Business Protection

Our business protection practice ranges from post-termination restraints and ‘team moves’ to regulatory and public-law challenges that aim to further commercial interests.

We have cutting-edge expertise in ‘team move’ cases, whether acting for employers, would-be ‘poachers’, or groups of employees who seek to move en masse.  We recognise that the loss of a specialist team can cripple a business’s capacity to service its client base, undermine its regulatory position, and we know that urgent injunctive remedies are paramount.  Our members acted have acted in the leading cases in the area, including Tullett Prebon plc v BGC Brokers LP [2010] IRLR 648 and [2011] IRLR 420, a conspiracy and team poaching case in which landmark twelve month garden leave and “no poach” quia timet injunctions were secured.  Recent examples include A.T. Kearney v Baigorri and Oliver Wyman Limited [2014] EWHC 4419 (QB), a team-move case requiring urgent injunctive relief and raising numerous conflict of laws questions; and Merlin Financial Consultants Ltd v Cooper [2014] EWHC 1196 (QB), concerning breaches of restrictive covenants by a leaving employee who set up his own business.

We regularly appear in high-profile and complex cases involving unlawful competitive activity, parallel trading by disloyal directors and employees the diversion of business or business opportunities, the exploitation of client databases, and the misuse of confidential information.  We regularly act in cases involving director and employee fraud and bribery, the recovery of misappropriated assets and are highly experienced in the use of interim relief, including springboard and freezing injunctions as well as accounts of profits, tracing including international asset recovery and Wrotham Park damages.

We recognise that the protection of valuable business connections, confidential information and the stability of the workforce demands enforceable contractual restraints on the ability of employees, vendors and joint venturers to trade in competition.  Equally, however, the ability of persons to practice their trade free of restriction, and the free movement of employees, demand that unreasonable contractual restraints be exposed.  These are issues we grapple with daily, and we have been at the forefront of developments in the law relating to restrictive covenants and restraint of trade.

We are also regularly instructed in high-profile challenges to the decisions of public authorities and regulators, including claims which require urgent applications for interim relief, and which involve complex issues of international, EU or human rights law in the commercial sphere.  Much of this work falls under our commercial judicial review professional discipline & regulatory lawinformation law  or European Union practice areas.  We also have unrivalled expertise in public procurement law.

We have particular expertise in public law challenges that relate to sanctions and the financial services sector.  Our cases include Bank Mellat v HM Treasury [2013] UKSC 39; R(SRM Global Master Fund LP & Ors) v Treasury Commissioners [2009] EWCA Civ 788; and R(Equitable Members Action Group) v HM Treasury [2009] EWHC 2495 (Admin).