director, shareholder & partnership disputes
For a business to be successful, everyone needs to pull in the same direction. That is why disputes between owners, managers and investors need to be handled with care, and with the benefit of legal advice which is designed to protect both personal and commercial interests.
At Geoffrey Leaver, we have a team of experienced dispute resolution and litigation lawyers who specialise in finding solutions to conflicts between directors, shareholders and partners, and who have a proven track record in doing so quickly and as economically as possible.
We can help you to resolve a dispute informally, through negotiation, or via a range of dispute resolution mechanisms including mediation, expert determination, early neutral evaluation, adjudication, arbitration and, if necessary, court proceedings.
We offer a range of funding options and can assist whether your dispute arises in the context of a new startup, a partnership, a family run business, a joint venture or a local, national or international company.
How we can help
We can support you in resolving disputes involving:
- breaches of statutory or fiduciary duties;
- breaches of contractual obligations, including confidentiality and non-compete provisions;
- failure to act in accordance with a company’s articles of association, a shareholders agreement or other constitutional documentation;
- fraudulent behaviour or other illegal activity;
- failure to disclose a conflict of interest;
- breaches of a director’s service agreement, including employment-based claims;
- director dismissal or removal;
- disagreement between a director and the rest of the board;
- disagreement between a director and one or more shareholders;
- what should happen to a dismissed director’s shareholding;
- the enforceability of a director’s personal guarantee for company debts; and
- insolvency proceedings which raise issues about director conduct.
- disagreement between majority and minority shareholders;
- disagreement between the holders of different classes of shares;
- disagreement between shareholders and directors, or the company’s board as a whole;
- conflict arising out of a proposed company sale;
- attempts to force the sale or transfer of a shareholder’s interest;
- the ability of shareholders to take legal proceedings in the company’s name, e.g. through a derivative action;
- the ability of shareholders to intervene in company business where their rights are not being respected, e.g. by bringing an unfair prejudice claim; and
- insolvency proceedings which raise questions about shareholder rights and obligations.
- disagreement between individual partners;
- disagreement about the interpretation of a partnership agreement;
- disagreement about liability for partnership debts;
- attempts to have a partner removed;
- uncertainty about the impact of a partner’s death, incapacity or bankruptcy; and
- problems arising out of partnership insolvency.
What are the typical stages of the dispute resolution process?
When you come to us for help in resolving a dispute, the first thing we will do is to meet with you to find out what has happened and to review any relevant documents. We will then be in a position to advise you on where you stand and to help you devise a strategy for dealing with the dispute which aligns with your aims and objectives – subject to any legal constraints.
Unless there is an agreement or constitutional document in place which prescribes the use of a particular dispute resolution mechanism, we will usually start by contacting your opponent and trying to resolve things via correspondence or perhaps face-to-face meetings.
If this does not work, then we will explore whether the nature of your dispute might be capable of resolution via mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution process which avoids the need to escalate the matter to the court. In this regard, it is worth pointing out that Guy Brooks in our team is an accredited mediator.
Where ADR is not appropriate, or where it is attempted but fails to result in the dispute being settled, then as a matter of last resort we can support you to issue legal proceedings.
What if I need an injunction?
Where an injunction is needed – for example, to stop a former director from acting in breach of a non-complete clause in their service contract – then we can act quickly in helping you to secure the necessary order from the court. We can also help you to obtain a freezing order where there is evidence to suggest that a director or shareholder is trying to rid themselves of their assets in an attempt to avoid having to meet any liabilities that they may owe.
Why choose Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors?
Our dispute resolution and litigation team have a wealth of experience in dealing with commercial disputes, and particularly those involving directors, shareholders and partnerships.
By speaking to us as soon as an issue arises, we can inform you of your legal rights and obligations, the strength of your position, potential risk factors to bear in mind and the steps you can take to achieve your personal and commercial objectives, and to protect yourself from harm.
We have an impressive track record when it comes to achieving settlement out of court, with the majority of the disputes we are asked to deal with being compromised – either before proceedings are issued or, alternatively, before a formal trial takes place.
To find out more, please call us now on 01908 692769 and ask to speak to a member of the team. You may also want to sign up to our newsletter, visit our resource hub or read some of our client feedback.
What our clients say:
“Kenneth Stangoe has provided exceptional services in the particular field of work that he specialises in.”
Bishop Donald Bolt, National Secretary New Testament Church of God
For more information about how we can help, you can read testimonials from our dispute resolution clients
Chambers & Partners 2021 notes the team is well-respected and active on a wide range of contractual claims and commercial disputes, including unfair prejudice claims and fraud-related proceedings. Local and international clientele comes from a variety of industry sectors, and also includes private individuals and SMEs. One client commends the “proactive, engaging and considerate” nature of the team.
Chambers & Partners 2020 says ‘Well-respected team active on a wide range of contractual claims and commercial disputes, including unfair prejudice claims and fraud-related proceedings. Local and international clientele comes from a variety of industry sectors, and also includes private individuals and SMEs.’
Legal 500 2020 says ‘Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s dispute resolution and litigation practice specialises in commercial property disputes, distribution and agency agreements, debt collection and director, shareholder and partnership disputes. Its work includes dealing with injunctions and freezing orders and work in areas such as insolvency, international trade and IT and e-commerce. Practice head Kenneth Stangoe, Trevor Coward, Guy Brooks and Richard Millard are the key contacts’
The Dispute Resolution & Litigation Team
Ken Stangoe Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689307Ken is Head of the Department. He has over 20 years' experience as a commercial litigator, with a heavy focus on property disputes, including forfeiture actions and applications for relief, right of way disputes, rent recovery for commercial landlords, trusts of land, dilapidations claims, boundary disputes, rent and service charge recovery and lease renewal applications.
Richard Millard Managing Partner
Construction & Development 01908 689382Richard has over 20 years’ experience acting for clients in the construction industry, providing pragmatic advice to developers, contractors, sub-contractors, design and construction professionals, housing associations, smaller builders and homeowners.
Guy Brooks Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689304Guy has more than 30 years’ experience in the legal profession and headed up the Commercial Litigation department of local firm Fennemores, before joining Geoffrey Leaver as joint head of the Dispute Resolution department in 2006. The Dispute Resolution department have been recognised by Legal 500 UK.
Trevor Coward Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689311Trevor specialises in the closely connected fields of commercial litigation, partner/director disputes, insolvency, property litigation, and professional negligence. His background is one of broad experience across a wide range of commercial litigation. He is a member of Legal Counsel International, an alliance of lawyers in 17 countries.