How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jenny McKenzie Your Own Question
Jenny McKenzie
Jenny McKenzie,
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6259
Experience:  10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
Type Your UK Employment Law Question Here...
Jenny McKenzie is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, I am an IT contractor operating through a limited company.

This answer was rated:

Hi, I am an IT contractor operating through a limited company. I currently contract through agency X to IT Services provider Y, who uses my services on a contract with Government agency Z. I now want to move to another IT Services provider for Government agency Z working on a separate contract to the one I'm working on for IT Services provider Y. However, there is a restrictive covenant in my contract preventing me from working for either IT Services provider Y or Government agency Z without paying a fee to agency X (20% of value for 12 months).

The exact wording is "The Supplier shall and shall procure that the Representative shall (a) not during the Contract Term or thereafter for a period equivalent to the period of this agreement or, where there has been more than one engagement between the Supplier and Agency within the last two years, for the total period of all engagements within the last two years with the relevant Client or End User (but not being less than 3 months nor more than 12 months) either directly or indirectly (whether under a contract of services of for services or through any third party) provide any services to the Client or End User in any capacity except by contract through the Agency unless the Supplier shall first have paid to the Agency a fee of 20% the total remuneration including the value of benefits attributed by the HM Revenue & Customs agreed to be paid or provided by the Client or end User for the relevant period of provision of such services (but not exceeding 12 months) plus VAT; but this provision shall not affect the Supplier if it is , and has notified the Agency that it is, an Umbrella Company and the services referred to are services that (i) have not been sourced by the Agency or do not result from the introduction by the Agency of the Supplier to the Client, and (ii) are not performed or provided by the Representative. ".

(as previously highlighted on this forum) I believe that this is unenforceable under the doctrine of restraint of trade as any contractual term which seeks to restrict an individual's freedom to work for others or carry out his trade or business is illegal and unenforceable. I believe that the Agency can't show it has a legitimate business interest that requires protection and the protection sought is not reasonable, as I'm just going to work for someone else (all they have lost is the revenue of me working for them, not the business of supplying another body to IT Services provider Y).

Is this interpretation correct?
Hello and welcome to Just Answer, by way if background please can you tell me why you want to go through an alternative agency?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jenny,


I have been working as a Project Manager under my current contract for 2 years and need a change of scene (it’s like banging your head against a wall and now I just want to go and bang my head against a different wall). It’s not that I particular want to change agency, my concerns are if a different agency offers me a contract with a different service provider to the same end customer how enforceable is the restrictive covenant?


I should probably point out that I don’t think that the new contact I’m hoping to get offered would be directly available through my current agency as it is through a different service provider who has its own preferred suppliers (agencies).


I’m not trying to “cut out” the current agency, I am looking at a completely different contract role that just happens to be for the same end customer.




Hi Chris that does help.

If you were moving in the same role between agencies then clearly the restrictive covenants would (subject to reasonableness tests) be enforceable on the basis that the legitimate interest is the cut that the agency takes, if you went via another agency they would lose that cut and as the introducer they are entitled to receive it.

If you are cutting your ties and you happen to be placed in a different role by another agency within the period then on the basis that there is no legitimate business interest to protect as you pointed out in your initial question so whilst they might attempt to enforce the clause if they take it to court you would be able to defend on that basis.

This is particularly the case if this is a role they could not have placed you in due to the fact that they do not have the contract in respect of that role.

If you have any further questions please do ask. If you are satisfied with my answer I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to give my answer a positive rating. Thank you and all the best.
Jenny McKenzie,
Satisfied Customers: 6259
Experience: 10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
Jenny McKenzie and other UK Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick Leeds, UK
< Previous | Next >
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick Leeds, UK
  • I did not know a French Law service existed and I was very impressed with the speed of reply --- very professional. Many thanks! Ms. Baker Alfafar, Spain
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie USA
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC

Meet The Experts:

  • Ben Jones

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
< Last | Next >
  • Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • Jenny McKenzie's Avatar

    Jenny McKenzie

    Satisfied Customers:

    10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
  • UKSolicitorJA's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

  • John Knox's Avatar

    John Knox


    Satisfied Customers:

    Solicitor and Advocate
  • Kasare's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    LLB (Hons)
  • Buachaill's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    17 years experience
  • INC's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)