Similar disputes between 2 or more franchisees and one franchisor

Two or more franchisees who have similar disputes under their franchise agreements with the same franchisor,  may agree to resolve their disputes in the same way. The Code permits the franchisees to discuss their disputes with each other, despite any confidentiality requirements provided in their franchise agreements.

The Code provides (cl 40B) that franchisees may refer the disputes to a single ADR practitioner for a single ADR process for all of their disputes to be dealt with together. Even though there is a single ADR process dealing with all of them, each of the disputes needs to be treated as, and remain separate.

The ADR practitioner may conduct the ADR process despite the franchisor disagreeing that there should be a single ADR process for all the disputes; nor agreeing to the appointment of the ADR practitioner.

If the ADR practitioner conducts the ADR process despite the franchisor’s disagreement, the franchisor is required to attend the ADR process and try to resolve the dispute (see subclauses 41A(3) and (5)).