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Automotive lawyers who help you thrive

As automotive law experts, our lawyers know what issues you face and what sort of advice you need. We want to help you identify solutions to the number of challenges facing the sector at the moment. You need robust, cost-effective advice that’s helpful and pragmatic for your business.

We’re on hand to make your ambitions in the automotive industry a reality. With extensive experience with some of the world’s leading brands, we can support large-scale, business-critical projects through to multi-jurisdictional data protection and privacy issues.

We’ll navigate you through what you need to know, from expanding commercial opportunities to enhancing your current strategy; we advise on the commercial implications at each stage of product life cycle. Our longstanding and valued relationships with international original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and tier 1 suppliers enable us to manage negotiations efficiently.

Our clients

We act for a stellar list of major OEMs, including Aston Martin, Lotus, Triumph, Toyota, and LEVC. Our experience reaches throughout the industry, from autonomous technology, EV charging, distribution networks, and advising top tier suppliers such as Goodyear Dunlop and Euro Car Parts.

Training and events


Automotive webinar - EV charging points: contractual and liability issues to be aware of ON24 Webinar

This webinar will look at some practical contractual and liability issues involved in installing, owning, operating, and maintaining electric vehicle charge points.

View event

What we do...

  • Commercial Our market-leading commercial practice understands what your in-house legal team requires. We negotiate, draft and organise complex agreements. Our extensive experience advising on automotive contracts across different jurisdictions includes direct supply and purchase agreements, indirect purchasing for software, goods and services; and dealer, distributor and repairer agreements, often involving worldwide dealer networks.
  • Corporate Our top 20 corporate team is one of the largest in the UK; with a global reach supported by Pangea Net, our network of leading law firms. We advise national and international corporate clients in the automotive industry – from large corporate manufacturers to supply chain corporates.

    Our lawyers are known for their extensive experience in domestic and international M&A transactions, private equity work, corporate governance advice, reorganisations, and changes to capital structure. We advise on emerging automotive tech, Greentech, and energy, in addition to business-critical transactions that future-proof your business and will withstand the scrutiny of any subsequent audit or sale. Our dedicated company secretarial team can also take care of your day-to-day needs.
  • Data protection Specialist advice is crucial to ensure you comply with data protection legislation. From data involved in managing customers and employees to privacy issues with products, apps, advertising, and marketing, we help you meet your legal obligations and minimise the exposure of your business to financial penalties.

    We advise on the risks associated with proposed data-sharing relationships with third parties and how to mitigate these risks through robust diligence and written contracts. We can also help you implement an efficient subject access request response, avoiding any drain on resources.
  • Dispute resolution We provide results-driven support with a proven track record of resolving disputes robustly and speedily. Specialising in managing commercial contract and trading disputes for major domestic and international corporations, we have a wealth of experience in litigation, arbitration, mediation, and expert determination.

    We’ve helped OEMs, tier 1 suppliers, and other automotive clients resolve disputes with suppliers, dealers, distributors, repairers and other commercial partners, particularly those involving marketing, production lines, and consumers. We provide training on the cost-effective management of disputes and specific issues, including privilege and contract formation.
  • Employment We deal with all aspects of employment and immigration law for automotive clients. Many of our cases have involved removing senior executives, sensitive disciplinary matters, issues relating to agency workers, and immigration advice. We’ve provided COVID-19 strategy advice, assisting with the government’s Job Retention Scheme and issues around the return to the workplace.

    You’ll have access to pragmatic solutions delivered by our lawyers and HR consultants. From ad hoc queries to complex discrimination and whistleblowing complaints, we act as an extension of your team. We advise clients at all levels of proceedings, right up to the European Court of Justice. Read more about our employment expertise.
  • Intellectual property Our experienced IP practice helps to protect, enforce and commercialise automotive clients’ trade marks and manage their portfolios. We’ve acted on many of the UK’s leading cases, shaping automotive trade mark law in the UK and Europe. We achieve savings and efficiencies and have an excellent track record in high-stakes disputes.

    We also draft and negotiate the full range of IP focused commercial agreements. Everything from R&D agreements for projects for developing new models of electric cars toadvertising campaigns. We advise on influencer, advertising and licensing agreements; innovative capture and patent advice; IP audits; litigation; and counterfeit protection. Read more about our IP practice.
  • Regulatory We provide tailored guidance on government regulations facing the automotive industry. We advise on various issues, including health and safety, environmental, product compliance and safety, and fire safety relevant to automotive businesses – including REACH and WEE Regulations. Our automotive lawyers deliver training on a range of risks including how to manage a dawn raid; what to do if an inspector from a range of regulators visits any of your sites unannounced; contracts that protect the business from a regulatory perspective; how to investigate an incident or near miss; and bribery and corruption.

