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Franchising law

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

The modern high street is now full of franchises – from the coffee we drink to the cars we hire and from dry cleaning to supermarkets. Franchising is little more than a contract between a franchisee and a franchisor. The contract can be complex, at its core is the granting of a licence to use the franchisor’s intellectual property. Additionally, the franchising relationship is increasingly regulated – from the initial offer of the franchise to the franchisee, to the competition issues that might arise where a franchise becomes dominant in a particular market. In franchising law you will study how and why the rules governing franchise agreements work. The course primarily looks at the law ofEngland and Wales, the United Kingdom and the European Union, although it also looks to laws in other countries as these might be relevant when franchises expand.

Module A: The business of franchising


  • A history of franchising
  • Types of franchising
  • The franchise model
  • Lack of research literature
  • How a franchise is established
  • Becoming a franchisee

Module B: Intellectual property and franchising


  • Trade marks and franchising: Part I
  • Trade marks and franchising: Part II
  • Breach of confidence
  • Passing off
  • Copyright

Module C: The franchising contract


  • Regulations of franchising through contract
  • Structure of the franchising contract
  • The grant
  • Brand maintenance
  • The ‘method’ of the franchise
  • Law of competition

Module D: The regulation of franchising


  • What is a franchise?
  • The purpose of regulation
  • Registration requirements
  • Disclosure requirements and cooling off
  • Regulation of franchising contracts
  • Franchise fraud: pyramid selling
  • Renewal and exit rules


Each module is assessed by a 45-minute unseen written exam.


It is strongly recommended that you attempt Module A first.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.