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

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 further information, see Practice Notes:

  1. Relationship of commercial agent and principal

  2. Termination of commercial agency


The Commercial Agents Regulations apply only to the relationship between the principal and the commercial agent. They do not apply to the agent’s external authority or to relationships with third parties under transactions the agent negotiates or concludes.

The common law on agency continues to apply where not