n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The Franchise Relationship under South African Law, Tanya Woker : book review

Volume 2013, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



In South Africa many things appear fairly peculiar to a visitor and outsider. In South African law, representing a "mixed jurisdiction" composed of a multitude of elements mainly from Anglo-Saxon or American common law and from continental European civil law systems like, first of all, Roman-Dutch law, many features appear fairly strange to a foreign lawyer. In the South African law of franchise, distribution of goods and services, ie the bilateral contractual relationships between the franchisor (the head of the distribution system) and the individual franchisees (running their franchised outlets and constituting in their entirety a franchise system or chain), the impression of oddity, strangeness and peculiarity is downright overwhelming, and this for reasons. , the franchise relationship, which is otherwise almost across the world considered to be a purely and genuinely commercial relationship between professional players in the market, forms, in South African law, a part of its consumer protection law. , the South African franchise law is exclusively common law-oriented, with a special focus on the American and British franchise law, and does not take any notice at all of the enormous regulatory achievements in the supranational European Union law. It also does not engage with the vast experiences, statutes, provisions, judgments, virtually thousands of books and articles and the impressive scholarly contributions in the continental European member states, which by far surpass the Anglo-American franchise law. , despite the immense economic and social importance which the franchise method of distribution of goods and services has gained in South Africa in the recent two decades, the South African franchise law does not seem to have developed an appropriate doctrinal maturity, jurisprudential systematization and conceptional sophistication. This is at least the overall impression which the most respectable book by Woker - apparently the very first general and elaborate South African treatise on the subject - leaves upon a reader knowledgeable of what is going on in the franchise law of other parts of the world, notably in civil law jurisdictions of continental Europe, where, by the way, the origins of (in French) "franchisage" as a distribution method can be traced back to entrepreneurial marketing innovations in France of the early twentieth century.

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