The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal against the High Court's decision that a former employee breached a contractual duty of fidelity and a fiduciary duty to his employer. The Court of Appeal found that the employee did not owe a fiduciary duty and was not in breach of the duty of fidelity when he failed to tell his employer about his meetings with clients during his notice period at which at which he discussed his future business plans.
The Court of Appeal held that both the content of the contractual obligation of fidelity and the existence and content of any fiduciary duty had to be determined by an employee's contract of employment. Duties of fidelity and fiduciary duties that would be inconsistent with the terms of the contract could not exist. It further held that the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence could not be relied on, by itself, to give rise to a fiduciary relationship and the extent of the duty in any case would also be determined by the employee's contract. In this case, the former employee had not owed a fiduciary duty to his employer and his conduct had not breached his duty of fidelity. (Ranson v Customer Systems plc  EWCA Civ 841.)