Partnership and Shareholder Disputes

It is common for people who go into business together, either as partners in an enterprise or shareholders, to have a falling out.

If the relevant governing agreement is properly drawn, that should give the parties some comfort as to the position in the event of a dispute and provide an equitable resolution.  However, the agreement between the parties may be inadequate or even if it is inadequate, it may not prevent the occurrence of the dispute.  We have many years’ experience in dealing with such disputes and we apply our dispute resolution philosophy in such matters.

Our approach to all matters involving disputes between our client and another party is to attempt to resolve the matter preferably without resorting to litigation.  If litigation develops, we attempt to resolve the matter as early as possible in the litigation process.  Before litigation has commenced, we usually try to resolve the matter by negotiating with the other party or with their lawyers if they are represented.

If this fails it may be useful to have a private mediation with an independent lawyer as mediator.  Matters can often be settled this way more quickly and cheaply than proceeding to Court.  A private mediator, being a lawyer, has the advantage that they can tell each of the parties (in private) the mediator’s view of the prospects of the party’s success or otherwise in the matter.

Should Court action be commenced, the parties will be required to attend a confidential, without prejudice, mediation conducted by an officer of the Court who is a lawyer.  The Court’s mediation system has become very successful at settling disputes between the parties.  This is a product of the work of the mediators and the lawyers acting for the parties.  Over 95% of all actions commenced in the Supreme Court are settled without the need to go for a trial.