Shareholder and partnership disputes can be very disruptive to a business, with both the legal complexities and commercial sensitivities to consider. There is the potential for significant time and legal costs being spent to reach a resolution, and the substantial reputational damage if the wrong approach is taken.

If your business is facing allegations from a shareholder or partner, or if you are a shareholder or partner excluded from management or unhappy with the actions of the directors, then our specialist lawyers can help.

How Debenhams Ottaway can help you with your shareholder or partnership dispute

Our commercial litigation team has experience in all types of shareholder and partnership disputes, helping both companies and shareholders or partners. Examples include:

  • A £3m family-owned business in a highly contentious dispute against a minority shareholder that we successfully resolved through negotiation.
  • Two director-shareholders of a tech company in a substantial monetary claim against another director-shareholder who made significant fraudulent expense payments where we reached a resolution that avoided it escalating to a much bigger and costly dispute.
  • Success at trial for a minority shareholder following the transfer of company assets to companies connected to the majority shareholder.
  • A minority shareholder on the dilution of its shareholding at the company’s request.
  • A shareholder across a group of four companies with complex cross-claims and insolvency issues.

We will first consider using alternative dispute resolution methods, but should it need to go to court, we have experience of helping clients in every level of court. We’ll support you through every stage from preparing your case before it goes to court to talking you through your options if you are not happy with the court outcome.

Whatever approach is best suited to you, we’ll make sure that you fully understand your legal position, the outcome you may be able to achieve and the likely costs involved.

We work with a range of businesses and individuals, from small start-ups and entrepreneurs to large corporations in London and across the South East, on both the making and receiving end of claims. This allows us to be one step ahead and secure the best outcome for you or your business.

If you need help with a shareholder or partnership dispute, please contact us today.

“They are all hard-working, commercial and pragmatic lawyers who go the extra mile for clients. The firm has a good collegiate culture and a modern settlement-focused approach to litigation.” The Legal 500 UK, 2023

“The team’s in-depth knowledge and experience is comparable to a London City firm.” The Legal 500 UK, 2022

Steps we take to help you resolve your commercial contract dispute

Often with shareholder and partnership disputes, your legal position can be confusing and difficult to determine. It is important to be able to back this up with clear evidence.

A shareholders’ agreement or partnership agreement should contain provision for resolving disputes, but the situation you find yourself in may not be covered or a partner/shareholder is refusing to follow the process set out.

Our lawyers will review the evidence and advise you on your legal position and options for resolving your dispute, including the likely costs involved.

Many shareholder and partnership disputes can be resolved quickly once our expert team is involved. It is usually in the best interests for everyone involved to agree a way forward agreed informally in a meeting between both sides.

If a more formal approach is needed, we can produce a well-drafted letter before action setting out your position, the outcome you would like to achieve and the steps you need to take if a satisfactory conclusion cannot be reached.

Where further negotiation is needed, our team can take care of this for you, making the whole process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Our shareholder and partnership disputes lawyers are highly skilled in alternative dispute resolution. We can use a variety of methods, including private negotiation and mediation to work towards and amicable resolution wherever possible.

By helping you to avoid going to court, we can keep the time and cost involved in resolving your dispute to a minimum, while making sure you get the best outcome available. We can also help to minimise the reputational risk and give you the best chance of salvaging the relationship between shareholders/partners in a business.

Our team will always be realistic about any settlement you reach and will tell you honestly if we believe you may be able to get a better outcome by going to court.

If taking the dispute to court is needed to get the right outcome for you, our team can support you through every stage. We’ll start by preparing your case and secure the best available representation for your court hearings.

We will always be realistic about your chances of success and will never advise taking a shareholder and partnership dispute to court unless we honestly believe this is in your best interests. If you are unhappy with the court outcome, we can talk you through your options and work with you through the appeals process if needed.

In many cases, shareholder or partnership disputes happen because of issues in the agreements governing those relationships. This often only comes to light after a dispute has surfaced.

Our corporate and commercial team can also review and update your shareholders’ agreements to help reduce the risk of future disputes.

Shareholder and partnership disputes news

  • What is a shareholders dispute

    In recent months, we have seen an increase in shareholder disputes and given the current climate and difficulties many companies are facing, we expect to see more. Shareholder disputes can…

What Clients Say
  • Juliet Schalker is a powerhouse. Her team covers the full range of dispute resolution work and does so to an extremely high standard.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • Juliet has a sharp mind but is very client focused and also empathetic. She goes the extra mile.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • Juliet is extremely responsive, knowledgeable and technically and commercially astute. She has a great understanding of the industry and clients love her. We have a number of mutual clients who also hold her in high regard.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • They are all hard-working, commercial and pragmatic lawyers who go the extra mile for clients. The firm has a good collegiate culture and a modern settlement-focused approach to litigation.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • Alex Neale is a fantastic lawyer. Great to work with and always puts in the extra effort for clients. He is very capable and conscientious and is excellent at settling disputes.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • Debenhams Ottaway are a very professional and long established firm.

    The Legal 500 UK 2022
  • Constructive and concise explanations, friendly and helpful advice at every turn – we are truly grateful for the help you have given us.

  • The entire service from start to finish was excellent, from the initial phone enquiry to the provision of notes from the solicitor, the whole process was faultless, professional, courteous, high standard from the beginning to the end. I cant recommend this firm enough, truly supportive, helpful and understanding.

  • Kept us informed all the way through the process from start to finish and were very happy with the resolution. Thank you.

  • Ease of contact and very professional in all aspects of the service. Highly recommended.