Directors and representatives from franchise associations across Europe gathered in Prague last month to consider Britain’s developments in ethical rules for franchising and how to apply them more widely.

The meeting, which was hosted by the Chairman and Director of the franchise association of the Czech Republic, included representatives from associations as far afield as Slovenia, Ukraine, Finland, Turkey, France, Germany, Italy and Holland.

At the event Brian Smart, Director General of the British Franchise Association (bfa), introduced the bfa’s rules on refunding pre-contractual deposits, on the rights of franchise owners to sell their businesses as going concerns, on the disclosure of purchase incentives by franchisors and on the charges for renewing franchise agreements. Smart is also a member of the European Franchise Federation’s (EFF) Executive Board.

Carol Chopra, Director of the EFF, said: “The European Code of Ethics for Franchising is the central pillar of our work promoting and protecting franchising in front of the European Commission. It is essential that we explore developments in ethical conduct and keep our Code at the leading edge. Britain and France have done more than most in this area and their willingness to share their experiences is very valuable to us all.”

Chantal Zimmer, the Director of the French Federation, introduced her Association’s work getting agreement between franchisors and franchise owners on a Code of Conduct for both sides in the event of a franchised network being sold to a new owner. Brian Smart said: “The time at which a network sale is being negotiated, concluded and implemented is critical and the rights and obligations of both franchisor and franchise owner in these circumstances must be clear and clearly understood. The French success in gaining agreement on a code is an important development which we will need to study in Britain to see how it might be adapted to our circumstances.”

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