HC Deb 21 December 1906 vol 167 cc1858-9
MR. BOWERMAN (Deptford)

To ask Mr. Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to the remark made by Mr. Justice Neville, in the Chancery Divisional Court, on the 6th instant, in the case of Henry Leetham & Son, Limited, v. Johnstone-White, when, in deciding in favour of the plaintiff firm, and granting an injunction restraining the defendant (a commercial traveller) from entering the employment of any firm carrying on a similar business (corn factors) in any part of the United Kingdom for a period of five years, his Lordship remarked on the exceeding pressure placed on the working commercial population by the existing state of the law bearing upon such contracts of service whereby the interests, of employers alone were considered; and whether, in view of the fact that such contracts are against public policy, their enforcement in all probability entailing upon the defendant in this and similar cases loss of employment, the opinion expressed by Mr. Justice Neville will be duly considered with the view of preventing their enforcement by injunction or otherwise.

(Answered, by Sir John Walton.) I I do not consider the law is at fault. The difficulty arises from the spirit in which it is applied. If the contracts referred to are unduly oppressive and in restraint of trade, and for these reasons opposed to public policy, the Court may and should refuse to enforce them.