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Donald Leonard Harmer - Memorial Service 22nd March 2016

09 Mar 2016, 18:07 by John Snell

We sadly report the death of Mr. Donald Leonard Harmer  who died on Friday 22nd January 2016 aged 90 years. (12 April 1925 – 22 January 2016).
A beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather.
Mr Harmer was highly regarded in his areas of practice as a member of the Bar at New Street Chambers and at New Walk Chambers in Leicester, an Arbitrator and formerly an Architect. He was directly involved in the training of Arbitrators in his role as Course Director of the Diploma in Arbitration at the College of Estate Management. In his interesting and varied career he had also served as an officer in the army during and after WWII in India and in Nigeria.
His funeral was held in Mojacar at the end of January.
A memorial service will be held at All Saints Church, Thurcaston, Leicestershire on Tuesday 22 March 2016 at 14.00hrs ( and there will be light refreshments afterwards at The Woodman's Stroke in Rothley.
 If you would like to attend please can you contact his daughter Josephine by email ( as soon as possible.


Counterpoint Success

22 Jul 2015, 17:55 by John Snell

Labels: counterpoint, edward-barr, radio-4, ted-barr

Tennant Ted Barr, after being encouraged by his son Robert, eventually applied for counterpoint this year, Radio 4’s general knowledge musical master quiz.
So far so good, Ted has reached the final, to be recorded this coming Friday the 17th 2015, at the BBC’s Radio Theatre. Those hours spent sat next to the family ‘Grundig’ radiogram in the 1960’s have eventually paid off.


Magnusson -v- Park Farm Stables (2015)

27 May 2015, 11:11 by John Snell

Labels: damages, equine-law, horse-law, horse-owner, liability, spooking, the-animals-act-1971

Nathalie Bull, Barrister at New Walk Chambers, recently successfully defended a claim for damages made against the owner of a horse that had collided with a vehicle whilst spooking.  The Judge considered spooking to be normal equine behaviour, rather than an 'unusual characteristic except at particular times or circumstances' as required in order to satisfy the test under The Animals Act 1971 to create strict liability. 

Nathalie wrote an article regarding this important judgment, which has been published in 'Central Horse News Magazine' (June edition), the article can be viewed using the following link. This article will also be published in the legal journal 'Horse Law' in June ( and on the British Horse Society website (


Restraint of Trade Clauses

15 Aug 2014, 11:08 by Edward Webb

Labels: contract, court, employee, employer, employment, trade-clauses

A restraint of trade clause is a term contained within a contract that seeks to limit a party’s ability to be employed by an alternative business. The most common type of restraint clause is contained within a contract of employment and is one which simply seeks to restrict an employee’s ability to work for another business during the term of their employment.
The next level of restraint of trade clause seeks to limit an ex-employee from working for a competitor for a specified period of time. Clauses such as this are prima facie void, they will only be uphold by the court if the employer can show it has a ‘legitimate proprietary interest to protect’ (LPI).
An LPI may be a trade secret, a list of existing clients, a manufacturing process or other important confidential information.
One of the leading cases on restraint of trade clauses is Faccenda Chicken Ltd v Fowler [1986] I.C.R. In this case Mr Fowler had previously worked for Faccenda Chicken Ltd, when he finished his employment he set up his own business. Faccenda Chicken Ltd sued Mr Fowler and argued he had information about the names and address of its clients. The court held that whilst there is a clear obligation not to disclose information that may cover a secret process or other information which is a sufficiently high degree of confidentiality to amount to a trade secret it does not extend to all information acquired by an employee during the time of their employment.
The question of whether a restraint of trade clause will be deemed enforceable or not is by no means a simple question. The court will look at a number of factors.
The first is whether the clause is an express or implied term (i.e. written into the contract of employment or not). If it is an implied term the court is not likely to enforce the contract but if it is an express term, the court will then look to see if there is a LPI (e.g. trade secret).
The next stage is to consider the extent of the clause. The court will want to see that the clause goes no further than offering the minimum protection necessary to protect the employer. If the clause is too restrictive it is not likely to be enforced. The characteristics of the clause that will be considered are the time restriction, geographical restriction and scope of the clause.
The above characteristics are taken on a case by case basis. I have previously dealt with a restraint of trade dispute in the aerospace industry. My client wanted to employee Mr A from its rival (Party B) however, Mr A had a 12 month restraint of trade clause. At first, it was argued this clause would not be enforced because whilst Mr A was aware of some trade secrets / client lists, these were largely historic. Party B protested and investigated it’s employee further, it transpired that Mr A was aware of a technical specification for a new product and had emailed this to himself the night before his resignation. Unfortunately this was not helpful. In any event, I was able to argue for a reduction in the restrain to trade clause to 5 months because it was clear this was all that was necessary to protect Party B’s interests.
Historically, restraining someone for a period of over 5 years had been enforceable (Forster & Sons Ltd v Suggett (1918) 35 T.L.R 87), indeed in more high value cases a clause restraining someone’s ability to work for 25 years in a particular industry has been held to be enforceable (Nordenfelt v Maxim Nordenfelt Guns Co Ltd [1984] A.C. 535).
Owing to the complexities of restraint of trade clauses, due consideration must be given when drafting the same. It may be that each department in a given business will need a different level of protection and the more senior the employee the more extensive the restriction.


Marley v Rawlings: Will valid despite clerical error

28 Jan 2014, 15:03 by Priya Bakshi

A couple made identical wills in 1999. Each spouse left the other their entire estate; if the other had already died then the estate was then to be left to Terry Marley; a non-relative but someone who was treated as their son. The two sons of the couple were not named as beneficiaries. A clerical error resulted in the couple signing each other’s wills.

Mrs Rawling died in 2003 and her estate passed to her Mr Rawling without anyone noticing the error. However when Mr Rawling died in 2006, the error came to light. The couple’s sons therefore challenged the validity of the Mr Rawling’s will.

The Court of Appeal upheld the initial judge’s decision in that the will was invalid and so the two sons would inherit Mr Rawling’s estate.

The Supreme Court held that this couple in fact intended to leave their estate to Mr Marley. It was held that the will should be rectified on the basis that there had been a clerical error. This decision therefore widens the Courts powers to rectify wills on the basis of clerical errors.


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