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In a judgment handed down today, the Supreme Court has found that restrictive covenants preventing an employee from being “concerned or interested in” a competitor for six months are not too wide to be enforceable. 

Responding to this news, Andrew Taggart, partner and head of Herbert Smith Freehills' EMEA employment practice, has reflected that "today's judgment is hugely important as it is the first time in 100 years that the rules governing restrictive covenants have been examined."

He says: "Lawyers will be breathing a huge sigh of relief. Had the result gone the other way many restrictive covenants could well have been unenforceable. Instead the judgment reaffirms that if the court thinks the covenant is basically ok it will allow some latitude to strike out parts where it feels that it went too far. 

"This doesn’t give carte blanche to lawyers to draft what they like, but provides a useful safety net and reassurance that odd words here and there can be ignored."

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