• Critically assess the circumstances in which an employer may successfully invoke a restraint of trade clause arising in the context of the employment relationship with reference to relevant case law. (50%)
• Nigel began employment with Right Law Solicitors in January 2011 pursuant to a written contract of employment. Right Law Solicitors are exclusively an intellectual property law practice with offices in Dublin city Centre. Its competitors in Ireland are limited with only four practices offering services of a similar nature. Nigel’s contract of employment contained the following clause:-
'You will not, during the period of 12 months following termination of your employment, howsoever brought about, carry on business on your own account or on behalf of any person, firm or company offering intellectual property law services in competition with the business of Right Law Solicitors.'
Nigel resigned from Right Law Solicitors in May 2014 on being head-hunted to work for a competitor intellectual property law firm on more beneficial terms and conditions of employment. Before leaving Nigel e-mailed to his personal e-mail account a confidential document containing client details and fees charged by Right Law Solicitors.
Nigel has now received correspondence from First Law Solicitors threatening High Court proceedings if he does not desist forthwith with the breach of the non-compete clause in the contract of employment.
First Law Solicitors have applied for an interlocutory injunction to restrain Nigel from breaching the non-compete clause.
• Assess whether Nigel has breached the non-compete clause, and critically examine the various factors that the Court will take into consideration in determining whether to grant an injunction to restrain Nigel in this situation. Your answer should also comment on the likelihood of this injunction being granted. (30 %) • Examine any other breaches of employment law that may have arisen as a consequence of Nigel’s actions in this situation. (20%)
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