Bentley Designs.   Leaving aside the issue of whether such a statement...
Although the Commercial Agents Regulations have been in force for over 16 years, many important issues remain to be resolved.  Among these issues are: 1. What are “goods”?  This is important as the Regulations define a ...
This case highlights the importance of making sure that your activities are properly that of an agent or principle, if that is your intention. Factual Background Mr Sagal entered into an agreement with Bunz whereby Mr Sagal would procure sales of Bunz...
Following two recent cases, it is now apparent that agents must be very clear when they are giving notice to their principals of their intention to claim for compensation or an indemnity under the Commercial Agents Regulations. In both cases the agents lost...
Jackson Distribution Limited (“Jackson”) was the sole distributor of Tum Yeto Inc’s (“TYI”) range of “Dekline” products in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland from March 2005.  The distribution...
Background In 1990 Howard & Hallam Limited, a shoe manufacturer, appointed Mr Lonsdale as its sales agent for their Elmdale brand of shoes. By 2000 the Elmdale brand was in decline: sales, and, consequently, Mr Lonsdale’s commission, fell...
Background Mr. Kelvin Jack is an international goalkeeper from Trinidad and Tobago. Imageview Management Ltd (“Imageview”), a footballer’s agency, owned by Mr. Mike Berry, acted for Mr. Jack. In July 2004 Mr. Jack decided that he wanted...
This case in the English courts was concerned with the matter of whether an agent’s notification to his principal was sufficient to stop the clock running on the one year limitation period following termination. Although the relevant governing law...
Facts Raoul Sagal (“Sagal”) claimed that he had acted as a commercial agent for Atelier Bunz GMBH (“Bunz”) within the meaning of the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (the “Regulations”) in...
The Facts Groupe Danone appointed an agent to represent its subsidiaries (the “Defendants”) in their dealings with importers, wholesalers and retailers of their goods in a specific geographical area, including Mayotte and La Reunion (a...
Visualmark acted as agent for BCM Group for the promotion and sale of office equipment under the terms of a written agency agreement signed in 2001 which contained post-termination restrictive covenants.  In 2002, there was an exchange of letters...
This case concerned the appeal to the Court of Appeal by International Connection (UK) Limited (“ICL”) against the order of His Honour Judge Knight QC in the Central London County Court. Mr Edwards was a salesman, who specialised in the sale of...
The claimant, Tony Vick, was employed by the defendant company, Vogle-Gapes Ltd, in 1996 as a salesman. In 1999 he gave up his employment and became a sales agent for Vogle-Gapes. The agency agreement came to an end in April 2004, the circumstances of...
One of the most recent cases concerning the Commercial Agents Regulations decided by the High Court has gone some way to clarifying three aspects of the Regulations which previously had given rise to dispute.  Unfortunately in doing so it leaves open...
Written by Steve Sidkin 19 July 05 A significant difference between being self-employed as opposed to an employee is that the self-employed can chose when to stop work because of retirement.  In contrast stopping work because of infirmity or...
Written by Jane Elliot 19 July 05 The Commercial Agents Regulations address what happens when an agent dies, retires or is prevented from working due to illness or injury.  Yet whilst the Regulations deal briefly with each of these issues, they...