Handcuff Rule - Anyone been taken to court? Handcuff Rule - Anyone been taken to court?
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie


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    Default Handcuff Rule - Anyone been taken to court?

    Ok im truely asking the question for a friend.

    But anyway - this friend recently switched agencies but stayed with the client, he switched at the end of his contract and because he was house sharing with another contractor that didnt get renewed the rate from his current agency meant he was unable to afford to renew the contract with the added extra costs of renting and car hire.

    Anyway the job was then advertised with another agency that was offering a lot more - and so decided to take it. His original contract stated he could not work with the client for 6mnths but to be honest the wording isnt the greatest - i cant remember what it said off the top of my head.

    Anyway due to an unfortunate mistake the original agency got wind of it, and now have hit him with a bill and a court order. or at least he has to reply online to dispute the claim.

    Im interested in seeing if anyone else has had this or actually gone to court ?

    So for starters the complaint/court order is in my friends name and not the company name. Secondly they have not broken down the payment - just sent him an invoice, and then the court order, both figures are different, in fact the court order is less. I use the wording court order - im not actually sure what the technical term is, sorry.

    His contract doesnt have the correct company name on it either. at least not in all places.

    I know several contractors that have used this agency, and none have had a good experience, late payments, no remittenances, extremely long payment terms. It really bugs me to see people get stung by this agency, although in this case I know there should have been a 6mnth gap. its causing him a lot of stress.

    Checkerman

  2. #2

    Contractor Among Contractors

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    Quote Originally Posted by checkerman View Post
    its causing him a lot of stress.
    As his friend advise him that if he wants an easy life, don't go around double-crossing people.
    "Don't part with your illusions; when they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live" Mark Twain

  3. #3

    Prof Cunning @ Oxford Uni

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    You use the term “court order” - if you’ve received one of those, then the judge has already made a decision.

    Do you mean you’ve received a summons, or perhaps a legal letter threatening court action?

    Your problems are:
    1. You broke the terms of your first contract
    2. You didn’t advise the new agent that you had just finished the old contract with a different agent
    3. You didn’t check either contract
    4. You thought you’d get away with it.

    People sometimes argue out of handcuff clauses after a few months, but jumping immediately from one to another shows no delay.
    As for whether it is in your name or your company’s name - read the contract.

    All the other bits about hiring cars, renting accommodation, and other peoples’ opinion of the agent are irrelevant.
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  4. #4

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    your friend needs to get lawyered up.....

    It'll cost around £1500.
    Yes I know several people who have been through this, and one ended up in court with a cease and desisit order against them.
    Not one I know of had to pay any money though (other than lawyers).


    As for techincal terms aroun whether something is a court order or not..... This is really, really important. Details are very important.
    Get a lawyer.....
    And yes the £1500 is a businss expense.
    See You Next Tuesday

  5. #5

    Still gathering requirements...


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    In my view there are really just three pertinent issues here:
    1. The wording of any handcuff clause in the contract and whether that would apply to the facts of this situation
    2. If so, whether the agency can show a loss due to what "your friend" has done
    3. Whether a court would consider the handcuff clause reasonable or strike it down (e.g. as a restraint of trade)

    And you can guess the answers to some of that or you can engage a legal expert to give you an opinion and possibly send some very discouraging letters to the agency.

    But you seem very vague about what the correspondence really is that "your friend" has received so, until you can clarify that, nobody on here can comment properly. And even if they could, I strongly recommend that "your friend" doesn't just take the word of anonymous unknown amateurs on some website. If "your friend" thinks it's a genuine problem, they should lawyer up.

  6. #6

    More time posting than coding

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    When Andy Hallett used to post round these parts he would mention that he'd taken contractors to court and won about handcuff clauses.

    Take professional advice.
    I'm not fat, I'm just fluffy.

  7. #7

    Nervous Newbie


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    Thanks for the replies.

    It isn't a court order, all I know is he had to login to HMRC website and dispute the claim and then I think it's decided if it goes to court or not.

    Yes of course you are right he should get a lawyer, but was just interested to know if any person here had been successful in winning against the agency in court.

    To answer some of the questions, the new agency did know he was jumping ship immediately.

    I'm not a lawyer and I only have a handful of facts as it's genuinely not me in this situation but I would think the below would help him in court.

    The contract has the incorrect company name on some of the pages.

    Continued delayed payments, along with no breakdown of costs and extra charges or remittances

    No breakdown of the loss of earnings they are trying to retrieve.

    The wording in the contract is not clear. Can't remember exactly what it was but it was about 5 or 6 words and wasn't specific enough

    The summons or the initial correspondence seems to be to the person not the company.

    And failing that is shutting down the company not an option ?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by checkerman View Post

    It isn't a court order, all I know is he had to login to HMRC website and dispute the claim and then I think it's decided if it goes to court or not.

    Yes of course you are right he should get a lawyer, but was just interested to know if any person here had been successful in winning against the agency in court.

    To answer some of the questions, the new agency did know he was jumping ship immediately.

    I'm not a lawyer and I only have a handful of facts as it's genuinely not me in this situation but I would think the below would help him in court.

    The contract has the incorrect company name on some of the pages.

    Continued delayed payments, along with no breakdown of costs and extra charges or remittances

    No breakdown of the loss of earnings they are trying to retrieve.

    The wording in the contract is not clear. Can't remember exactly what it was but it was about 5 or 6 words and wasn't specific enough

    The summons or the initial correspondence seems to be to the person not the company.

    And failing that is shutting down the company not an option ?
    What do HMRC have to do with it?

  9. #9

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    This is just getting more and more confused. If you don't have accurate details, then no-one can help here. Either go and get the information, and we'll be glad to give our experiences, or stop wasting our time.
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  10. #10

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    Default Handcuff Rule - Anyone been taken to court?

    Quote Originally Posted by checkerman View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    It isn't a court order, all I know is he had to login to HMRC website and dispute the claim and then I think it's decided if it goes to court or not.

    Yes of course you are right he should get a lawyer, but was just interested to know if any person here had been successful in winning against the agency in court.

    To answer some of the questions, the new agency did know he was jumping ship immediately.

    I'm not a lawyer and I only have a handful of facts as it's genuinely not me in this situation but I would think the below would help him in court.

    The contract has the incorrect company name on some of the pages.

    Continued delayed payments, along with no breakdown of costs and extra charges or remittances

    No breakdown of the loss of earnings they are trying to retrieve.

    The wording in the contract is not clear. Can't remember exactly what it was but it was about 5 or 6 words and wasn't specific enough

    The summons or the initial correspondence seems to be to the person not the company.

    And failing that is shutting down the company not an option ?
    He needs legal advice........
    Dunno how many times it needs to be said but he does.....

    Minor errors in a contract will be ignored.
    Late payment is not relevant.
    Closing the company is unlikely to help.

    You’re clearly not a lawyer so do your friend a favour and send him to one.

    As for the HMRC part......... you’re just trolling now aren’t you???
    Last edited by Lance; 2nd November 2019 at 11:24.
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