Restrictive covenants

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Chambers UK
Employment Law for Businesses

With employees changing jobs more frequently, greater use of social media, and an increasingly challenging commercial environment, it is more important than ever for businesses to protect their technology, customer relationships and confidential information in order to remain competitive.

Setting out restrictive covenants in an employment contract can be a very effective way for businesses to safeguard confidential information. They can be used to deter an employee from competing unfairly against a former employer, soliciting the custom of an employer’s clients or prospective clients, poaching key staff, or dealing with customers and suppliers for reasonable periods of time. All too often, however, businesses use template covenants that are not appropriate for their commercial needs and which will not be upheld in court.

As Penningtons Manches acts for both senior executives and employers, we are equipped to offer a broad perspective on this area of employment law. We assist businesses at the point of potential recruitment, assessing the enforceability of the recruit’s current restrictions and/or drafting tailored covenants to meet legitimate business needs. We also provide strategic advice when an employee has removed confidential information or resigns to join a competitor. We are often instructed to take rapid action to enforce restrictive covenants.

Our solicitors work seamlessly with experts in other practice areas. For example, we regularly draw on the specialist knowledge of members of our commercial dispute resolution team who have extensive experience in High Court procedures.

We offer expert advice on:

  • recruiting individuals or a team from a competitor
  • garden leave and enforceability of restrictive covenants
  • confidentiality provisions
  • responding to the departure of a key individual
  • enforcement action, for example, injunctions (including springboard injunctions) and remedies

Recent work highlights

Ground-breaking High Court application

Leading the first High Court challenge to the legitimacy of covenants based on the prevalence of social and professional media.


Triple line of defence

Obtaining three sets of undertakings for a client in the recruitment sector following team and individual moves to a competitor firm.


Swift response

Successfully securing a search and seize order for a pharmaceuticals company.

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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP