Commercial agency
Commercial agency

The following Commercial guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commercial agency
  • Background
  • Application
  • Definition of commercial agent
  • Secondary activities
  • Practical steps

Brexit: As of exit day (11pm on 31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources and Brexit toolkit.

This Practice Note considers the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (the Commercial Agents Regulations), SI 1993/3053 which implement the Council Directive 86/653/EEC. It covers the definition of a commercial agent, the distinction between primary and secondary activities of a commercial agent, the scope and application of the Commercial Agents Regulations and the impact of the Commercial Agents Regulations upon the agency contracts and relationships to which they are applicable.


The Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993, SI 1993/3053 (the Commercial Agents Regulations) came into force on 1 January 1994. They implemented Council Directive 86/653/EEC on the coordination of the laws of member states relating to self-employed commercial agents (the Commercial Agents Directive).

The Commercial Agents Regulations impose various terms on the relationship between principal and commercial agent, many of which the parties may not exclude by contract. In particular, they normally entitle the agent to a payment on termination of the agency arrangement. For