On 16 November 2023 Mr. David Mohyuddin K.C. (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) handed down his judgment in The Burke Partnership (a firm) v. The Body Shop International Limited.
The case concerned a franchisee’s claim for declarations that notices served by the Body Shop in 2020 and 2021 purporting to terminate the agreements governing the Body Shop franchises in Norwich and Cambridge were unlawful and of no effect.
The agreements had been signed in 1981 and 1982 and, though they were each for a 5-year term, they included a franchisee’s right to renew the term for a further 5 years, on the same terms, including, the franchisee argued, a further right to renew. The agreements had in fact been renewed every 5 years since 1981/82 and the franchisee maintained that the Body Shop had no right to terminate the agreements on notice for convenience and resisted the Body Shop’s contention that terms should be implied into the agreements entitling the Body Shop to do so.
The Judgment contains a helpful re-statement of the correct approach to the construction of contracts and the implication of terms as separate exercises and, in addition, the approach to the implication of terms concerning termination where the contract is for a fixed term, rather than expressed to endure for an unlimited time.
Simon McLoughlin acted for the successful claimant, instructed by Mike Barlow and Chris Goodwin at Leathes Prior Solicitors.