RCVS Laws on Supersession

Nick Weaver owned a successful veterinary practice in rural Somerset, where he raised a family for circa 19 years. His business subsequently became a limited company with his wife (Margaret Weaver) as a co-owner. Shortly afterwards she divorced him and re-married to become Margaret Lewis.

Dr. Hutber reported: "Nick didn't want to sell his Williton and Wiveliscombe surgeries to me but he had no option because Margaret Weaver had required him to sell. I was shocked when he told me. Margaret Weaver had also wanted to become our practice manager but unfortunately the post was already filled, and the day after I bought the practice from the Weavers, she had our business phone lines cut off. BT didn't restore the fax lines for several weeks, so we couldn't use VEBUS to send the TB testing reports to DEFRA. Our farmer clients understandably became angry when they couldn't get their livestock to market. The situation became progressively worse. I had a non-competition agreement with Margaret Weaver although it proved to be ineffective. She opened a new site with Whitelodge Vets about 500 yards along the road from us. Margaret Weaver took some of my staff and encouraged my clients to transfer. She leafleted the area and sent letters to my clients negatively criticising my practice. I'd paid the Weavers 170,000 pounds in business goodwill to ensure that this wouldn't occur. Not surprisingly, the RCVS received complaints against my practice (and against myself) from Whitelodge clients who'd been encouraged to transfer. I'd only been there a couple of months and the Weavers had built up a relationship with the people in the area for about 19 years. Unfortunately, I was at a slight disadvantage. "

"I reported the situation to the RCVS, asking for an investigation under the RCVS rules on supersession which had kindly been explained to me by a former RCVS President. The RCVS took no action."