Commercial Agents Regulations Cannot Be Avoided By Choosing Non-EU Law and Arbitration

The case of Accentuate v
Asigra has demonstrated
an important point
concerning the
Commercial Agents
(Council Directive)
Regulations 1993.

In the case, the High Court determined that
it had authority to hear a claim for
compensation under the regulations even
though the claim in question stemmed from
an agreement which was subject to
Canadian law and arbitration.
The case of Ingmar v Eaton Leonard
technologies had already established that
the regulations could not be avoided simply
by the choice of a non-EU law.

In that case, the agent operated in the UK
on behalf of a California-based principle,
and California law had been used to govern
the contract. The European Court of Justice,
however, found that the mandatory
provisions of EU law put in place by the
regulations could not be evaded “by the
simple expedient of a choice-of-law
clause”.
In the case against Accentuate, the High
Court determined that the previous ruling
meant that it had to give effect to the
regulations, even if both parties had
contractually agreed to use a different
system. The Court found that this must
apply equally to an arbitration clause as it
had to the choice of law clause in the prior
case.
Where the regulations are found to apply,
the agent concerned gains important
benefits, such as the right to a potentially
substantial payment when the agency is
terminated.

Generally, these benefits can not be avoided
by an agreement between the agent and the
principal. This new judgement means that
they also cannot be evaded by a choice of
non-EU law and arbitration.

Ashby Cohen Solicitors Ltd
18 Hanover Street London W1S 1YN
Tel: 0207 408 1338
Fax: 0207 491 0414
Email: info@ashbycohen.co.uk
www.ashbycohen.co.uk

Disclaimer: This column does not contain legal advice and is for general
guidance only. Agentbase, Ashby Cohen and the writer accept no
liability in connection with the general guidance given in this column.

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