    The team supports businesses in a crisis, providing an immediate on-site response in the event of an accident or incident. We enable businesses to continue as usual, with limited impact on production demands. Our lawyers can advise on or undertake a thorough and privileged internal incident investigation to put the business in the best possible position to deal with an inevitable regulatory investigation. We guide automotive clients through fatal accident inquiries and Health and Safety Executive investigations.
  • Competition law We advise automotive clients on all aspects of competition law.

    The team provides user-friendly and practical advice to clients in the automotive sector. We advise on dealer and repairer models and strategies, bonus programmes and warranty conditions. We implement compliance programmes to manage ongoing risk and advise clients handling investigations by the UK and EU competition authorities (including leniency/immunity applications and appeals to the Competition Appeal Tribunal). We also advise on applying multi-jurisdiction merger control rules to corporate acquisitions and dawn raid procedures and response.
  • Subsidy control Public sector expertise means we provide market-leading state aid advice in relation to major projects and investments. We advise on state aid funding for major engineering and manufacturing companies, including automotive OEMs and publicly funded research projects and joint ventures. Our experience advising both industry and funders means we are well placed, not just as lawyers but as business advisers, to help you maximise your prospects in funding applications.
  • Value-added services – Our in house lawyers service can help you overcome the challenges you face when determining how best to resource significant volumes of legal work. Our tailored retainer arrangement delivers fixed price certainty and a dedicated team that knows you and your business, while providing flexibility.

    We provide online training and resources to keep you updated, including bespoke training on areas that have a direct impact on your business. We provide legal updates and bulletins to keep you abreast of changes to the law that affect the automotive industry. Our helpline can also help you avoid problems further down the line by answering ad hoc queries as they arise. We deliver our wide-ranging seminars and webinars as an ongoing programme of events. We rely on your feedback to continually ensure we’re providing the best service.

We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help you. Please get in touch with either Paul Kirkpatrick or Giles Parsons if you have any queries or would like any legal support.

What the directories say...

A market-leading powerhouse for commercial work.

Legal 500 2020

Browne Jacobson is the regional leader; it is the pre-eminent firm for dispute resolution.

Legal 500 2020

Very good – they give you the facts and advice without being pushy like they’re trying too hard to convince you. They give a very balanced view.

Chambers 2020

As comfortable acting on behalf of top luxury brands as it is for fast-moving consumer goods owners, Midlands-based Browne Jacobson has a truly elite trademark offering on both sides of the contentious divide.

World Trademark Review 2018

Recent experience

  • Our team is embedded in this sector, with many of us having worked on long-term secondments and retainers for the likes of Aston Martin, Lotus, Triumph and Onto. We understand how automotive companies operate on a day-to-day basis, standard operating procedures and safety processes, industry terminology, and key customer/supplier relationships.

    We have extensive experience advising world-leading automotive brands including:

  • Independent luxury car group - we regularly advise on commercial projects, property matters and disputes. We have advised on a large, -critical project involving complex legal advice across various specialist areas, including commercial, IP, property, construction, insolvency, corporate, banking, and employment law.

  • UK’s largest automotive parts distribution network – we provided a suite of data sharing and processing agreements with suppliers and garages to cover the sharing of personal data. This involved advising on international transfers of personal data outside the UK and EEA.

  • International tyre retailer - we have assisted this automotive supplier with their IP portfolio for ten years, running a very successful parallel importation programme, dramatically decreasing grey imports into the UK and the European markets. This led to a noticeable upturn in business and greater profitability.

  • Large UK car manufacturer - we were involved in an inquest following the suicide of a longstanding employee. The employee had been informed that he was being investigated for health and safety failings. We provided a robust defence of our client and how it handled the welfare of an employee in connection with the HR investigation. We represented the client’s interests at the two-day inquest, avoiding any public criticism of the client in its management of employee welfare issues.

  • British Automotive company - our lawyers act as an extension of their in-house team. We work on a vast range of issues, including parts supply for a new hypercar; its IP portfolio management; research, development, and licensing agreements; software supply; and other direct and indirect purchasing elements.

