Legends Live v Harrison (Queens Bench Division)
This serves as a reminder that even where a restrictive covenant is lawful and reasonable, an injunction to enforce it may be refused where action is delayed for the principal purpose of causing avoidable disruption to a competitor.
A Blackpool company, specialising in tribute acts, sought an injunction to enforce a 12 month restrictive covenant against a Michael Jackson tribute artist who had agreed to join a local competing show. Although the court found the covenant to be reasonable, valid and enforceable, it considered it would be inequitable to enforce it by way of an injunction because of the Claimant's unreasonable delay in issuing a claim. The court acknowledged that the delay was not significant, but inferred that the timing of the claim (one week before the competitor's opening show) was deliberately timed to disrupt the competitor's business.
Courts have a wide discretion over whether to grant an injunction. This case highlights that speed and motive will be amongst the factors that a court may take into consideration when exercising that discretion; a well drafted covenant may not, alone, be sufficient.