Company and Partnership Disputes
When the very structure of a company, partnership or LLP becomes affected by a dispute between its owners, it will invariably require sensitive handling from the beginning. It is common for the ongoing viability of a business to become a central issue in ownership disputes so it is crucial to start by making sure the full extent of the issue or disagreement is understood by our clients. This is particularly important for disputes involving partnerships that do not have the benefit of limited liability, as every partner has unlimited liability for the debts of the business in the event of dissolution.
Often the issue that appears problematic to an aggrieved shareholder, member or partner at the outset is a symptom of a deeper concern that is perhaps too personal or sensitive for an individual to raise directly. We always aim to establish early on whether the problem being presented is the root cause of the ownership dispute, or whether it is a manifestation of some other reason that needs dealing with.
Once we understand the boundaries that you are working with, we pride ourselves on giving the most pragmatic, sensitive and decisive solution to resolve the problem and allow your business to carry doing on what it does best.
Evaluating the best course of action is normally made easier by there being a carefully negotiated agreement between the owners already in place, however we are experienced at resolving ownership issues with businesses that do not have any form of written agreement, just in case you missed that lesson at business school.
Formal litigation, whilst sometimes necessary, can be extremely damaging to working relationships and it is an unhelpfully public forum for resolving disputes amongst business owners. With this in mind we will always discuss with you the less formal options available, such as mediation, arbitration or negotiation to try and minimise the disruption to your business. Whilst also being less costly than going through the Courts, these methods of dispute resolution still give everyone involved the opportunity to have their side of the story heard, which can often be the catalyst for a mutually agreeable compromise.
We have extensive experience acting for remaining and departing partners and members of the following types of practice:
- Independent Financial Advisors; and
- Hedge Funds
We also regularly advise shareholders of companies with a variety of ownership structures on disputes commonly involving one or more of the following issues:
- Exclusion of minority shareholders;
- Conflicts of interest;
- Dividend policies;
- Unfair Prejudice;
- Director remuneration;
- Performance of the board of directors;
- Voting deadlock;
- Strategic disagreements; and
- Poor personal relationships
If you are a business owner and any of the above issues are affecting the harmony of your business, or if you have any concerns about the way in which you are being treated, Bolt Burdon are expertly placed to help you achieve the outcome you are after. As with most things in life, the earlier a problem is identified and advice taken, the easier it will be to stop it from developing into something more serious.