The Qatar International Court has delivered its judgment in the case of Chedid & Associates Qatar LLC v Said Bou Ayash following a three day trial last week. The Court, presided over by Justices Cullen, Al Sayed and Robertson, dismissed a claim brought by Chedid against their former employee alleging breach of contract and claiming QAR 104,000 in compensation as well as damages. Chedid, a company licensed with the Qatar Financial Centre, alleged that Mr. Said was in breach of a non-competition clause contained within his contract of employment after, subsequent to his resignation, he went to work for a competing company and contracted with clients who had previously contracted with Chedid.
The Court, however, rejected Chedid’s claim. In addition to being critical of the terms of the non-competition clause, the Court also accepted the argument of Mr. Said’s lawyer, Roger Kennell of Brown Rudnick LLP, that Chedid could not assert that it had a right to protect a business connection with clients who had been introduced to it by Mr. Said. In addition, the Court found that the circumstances in which Mr. Said’s contract of employment had been entered into breached the terms of Article 36 of the QFC Contract Regulations which, amongst other things, state that “A party may avoid the contract when it has been led to conclude the contact by the other party’s unjustified threat which, having regard to the circumstances, is so imminent and serious as to leave the first party no reasonable alternative.”
The Court allowed part of a counterclaim brought by Mr. Said after it concluded that Chedid had, “without reasons, authority or justification” withheld Mr. Said’s salary resulting in him incurring bank charges. Speaking after the judgment had been delivered, the Registrar of the Court, Mr. Christopher Grout (pictured), stated “The overriding objective of the Court is to deal with all cases justly which includes, so far as practicable, ensuring that litigation before the Court takes place expeditiously and effectively. This case demonstrates the ability of the Qatar International Court, supported by the staff of the Court Registry, to dispose of cases fairly and efficiently; the full judgment having been delivered two days after the trial concluded.”