Is it better for principals not to have a written agency agreement with their agents?

Given that the Commercial Agents Regulations are drafted heavily in favour of agents, it is better for principals to put in place a written contract governing the terms of the agency. This is in order that the contract can, so far as the Regulations permit it, limit the rights and protections given to agents by the Regulations.

In addition, the principal can use the contract to enhance the obligations owed by the agent under the Regulations and as a matter of English common law. (In this context, it is worth noting that the Regulations place only five duties on an agent.) Setting out in the contract the obligations on an agent is a way of ensuring that the principal is better able to monitor the agent’s performance.