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Partnership & shareholder disputes

Disputes between business partners, shareholders and directors can stem from a multitude of issues, such as poor personal relationships, disagreements over the direction of the business, an actual or perceived failure to contribute, conflicts of interest or inappropriate, dishonest or criminal conduct.  Disputes of this nature can be toxic for the underlying business and where livelihoods are at stake the parties can find themselves under extreme personal pressure.

The rights of business associates generally derive from a combination of the terms of any partnership or shareholders agreement, the company’s articles of association (where applicable) and the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 or the Partnership Act 1890.

We provide advice on the breakdown of business relationships which combines an understanding of the parties’ legal rights and obligations with strategic and tactical guidance, taking into account our client’s commercial objectives and priorities.

Our expertise in this area includes advising upon:

  • Unfair prejudice petitions for minority shareholders.
  • Defending petitions under Section 449 of the Companies Act 2006 (now Section 994) on behalf of equal or majority shareholders
  • Breaches of partnership or shareholder agreements.
  • Disputes over share sale, pre-emption or earn-out rights.
  • Claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud or director misfeasance.

The experience of our Partners in this area includes:

  • Bringing an unfair prejudice petition in the High Court on behalf of a minority shareholder for, inter alia, a failure by majority shareholders to account to him for dividends.
  • Successfully defending a minority shareholder petition in relation to a pharmaceutical business.  The petition was discontinued shortly before trial.
  • Acting for partners in a multitude of partnership disputes ranging from solicitors to doctors.

Please contact us for more information.