Restrictive covenants

Court refuses to re-write non-compete covenant

A court should not rewrite a restrictive covenant which has been poorly drafted to bring it in line with commonsense. Just because something had ‘gone wrong’ with its drafting, a court should not recast the chosen language of the restriction to give effect to what is said to have been the likely commercial intention.
Prophet plc v Huggett
 

Undertakings and injunctions to enforce covenants

The High Court refused to grant an injunction against two employees who had given undertakings to observe restrictive covenants in their contracts which they subsequently argued were not enforceable as they were a restraint of trade.
Capgemini India Private Ltd v Krishnan
 

Ex-employees ordered to hand over computers for inspection

When documents came to light suggesting that two of its ex-employees might have misused confidential information, an employer successfully got a High Court order enabling it to inspect and take images from computers belonging to those staff.
Warm Zones v Thurley
 

Client connections were protectable

Restrictive covenants in a recruitment consultant’s contract were enforceable, despite the fact that much of the information covered by the covenants was publicly available on the internet and social media, because the employer had a legitimate proprietary interest in the connections the consultant was likely to make.
East England Schools CIC (t/a 4MySchools) v Palmer
 

Non-solicitation covenant valid despite wide scope

The Court of Appeal has upheld the validity of a post-termination restrictive covenant which prevented a director from soliciting anyone who was a customer or client at any point during his employment.
Coppage v Safety Net Security Ltd
 

Restrictive covenants, promotion and enforceability

The reasonableness of a restrictive covenant must be judged at the time it was entered into and not at the time when the employer sought to enforce it. An invalid restrictive covenant cannot be turned into a valid one by a subsequent change of circumstances, such as a promotion. 
PAT Systems Holding Ltd v Neilly
 
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