With sector specialisms in education, food and beverage, and retail, the 'excellent' team at Bird & Bird LLP is notably skilled at developing hybrid strategies to support the global expansion of leading brands. The team has continued to uphold its strong track-record in the market following former practice head Mark Abell's departure, with new head Graeme Payne drawing on his experience working with consumer-focused businesses to advise on the integration and management of multi-channel growth strategies. Franchising disputes specialist Victoria Hobbs regularly works with clients on pre-contractual disclosure documents, and advises on termination rights and clients' protection of trade secrets. Associate Nick Green is also recommended for his advice to clients on manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics arrangements, as well as software licensing and the supply of products and services.
Franchising in London
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Hobbs; James Fowler; Nick Green; Shelley Nadler
‘The team is extremely experienced and very practical in their approach, listening clearly to their client’s instructions, giving sound advice and not over complicating the process.’
‘Graeme Payne is an excellent lawyer, articulate with a common sense approach.’
‘The franchising team at Bird & Bird are excellent – the depth of their knowledge and expertise, combined with a practical commercial approach, makes them unique.’
‘We particularly work with Victoria Hobbs – her knowledge of franchising is superb, but in addition she has taken the time to understand our sector. She always responds quickly, with concise legal opinion but at the same time balances the commercial practicalities.
‘We work with Shelley Nadler – her knowledge of franchising and franchise agreements is superb, together with her knowledge and experience of our sector and her attention to detail.’
‘They’re open, honest and transparent with what needs to be done and how best to do it.’
Franchise Brands (ChipsAway, Ovenclean, Metro Rod, Barking Mad)
- Advised IWG plc (formerly Regus plc) on their international franchising and licensing arrangements for many years, helping the business build and develop a comprehensive franchise offering across its multiple brands.
- Advising Mothercare on the global supply chain and franchise arrangements, including negotiating franchise arrangements with key franchise partners in the Middle East, Russia, India and Asia-Pacific.
- Advising AMT Coffee on a franchise partnership with Change Please charity, which would see the conversion of AMT Coffee outlets into Change Please franchise outlets.
The leading franchising practice at Fieldfisher provides strategic advice to major domestic and global franchise networks across the retail, leisure, education, and food and beverage sectors. The team is jointly led by David Bond and Gordon Drakes; Bond leads on numerous high-profile matters and advises governmental bodies on quasi-franchise business models, while Drakes regularly advises clients on best practices for growing their businesses through the use of third party relationships. Andrew Dodd handles franchise disputes, acting for franchisors, large corporates, and groups of franchisees. Vicky Reinhardt is dual qualified in Germany with a particular focus on the hotel and leisure sectors, and associate Rachel Bowley is also recommended for her work on various UK and international deals.
David Bond; Gordon Drakes
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Dodd; Vicky Reinhardt; Rachel Bowley
‘I have worked with this team for many years – in my view they are still the leading franchise practice in London.’
‘David Bond – senior, knowledgeable, commercial and a superb operator.’
‘Gordon Drakes is a very talented lawyer.’
‘Fieldfisher had created our entire franchise agreement and all the related documents such as the adoption agreement, nondisclosure, etc. Gordon and his team are very professional and supportive, as we are new in the field and have little experience in legal procedure and contracts, they answered our questions in-depth patiently. It is something certainly very appreciated. The team is also very responsive and organized. You can always find the key person for your questions.’
‘Gordon Drakes has not only a profound knowledge of franchise law, but he is also willing to share and teach our team. It’s not easy to work with someone who has no legal background like me. Gordon supported us through the whole contract negotiation process and provided to-the-point answers, arguments, and negotiations to the counterpart. He never hesitates to support us and give us quick feedback and suggestion.’
‘Fieldfisher LLP has shown excellent legal competence and has shown a truly innovative approach to creating bespoke legal agreements.’
‘Fieldfisher offers a highly personal service and their key lawyers are always contactable by phone or email and respond to queries promptly and with great expertise.’
‘David Bond is highly knowledgeable in the field of international education overseas franchising and offers great expertise in guiding and supporting through contractual stages.’
