Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

It was not open to the court to re-make the parties’ bargain

In the case of Prophet plc v Huggett [2014] EWCA Civ 2013, the Court of Appeal considered whether the High Court had made the right decision in re-writing a 12-month non-compete covenant so that it made commercial sense.

The Court of Appeal held that the covenant could not be re-written. In the judge’s words, the employer had ‘made its…bed and it must now lie upon it’.

Mr Huggett was employed as a sales manager for Prophet, which developed computer software for the fresh-produce sector. Prophet had developed its own computer software products and its products were not provided by any other companies. Mr Huggett resigned to join a competitor who had developed a product with Microsoft to supply to the fresh-produce sector. Mr Huggett’s contract included a 12-month non-compete covenant and Prophet sought an injunction preventing Mr Huggett from working for the competitor for a period of 12 months…

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