The British Franchise Association has issued a statement to its members, which broadly states it is “business as usual” for franchising. The leading franchise banks confirmed at the recent bfa annual conference that there would be no change to lending in the sector and likewise, amongst the many franchise lawyers present, the consensus was that there would be no immediate legal contractual consequences for franchisors as concerns their franchise agreements.
Once England leaves the EU, which could take as much as 2 years, this situation may change as there are various laws that will have become English law by virtue of it being part of the EU that the English government may wish to change. Recent legal changes that have had an impact on the industry, which have in some part derived from EU directives, include consumer laws (see articles: http://www.fraserbrown.com/article/are-you-ready-for-black-friday-fiona-boswell-fraser-brown and http://www.fraserbrown.com/article/a-fresh-approach-to-resolving-customer-disputes) and most recently the new Data Protection laws (see articles: http://www.fraserbrown.com/article/serious-about-data-protection and http://www.thebfa.org/news/bfa-news/the-business-of-data) and new Trade Secrets Directive (http://www.fraserbrown.com/article/shhh--the-new-trade-secrets-directive). To opt out of these laws it will require the government to pass legislation that removes these changes from statute – a process which equally is likely to take some time.
Franchising as an industry has proved to have been able to weather the storm of darker times, such as the recent recession – accordingly, in what are likely to be turbulent times initially due to the fallout of Brexit, the message from the BFA is very much to “carry on and stay confident”.