The Claimants were the well-known multi-national law firm (‘Linklaters’) and the company through which it employs its UK-based employees (‘LBS’).
From March 2017 the Defendant was employed by LBS as Linklaters’ Director of Business Development and Marketing. His contract of employment contained confidentiality obligations and clauses specifying that any dispute arising from the contract would be determined by the courts of England and Wales applying English law.
In the course of his work, the Claimants claimed, the Defendant would have acquired a substantial amount of confidential information, in particular through his membership of Linklaters’ Executive Committee, which handles matters of particular importance and sensitivity.
In June 2018 the Defendant was given six months’ notice that his contract would be terminated. He was to be paid his contractual entitlements and a substantial additional ex gratia sum. He was reminded that his contractual obligations of confidentiality would persist after his employment came to an end.
On 23 January 2019, shortly after receiving his final termination payment, the Defendant emailed Linklaters’ senior partner stating that he intended to “share my impressions of the current culture at Linklaters”. He stated that he would do this by reference to three specific examples, referred to in the Judgment as (1) the Munich Incident; (2) the NY Settlement, and (3) the London Settlement. He stated that he would be giving “interviews” in the first two weeks of February and that Linklaters should be prepared for media enquiries.
The Claimants applied for an interim injunction (issuing an application notice the day before the hearing) to restrain the Defendant from using or disclosing information about the three “examples” (limited, in the case of the Munich incident, where there was already much information in the public domain, to the identity of the female complainant). The Defendant was notified of the hearing but did not attend the hearing and was not represented. He did not respond to the Claimants’ invitation to identify the third parties to whom he intended to give interviews. It was unclear where he was located but it appeared most likely that he was in France.