September 2016

The Society’s committees have been working on a number of Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament Bills and consultations, including the Policing and Crime Bill, non-compete clauses and the CMA’s Report on the Legal Services Market.

Key areas are highlighted below. For more information see the law reform section of the website.

Non-Compete Clauses

The Employment Law Committee has responded to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skill’s call for evidence on non-compete clauses.

We note that non-compete clauses are used in a very wide range of sectors and situations. Properly drafted, such restrictions will protect the interests of the employer without unfairly restricting the employee’s ability to compete. Unduly restrictive clauses will not be upheld by the courts.

The present system, where clauses are routinely included in contracts but do not routinely require to be enforced by the Courts, appears to be working satisfactorily. If the matter does require to be considered by a Court, the legal principles are applied to the facts of the case. This should result in there being restrictions imposed only in appropriate circumstances and for appropriate periods, to protect the legitimate interests of the business where these would have an adverse effect on the employee made subject to the restriction.

We believe that restricting the use of non-compete clauses could have severe adverse effects on businesses and the protection they receive through the law.

The full consultation response is available to read on the law reform section of the website.