St Paul’s Girls’ School
CoCo Fresh Juice & Tea
Burger & Lobster
- Advised Starboard Delivery Limited on its acquisition of 27 Pizza Hut Delivery and Takeaway stores from Yum! and negotiation of Regional Development Agreement and International Franchise Agreement.
- Advised Taiwanese company, Lumania, with the European franchise expansion of its global bubble tea brand, CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice.
- Advising Brighton College on its continuing international expansion.
Specialist firm Hamilton Pratt‘s ‘superb’ franchising practice represents a number of well-known British Franchise Association members in the healthcare, fast food, and technology sectors. Hugely experienced practice head John Pratt is notable for his extensive expertise in the full range of franchising agreements, competition law issues in the EU and UK, and international franchising. Nick Seddon co-heads the practice as a corporate lawyer helping the firm build up its capabilities handling corporate transactions relating to the franchise sector, while James Barrett jointly leads the team with a focus on franchise dispute resolution working both nationally and internationally. Associate Arslaan Mahmood has experience assisting franchisors and franchisees with sales and purchases, preparing documents for agreement renewals or change of terms, and preparing applications to register or renew trademarks. Key partner Barbara Lock is also recommended.
John Pratt; Nick Seddon; James Barrett
Other key lawyers:
Barbara Lock; Arslaan Mahmood
‘Superb in all areas of franchise litigation and legal matters which relate to franchising.’
‘John Pratt is the most knowledgeable and consistent franchise lawyer in the UK, by a wide margin.’
‘There is a really strong leadership team in place and all the colleagues in the practice are professional and helpful. They are a diverse team and the firm has an ability to spot and hire rising stars. They all support one another so if one goes on holiday there is the support that means the work continues.’
‘James Barrett is always a great at assisting and advising us in the trickier moments, thankfully they don’t occur that often but he has guided us well.’
‘John Pratt’s expertise is second to none and is great for helping guide us through more strategic thinking.’
Belvoir Group (including Newton Fallowell, Northwood, Lovelle, Nicholas Humphreys)
Banana Moon Day Nursery
Chestertons Overseas Ltd
Fix Auto Canada
- Acting as UK counsel on this acquisition by Honor Technologies of Home Instead Inc and Home Instead Limited.
- Preparing new contractual documentation for use in Boots Optical franchising business.
- Advising Opso Limited concerning its international expansion in the Middle East.
Owen White's franchising team advises businesses across the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters, representing franchisors, franchisee associations, and multi-unit franchisees. The practice's broad client base includes quick service restaurants, theatre arts companies, and fitness club groups. Practice head Jane Masih draws on over three decades of experience to advise franchisors on franchise and master license agreements, as well as business re-sales. 'Highly experienced practitioner' Russell Ford handles complex and often high-profile disputes, specialising in securing court orders and undertakings to enforce restrictive covenants. Associate director Lynsey Smith is also recommended for her litigation expertise.
Other key lawyers:
Russell Ford; Lynsey Smith
‘Very high level of specialist knowledge in franchising. Very flexible in approach to working with client team which suits our small business.’
‘Excellent firm and good specialist expertise of franchising disputes.’
‘Russell Ford stands out as a highly experienced practitioner; he is a technical expert but also able to help his clients take a commercial approach to their mediation disputes.’
‘Whether its for non-contentious or contentious, Owen White is second to none for legal knowledge, a strategic and commercial approach and a genuine passion finding creative solutions to their clients’ problems. Their down to earth, businesslike manner and client focused adaptability make them the answer for any business or individual. They are a class act for reasonable fees.’
‘Russell Ford is, as they say, simply the best and a joy to work with. No one has sharper tactical instincts. A fearless litigator you want on your side. Jane Masih – any business that benefits from her insights will be improved by them. Lynsey Smith is an excellent lawyer, with a cool calm head and an absolute future star.’
‘Lynsey Smith has become a highly capable franchising specialist with exceptional client management and consequently client retention. Her attention to detail is excellent and her practical insight most valuable.’
‘They are, without question, the market leaders in this area nationally. No other firm comes close to having their reputation or their expertise.’
‘They are fully engaged in the sector and current affairs, attending and supporting many industry and networking events. All communication is tailored to the individual. In my opinion Owen White are at the top of my list to recommend to other franchises and franchisees.’
Bluebird Care Franchises Limited
Costa Franchise Association
Turo Venture Limited (t/a Speedyfreight)
Energie Fitness Clubs
KFC Franchise Association
Molly Maid UK Limited
Darren Taylor Holdings
- Represented Dwyer (UK) Franchising Limited t/a Drain Doctor in High Court proceedings, including successful resisting a misrepresentation claim.
- Updated the Bluebird Care franchise agreement and helped the client in the transition of the network of franchisees in Ireland from operating under a master licence to a franchisor wholly owned subsidiary in Ireland.
- Advised the KFC Franchise Association on proposed amendments to the KFC franchise agreement and negotiated concessions with KFC.
Stevens & Bolton LLP
With a commitment to promoting ethical franchising, Stevens & Bolton LLP takes a holistic business approach to help clients fulfil their strategic objectives. The practice advises a range of clients including franchisors, multi-unit operators, master franchisees, and franchisees; Nicola Broadhurst leads the team with a focus on international expansion through franchising, working with fashion and luxury brands as well as the casual dining sector. Tom Lingard regularly handles complex IP and litigation matters, advising on trademark infringement and brand strategy, while dispute resolution expert Catherine Penny supports the team on a range of commercial disputes.
Other key lawyers:
Catherine Penny; Sarah Murray; Andrew Steele; Helen Wheddon; Tom Lingard
‘Aside from the knowledgeable nature of the team, they make practical suggestions, not just legal suggestions. I have referred a number of clients to Nicola Broadhurst and always received extremely positive feedback about her expertise.’
‘Nicola Broadhurst is a superstar! She demonstrates her expertise regularly and has been most helpful in discussing local markets and legal issues impacting them.’
‘Nicola Broadhurst was recommended to me as a expert franchising solicitor with particular experience with children’s activity franchises. This has proved to be a great recommendation and Nicola has been knowledgeable, professional and expert whenever we have dealt with her.’
‘We value the experience and knowledge that Stevens& Bolton provides us for our franchise business. The team are responsive to our needs and are both professional and approachable at the same time. They provide an excellent service.’
‘Nicola Broadhurst provided excellent advice to us at the inception of our franchise business and continues to do so with its on-going development of it. She goes the extra mile to ensure she is available and really knows her stuff!’
Baby College Ltd
British Franchise Association
Burger Boi Ltd [The Restaurant Guys]
C. & J. Clark International Ltd (Clarks Shoes)
Citizen Kids Ltd
COOK Trading Ltd
Cookie Dough Franchise Ltd
Immersive Group Gaming Ltd (t/a Electric Gamebox)
Leightons Holdings Ltd
Mirko G Ltd
Monkey Music Ltd
Papa Johns GB Ltd & Papa John’s International LLC
Pepe’s Piri Piri Ltd
Pizza Hut Restaurants Ltd
Promedica24 UK Ltd
Razzamataz Theatre Schools Ltd
Vivo Energy Investments B.V.
- Advising Papa Johns GB on the exit of one of its largest franchisees with over 60 stores in the UK through a complex sale to Papa John’s South American franchised partner.
- Advising C. & J. Clark International Ltd (Clarks Shoes) on the revisions to the template UK franchise agreement and assisting in negotiations with the Clark’s Franchisee Association (CIFA) to ensure its adoption at renewal.
- Advising Paul UK Ltd on the set up of its UK franchise, preparing the template franchise agreement and a development agreement as the proposed expansion is through several multi-unit franchisees.
The 'highly experienced and dedicated team' at Ashtons Legal has particular expertise in assisting clients with expansion overseas as well as growing international brands in the UK. Damian Humphrey heads up the practice, working with leading businesses to set up and grow their franchise networks internationally. Barrister Tom Bailey is a specialist franchising litigator with significant experience with mediation and international arbitration. John Chambers supports the team as a consultant with a wealth of specialised experience in franchising.
