Non Solicitation Restriction – Non Solicitation of all of the Employers customers was reasonable.
Friday 21st March 2014
In Coppage and another v Safety Security Ltd, the Court of Appeal looked at the enforceability of a non solicitation clause that prevented the Director from soliciting any clients of the employer that had been a customer throughout all of the employees employment.
The Employee argued that by restricting all customers without specifying a period in which he had to have dealt with them was too wide. The previous case of Arbuthnot Fund Managers Ltd v Rawlings had stated that a non solicitation clause that prevented an employee from soliciting customers with whom the employee had dealings in his last 12 months was reasonable. The Employee in the Coppage case argued that his restriction was therefore too wide.
The court dismissed the employees arguments and held that the covenant was enforceable and upheld the award of damages of £50,000.
The interesting point the judge made in this case was the fact that the duration of the restriction itself was only for 6 months. Having said that don’t be fooled that judges will now automatically uphold restrictions if they are only 6 months in length as other restrictions for the same period have been held to be unenforceable.
The point to take away from this is that due to the fact that these cases are always fact specific it is very difficult to rely on any other previous judgments. What employers should do when drafting
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