Thomas v Farr Plc and Another: CA 20 Feb 2007

The employee, the former chairman of the company, appealed a finding that his contract which restricted his being employed for one year in the same field after termination, was valid and enforceable. The company had provided insurance services to the social housing sector. His proposed new employer was a new entrant in the field and an intended direct competitor.
Held: Provided the employer was able to particularise the information said to be confidential so as to allow the court to be satisfied that it has a legitimate interest to protect, it is no argument against a restrictive covenant that it may be very difficult for either the employer or the employee to know where exactly the line may lie between information which remains confidential after the end of the employment and the information which does not. In the nature of things, the employee had been exposed to much confidential information, and the company was entitled to have it protected.

Chadwick, Scott Baker, Toulson LJJ
[2007] EWCA Civ 118, Times 27-Feb-2007, [2007] IRLR 419, [2007] ICR 932
England and Wales
CitedHerbert Morris Ltd v Saxelby HL 1916
For a covenant in restraint of trade to be treated as reasonable in the interests of the parties ‘it must afford no more than adequate protection to the benefit of the party in whose favour it is imposed.’ There is a need for the court to consider . .
CitedPrinters and Finishers Limited v Holloway 1965
The court considered the questions arising from the use of information acquired by an employee during his employment after that employment had ended, and noted that information the future use of which will not be restrained is information not . .
CitedCommercial Plastics Ltd v Vincent CA 1964
When considering whether an employer could misuse information learned in one employment in a later one the court thought that the defendant would be likely, when the need arose, to dredge up from the recesses of his memory’ the particular item of . .
CitedFaccenda Chicken Ltd v Fowler CA 1986
Nature of Confidentiality in Information
The appellant plaintiff company had employed the defendant as sales manager. The contract of employment made no provision restricting use of confidential information. He left to set up in competition. The company now sought to prevent him using . .
CitedLansing Linde v Kerr CA 1991
Staughton LJ held that ‘trade secrets’ embrace information used in a trade, restricted in its dissemination, and the disclosure of which would be liable to cause real or significant harm to the party claiming confidentiality. He considered the . .
CitedLancashire Fires Ltd v S A Lyons and Co Ltd CA 1996
It was claimed that a loan to the employee from a customer of the employer coupled with an exclusive supply agreement by the employee as and when the competing business becomes operative was in breach of an non-compete clause.
Held: The . .
CitedStenhouse Australia Ltd v Phillips PC 2-Oct-1973
(Australia) An employer’s claim for protection from competition by a former employee under a restrictive covenant must be based upon the identification of some advantage or asset inherent in the business which can properly be regarded as, in a . .
CitedFSS Travel and Leisure Systems Limited v Johnson and Chauntry Corporation Limited CA 19-Nov-1997
The court considered a covenant said to be in restraint of trade. The employee was a 25 year old computer programmer who had worked entirely upon a computerised booking system for the travel industry.
Held: The employer had failed to identify . .
CitedPSM International PLC v Whitehouse CA 1992
The question of what constituted a trade secret or similar is a question of degree. . .
CitedScully UK Limited v Lee CA 9-Feb-1998
The employer sought to enforce a post employment restrictive covenant to protect confidential information known to the former employee.
Held: Aldous LJ said: ‘In cases where a restrictive covenant is sought to be enforced, the confidential . .
CitedLittlewoods Organisations Ltd v Harris CA 1977
When construing restrictive covenants in an employment contract, the court should construe the contract in the light of the object and intent of the contract as a whole. It may be read down and need not be read literally. Lord Denning said that it . .

Cited by:
CitedIntercall Conferencing Services Ltd v Steer QBD 15-Mar-2007
The claimant company sought an interim injunction to prevent the defendant, a former employee, from working for a competitor in breach of a clause in his contract and from divulging any confidential information. The defendant said that the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Employment, Contract

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.248921