    Our sector expertise has helped the client achieve ambitious growth, and we’ve had great feedback. We’ve:

    • Advised on IR35 issues with contractors and employment terms of agreements to minimise risk and issues relating to COVID-Secure workplace planning.
    • Managed several data protection matters relating to GDPR compliance, including the use of intranet cookies, international data transfers, and appointment of third-party processors.
    • Advised on personal data processing and pseudonymisation techniques as part of those projects.
    • Preparation for Brexit in respect of data protection and the General Block Exemption Regulation.
    • Acted on dispute concerning the removal of assets from its site and energy storage. The matter involved working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to reach a resolution with the other commercial party.

  • Commercial electric vehicle manufacturer - we’ve worked together for several years, notably on a case that is now one of the UK’s leading decisions on shape marks. We also advised on its collaboration with industry and academic partners to develop zero-emissions hybrid powertrain technology. This meant reviewing the proposed collaboration agreement, advising on various issues, including the contribution and use of background IP and the ownership and exploitation of resulting IP. On day-to-day HR matters, we provide training and deal with Employment Tribunal cases. We’ve implemented a brand protection programme and successfully assisted with an Advertising Standards Authority complaint. We also brought a damages claim against the party responsible for designing the steering envelope for an iconic introduced in 2017. The case related to various design defects in the suspension and steering system for the vehicle and involved consideration of complex CAD data to pinpoint the cause of the defect.

  • An electric car subscription service - We advised on processing telematics data and dashcam footage; the steps that it needed to take to ensure it was able to comply with the GDPR in respect of the introduction of new processing activities; determining the legal basis for processing, drafting appropriate notices for drivers; and the retention and sharing of all of the above data.

  • Regional manufacturing business - we advised a regional manufacturing business on the terms of a product endorsement arrangement with a chart-topping singer-songwriter. Under this the parties would collaborate to design, develop and manufacture a bespoke product range representing the artist’s look, style and personality. We also advise this client on several other IP matters, including brand protection, trade mark portfolio management and licensing terms.

  • Spare Parts Supplier - we act for a leading supplier of spare parts. They identified a safety-critical issue with a component, and we assisted with an international product recall across 80 countries, resolving the matter quickly and simply.

  • Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer – we advise on all aspects of health and safety compliance, representing our client at inquests.

  • UK motorcycle manufacturer - we advised on the termination of dealer agreements.

  • Vehicle component manufacturer - we successfully advised this automotive company in the Court of Appeal. The client is a component manufacturer supplying to Nissan, Honda and BMW. The HSE investigated them following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in their manufacturing facility, which affected their workforce and local residents. Within 48 hours of the outbreak, we were instructed and worked with the client and the HSE to continue to operate the facility, despite the HSE’s Prohibition Notice.

    During the HSE investigation, the facility also suffered another reportable incident following a dust cloud explosion in a Flocker machine that caused burns to an employee. The HSE took the unusual decision to investigate the two separate incidents together. The result was a five-day sentencing hearing before the Crown Court and an appeal against the level of sentence imposed in that court to the Court of Appeal. We successfully persuaded the Court of Appeal to reduce the penalty by £420,000.

Training and events


Automotive webinar - EV charging points: contractual and liability issues to be aware of ON24 Webinar

This webinar will look at some practical contractual and liability issues involved in installing, owning, operating, and maintaining electric vehicle charge points.

View event

Focus on...

Published articles

The problematic transition to electric vehicles - what is the impact on manufacturing?

It was reported in May 2022 that the BMW-owned manufacturer had been forced to put a temporary stop on the production of all manual transmission vehicles due to the global semi-conductor shortage and the war in Ukraine. Mini stated that the move was made in order to "ensure production stability".


Published articles

Rolls Royce SMR ambitions will bring Hinkley like benefits to regions

Rolls-Royce has shortlisted six locations for its first factory for small nuclear power stations. We look at the impact on regions & local businesses


Automotive webinar - Grant Funding and Collaboration Agreements

In this session, we examined the legal framework around grant funded collaborations and discussed the key risks to be aware of, including IP ownership and compliance with grant terms.


Published articles

Hydrogen villages

First Hydrogen has identified 4 sites in the UK where it plans to locate large hydrogen refuelling stations for commercial vehicles. The sites will also accommodate on-site hydrogen production of between 20 and 40 MW (totalling 80 MW - 160 MW across all 4 locations) and will serve the urban areas of Greater Liverpool, Greater Manchester, London and the Thames Estuary. The plans form part of the Energy division’s strategy to develop green hydrogen production projects, initially in the UK and Canada.