Other key lawyers:
John Chambers; Tom Bailey; Tracy Williamson
‘Damian Humphrey and his team provide excellent pragmatic advice founded upon a real sense of commercial awareness, rather than confining themselves to strict legal parameters. In addition I am always impressed by how accessible they are and always take reassurance from knowing that they are only a call away.’
‘Ashtons has a wealth of expertise in many areas. In making two sizable franchise acquisitions, they made this expertise available in every area needed. Their collaboration internally was excellent and the availability of solicitors was needed and readily accessible. They were able to complete in a timely fashion and provided good advice along the way.’
‘Damian Humphrey has been exceptional to work with. He has been very attentive and knowledgeable and I have appreciated his advice. He communicated very well when he was going to be unavailable and made sure someone within the practice would be there to move things along in his absence.’
‘Straight talking, friendly and high quality.’
‘A highly experienced and dedicated team with a heavy focus on client care. They can draw upon strengths within their team, providing valuable expert advice to the franchise industry.’
‘Tracy Williamson is extremely patient, professional and knowledgeable in all aspects of the resale process. A very valuable business partner.’
‘Highly competent practitioners who all understand their relevant specialisms really well. Good collaboration between departments when more specialist advice has been needed.’
‘Throughout the team there is a consistent high quality and deep understanding of our business. It always feels like a very personal service no matter which area we are working with. In particular: Damian Humphrey, Tracy Williamson and Tom Bailey. They have all been fantastic to work with and delivered exceptional service across all their areas of expertise.’
Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries
Oscar Pet Foods
Pitman Training Group
Eggfree Cake Box Limited
Puma Energy International B.V.
Shell TapUp B.V.
- Acting for fitness company EasyGym on its granting of franchise rights into multiple countries throughout Europe.
- Advised client on acquisition of 17 Papa Johns outlets.
- Advised Snowflake Gelato on a development agreement with Qatar Airways entitling Qatar Airways to open Snowflake Gelato sites throughout Qatar.
Harper Macleod LLP's Scotland-based team advises clients on numerous corporate franchising transactions for global brands, with sector focuses in food and drink, home improvements, and property. Craig McKerracher has expertise acting for both franchisors and franchisees, while Peter McLuckie specialises in franchising and commercial contracts particularly within the tourism sector. Jill Fryer advises clients on strategic commercial issues and the associated provisions of franchise agreements, with additional expertise in competition law. David Kaye leads the team, now practicing as a consultant with extensive experience in retail franchising.
Other key lawyers:
Craig McKerracher; Peter McLuckie; Jill Fryer; Fiona Strang
Barrhead Travel Service
Energie Fitness ( Claymore )
Right at Home
German Doner Kebab
Rainbow Room International
Practical Car & Van Rental
Car Wash Company
Business Women in Scotland
- Advising Chicken Cottage Global Limited on a Retainer arrangement in the UK and overseas. Including dealing with Franchisee termination and releases; updating the Franchise Agreement and issuing it to both new and renewal Franchisees; dealing with issues with a Master Developer and Master Franchisee in the Middle East.
- Acting for Yogabellies, the Singaporean based franchise system which has recently pivoted its franchise into a licence model.
- Acting for Hero Brands, the owner of franchise brands such as “German Doner Kebab”, Salaid t/a “Chopaluna”, which completed a £1.5m investment into Hawaiian poke franchise business, Island Poke Limited.
Well-regarded for support on international transactions by significant multi-brand franchisees, the team at Mishcon de Reya LLP regularly advises well-known hotel groups, restaurants, and retailers on a range of franchising matters. Team lead Lewis Cohen heads up the firm's international franchising and brand extension group, advising clients on intercontinental franchising ventures. Managing associate Anne Rose advises on and drafts franchising agreements, with a particular focus on the retail and restaurant sectors. Associate Olivia Bowden is also recommended for her work on the termination and re-negotiation of franchise agreements.
