Agency agreements: The expiration term of one year for goodwill compensation claim is applicable to independent agency agreements even if other agreements between the same parties exist.

The Provincial Court of Pontevedra (judgement of May 22 2017; rec 213/2016) analysed several contracts between Dismaca, SA (agent) and Repsol Butano, SA (principal). Although the agent alleged that it was a mixed contract and not an agency one, the Tribunal concluded that there was an agency contract independent of others that might exist between the parties.

The discussion was due to the expiration of the one-year limitation period to claim compensation for clients established by the Agency Law. The Agent waived this period and asked the application of the general one set in Article 1964 of the Civil Code due to the alleged mixed and atypical nature of the contract.

The Court rejected this claim because of its contradiction with the approach of the claim that spoke of agency contract, and by the exercise of the action of goodwill (clientele) compensation based on the regime of the Agency Law.

The independence of the contracts is, in the Court’s view, contradictory with a hypothetical single mixed contract. Nor does it accept the qualification as an atypical contract, given the express reference to a special Law that regulates the agency contract. The Court insists that it was the agent who claimed based on an agency contract, only with subsequent rectifications to avoid the application of the expiration term.

Ignacio Alonso

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