The Court deemed a non-solicitation of customers clause as fair and ruled a formerly employed accountant to pay damages of SEK 1 100 000, as well as PwC:s legal costs, due to the accountant transferring 96 clients to a competing firm. The Court ruling is a decision of principle importance since the legal position of such non-solicitation clauses has been deemed uncertain and since several accounting firms in fact use similar non-solicitation clauses.
The court case has been highlighted in media, inter alia, on Revisionsvärlden.se and Realtid.se. Robert Stromberg (partner of Cederquist and head of the employment law team) offers the following comments:
“A court ruling on an important principle for everyone in the accounting business. Many have been of the impression that non-solicitation of customers clauses for accountants are unfair under the Contracts Act following a ruling by the Swedish Labour Court in 2015. The ruling of Falu District Court shows it is not so. The Court found that the clause should not be deemed to greatly impede the accountant’s possibility to perform his profession and that the hindrance was outweighed by the interest of PwC to protect their existing customer relations. Accounting firms make big investments in their customer relations, and it is therefore important and legitimate that they may also take measures to protect existing customer relations.”