Other key lawyers:
Anne Rose; Olivia Bowden
LW STA 2 Limited and Precis Capital Partners
- Advised Topland Neptune Limited on its substantial and complex arrangement with Hilton, for which Hilton was appointed as the hotel manager of Topland’s hotel.
- Advised Casamata LLC on its negotiations of a long-term restaurant concept creation, licence, management and consultancy agreement in respect of the brand’s new €200m Edition Hotel, Madrid.
- Advised London Wall Lending and Précis Capital Partners in relation to a £82m debt funding to Gulf Islamic Investments to develop the 2 Lucan Place, Chelsea.
With leading expertise in the leisure and hospitality sector, DLA Piper provides strategic franchising advisory services to large multinational businesses. Global co-chair of the hospitality and leisure practice Matthew Duncombe leads the team, regularly assisting national and international companies on a range of commercial issues. Senior associates David Booth and Sophie Conroy have experience handling complex supply, distribution and manufacturing agreements for franchising clients.
Other key lawyers:
David Booth; Sophie Conroy
Trinity Hospitality (a DFI / BCP Capital JV)
- Advising on the creation of a joint venture between Gap and Next in the UK, coupled with a franchise granted by Gap.
- Reviewing Dyson direct to market strategies, ranging from direct owned stores, to shop-in-shop, to franchised stores.
- Advising Bourne Leisure on multiple franchises across multiple sites operated under the Butlins brand.
Led by the ‘outstanding’ strategic franchising expert Pauline Cowie, the team at TLT is particularly strong in the retail, automotive, and leisure sectors – regularly advising on high-profile international franchising projects. Commercial lead Perran Jervis specialises in outsourcing, distribution, franchising, and supply agreements, while Bill Hull advises public sector clients on major international franchise expansion work. Miles Trower handles competition law issues with a focus on behavioural advice, UK & EU merger control, and compliance programmes.
Other key lawyers:
Perran Jervis; Bill Hull; Miles Trower
‘TLT is one of only a few solicitors in the UK that has a team which specialises in franchising. Members of that team, and in particular Pauline Cowie, have been involved in franchising for many years and have built a reputation for sound advice and great service. As a member of the BFA, they are always up to date with any changes or innovations. Highly recommended.’
‘Pauline Cowie is outstanding and has been involved in franchising for over 30 years. She is understanding, down to earth and always gives sound advice. Pauline is a long standing member of the BFA and I would highly recommend her to anyone who needs help with any legal aspects of franchising.’
‘The team is very big and approachable and has time for you even though we are a small company. Accessibility is a strength and approachability. Also, that they have an expert on different fields so you can stay internal within the same office and ask for communication between co-workers.’
‘Pauline Cowie is very knowledgeable and approachable and keeps oversight of what is needed.’
Archies Burgers & Shakes
Dignipets Partners Limited
J Sainsbury Plc
Purepay Retail – owner of Bonmarche, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home
- Advised laser skin clinics on the establishment of their franchise operations on a joint venture basis and expansion in Republic of Ireland. Also separately advised them on the grant of a master franchise in New Zealand.
- Advised a franchisee on the Area Development Agreement to open a number of Hard Rock Cafes in Italy with the first one being in Milan.
- Advised a well-known restaurant group client on the entering into of franchise and licence agreements in Qatar and Saudi Arabia for two of their brands including a Michelin starred restaurant as well as the registration of their trade marks.
Specialist commercial firm Boddy Matthews Limited handles franchising work for clients in the restaurant, domestic products, and children's entertainment sectors. Along with essential franchising advisory services, the team assists clients with contractual claims including innocent, negligent, and fraudulent misrepresentation and duty of care claims. Kate Matthews heads up the practice - she is an accredited mediator with a particular focus on advising both franchisors and franchisees on contentious franchising matters.
‘They are very helpful and always ready to assist! They can understand the details, advising timing of termination and even letter to send out to both customers and the defunct franchisee.’
‘Kate Matthews is very professional and firm in giving her advice and input – amazing!’
