Court of Appeal injunction protects our client from unfair competition

Putting this issue’s article on post termination restrictions into practice, the Moore Barlow Employment law team acted for an internet connectivity company which primarily caters for customers in the maritime sector and is a leading provider for high-speed internet on yachts. The case was heard in the Court of Appeal (CoA).

The case background 

Our client was in the process of a de-merger with various individuals in their company before these individuals abruptly left and allegedly began to poach their clients and compete with our client. This, despite the presence of non-compete restrictions in those individuals’ contracts.

The urgency of the situation meant that our client had to issue proceedings to protect their business. 

At first instance the High Court refused to order a speedy trial, refused to continue interim relief to enforce a non-compete restrictive covenant in a shareholders’ agreement and refused to grant springboard relief arising out of the alleged breaches of fiduciary duties owed by directors and former employees. The decision was promptly appealed by the Moore Barlow Employment Team.

Appealing to the Court of Appeal

Following a hearing, the Court of Appeal found that “In common with many, if not most cases, to enforce covenants for a limited period by way of injunction, this case cried out for an order for a speedy trial”. In July 2023, the Court ordered a speedy trial to take place in the following term (i.e. from 2 October), and found that, in the context of a shareholders’ covenant with a 12 month duration “The prospect of there not being a trial until the second half of that period, if not towards the end of it, is potentially seriously unjust to the claimant.” It was therefore “not reasonably open” to the first instance judge to refuse to order a speedy trial.

The Court of Appeal’s written judgment notes that the “point of general application … is our view that a speedy trial should plainly have been granted”.

The outcome

This was an excellent outcome for our client in a case, and area of law, that is fast moving and often demanding on the parties.

How Moore Barlow can help you 

Find out how the Moore Barlow Employment team can help you tackle breaches of post termination restrictions by contacting us today.