Contract Unfair terms. The Queen's Bench Division held that the claimant Rush hairdressing salon had been entitled to withhold certain deferred consideration under a Sales Purchase Agreement (the SPA) as the defendant had been in breach of certain restrictive clauses in the SPA.
Injunction Contract for personal services. The Queen's Bench Division held that interim relief would be granted in a case where the defendant advisers were alleged to have breached restrictive covenants contained in their consultancy agreements. Among other things, the claimants were entitled to undertakings which prevented disclosure of, and required delivery up of, the claimants' confidential customer lists, and the issues at the speedy trial were to include the question of whether the defendants had breached the covenants, as well as the question of their enforceability. However, the defendants were not, at that stage, required to provide witness statements setting out their recent conduct, and the court declined to grant the defendants' application to join a further 22 advisers as additional defendants to the claim.
Employment Contract of service. The Queen's Bench Division awarded the claimant damages and final injunctive relief following the finding that the first defendant, a former employee of the claimant, had breached his duty of fidelity and confidence both during and after his employment with the claimant and in breach of the restrictive covenant which had been part of his contract of employment.
Contract Formation. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed an appeal against the judge's decision that there had been a binding contract between the parties, formed by the claimant (Reveille) accepting through conduct a written agreement, which had been signed by the defendant (Anotech), but not Reveille. It held that Reveille had waived the provision that there would be no binding contract in the absence of its signature on the agreement, and there had been no prejudice from that to Anotech. There had been acceptance by conduct on Reveille's part of the terms of the agreement, which had led to a binding contract.
Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The Queen's Bench Division, in refusing an application for an interim injunction against the respondent, a former employee, in which it sought to enforce the terms of a restrictive covenant contained in the respondent's contract of employment, held that the relevant clause was in restraint of trade and unenforceable. The clause also provided that the respondent would continue to be paid in full by his former employer for the duration of the covenant, provided that he complied with the restriction. The covenant was plainly far wider than was reasonably necessary for the protection of the applicant's business interests. It was contrary to public policy in effect to permit an employee to purchase a restraint.
Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the defendants' appeal in respect of the judge's findings of breaches of non-compete and non-solicitation covenants in the sale of a business providing 'supported living' services for children leaving care and vulnerable adults. Further, it upheld the judge's conclusion that an award of damages on the Wrotham Park basis (see Wrotham Park Estate Co Ltd v Parkside Homes Ltd[) was the just response in the present case.
*UBS AG v Revenue and Customs Commissioners; DB Group Services (UK) Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners
Income tax Earnings from employment. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal by the Revenue and Customs Commissioners concerning schemes used by UBS AG and DB Group Services (UK) Ltd, which were designed to avoid the payment of income tax on bankers' bonuses. The court held that the tax exemption in of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, did not apply in the present case in respect of the schemes whereby shares were awarded to employees in place of bonuses. The court ruled that, on the true construction of s 423 and in the circumstances of the present case, income tax was payable on the value of the shares on the date of their acquisition.
Employment Remuneration. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the defendant's appeal in respect of the judge's decision that the claimant had been underpaid commission in respect of a deal and that the defendant should have allocated two-thirds of the available commission to the United Kingdom office. In particular, the court considered whether the judge had been right to have interfered with the defendant's exercise of what it described as the broad discretion provided to it in the contractual documents.
Redundancy Employer's duty to consult appropriate trade union. The respondent employee had successfully issued proceedings in the United Kingdom seeking a protective award after she had been made redundant the day after the closure of the appellant United States of America's military base in the UK. The Supreme Court dismissed the USA's appeal, ruling, among other things, that amendments to the by the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 1995 (), which required employee representatives to be designated for consultation purposes in all situations covered by the Act, were not ultra vires. left it open to member states to apply or introduce even more favourable laws, regulations or administrative provisions than those it required.
European Union Employment. The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a preliminary ruling, deciding that the Decision on the BFA Group restructuring and arts 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which formed the basis for that decision, did not preclude the application, in proceedings relating to a collective redundancy that fell within the scope of that decision, of national legislation under which the compensation payable to an employee whose dismissal was held to be unfair was set at an amount higher than the legal minimum.