Little Kids Sports Club Limited and Raymond Lau trading as Little Kickers Hong Kong
Babyballet Franchising Limited
LK Woking Limited t/a Little Kickers Woking
Riverpoint Enterprises Limited t/a Cannell Signs
Gesibsumnes Ltd t/a Gymboree Play & Music
Brush Party UK Limited
Clare Fulthorpe and Emma Playle and Playsons LLP trading as Monkey Music Leatherhead
Blueprometheus Ltd t/a Countrywide Signs Limited and Paul Green as an Individual
Pepe’s Piri Piri Limited
- Acting for the international brand owner, Babyballet Ltd to secure additional contracts with other child activity brands to promote the Babyballet brand, expansion through franchising and adding licenses and expansion in Australia to increase the network reach during UK lockdowns.
- Acting for multi million pound company, Caremark Ltd, in securing its trading position for the Franchise network of over 100 franchisees in the UK and internationally in India and Malta in particular and advising on corporate matters.
- Advising Pepe’s Piri Piri Franchising Limited and the Pepe’s group including court proceeding post judgment and costs issues from franchise litigation.
South West firm Foot Anstey assists clients in delivering their franchising models in the UK and internationally, while supporting those businesses as they grow. Paul Cox heads up the practice with extensive experience in handling franchising disputes, advising and filing trade marks, and drafting franchise agreements. Cox is supported by associate John Shaw who assists clients with contentious and non-contentious matters relating to their franchise agreements and structures.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has continued to be highly responsive to all projects and requests. They fully understand the specific demands and protocols of franchising and therefore the advice and guidance provided has consistently proved to have been highly effective and reliable. Foot Anstey remains our preferred legal partner because the standard of service is first class.’
‘We deal with Paul Cox and John Shaw. Both are highly conscientious and diligent, offering qualified advice in a manner that is easy to understand and interpret. They convey their guidance without resorting to technically sophisticated phraseology – they pitch in a clear, concise, laymans style. Our clients particularly appreciate that aspect of their service.’
Franchise Focus Limited
Cath Kidston Limited
- Provided Franchise Focus with franchise agreements and deposit agreements for prospective franchisors.
- Advised Cath Kidston Limited, including with a secondment one day a week, to assist with general commercial and brand protection issues.
The 'very experienced and very capable' team at Simons Muirhead Burton offers franchising advice to publishing, education, luxury retail, fashion and jewellery brands as well as clients in the hospitality sector. The team acts for companies at all stages of their brand’s development, from early-stage companies to mature players expanding their already established operations. Practice head Maninder Gill has extensive expertise in developing franchises abroad, with a particular focus on the Middle East and Far East markets.
‘Maninder Gill is always at hand when I need legal advice. He was super helpful and always ready with knowledge in whatever case I need help with. He is easy to access and will always be on hand to help you out. Maninder Gill is professional, courteous and extremely knowledgeable in his field.’
‘Simons Muirhead Burton has very experienced and very capable senior lawyers, who are personally engaged with their clients.’
‘We have a fantastic relationship with Maninder Gill who has been providing us with outstanding support. He is exceptionally competent, flexible and supportive.’
‘We have always enjoyed a really strong working relationship with Simons Muirhead Burton. Billing is accurate and they always check in with us first before submitting their invoices. Their response and accessibility is second to none. They have a very good feel for our business and have finely tuned their advice based on this.’
‘Maninder Gill stands out. Maninder helped us steer a very difficult path last year. He provided us with cast iron legal confidence to make some difficult business decisions and guided us robustly every step of the way. Maninder has a real skill in being able to interpret a situation very quickly, understand the stakeholders and provide no nonsense/unfaltering advice. His availability and accessibility is excellent, often at very short notice. He has a strong consultative and collaborative approach to business.’
Riverford Organic Foods
ETM Restaurant and Bars Group – Apiary Restaurant
Concept Cupboards Limited
A Restaurant Group Based In Mayfair
The Six Pack Revolution Fitness Products
North London Collegiate School