Shareholder Disputes

Shareholder Dispute Lawyers

Disputes between shareholders in a company or, similarly, a dispute between business partners, come about in diverse ways. They can arise in companies of all shapes and sizes.

Commercial litigation lawyers have a deep understanding of the Corporations Act and litigation and are best positioned to help you resolve a shareholder dispute.

Common issues bringing about shareholder disputes are:

  • a shareholder behaving irresponsibly or even fraudulently, sickness of a shareholder or disappointment that one shareholder is not doing his or her share.
  • parties want to pursue other activities.
  • one shareholder is behaving oppressively by not acting in the best interests of other shareholders, which can take many forms such as:
    • behaving contrary to the interests of the members as a whole;
    • denying access to company documents;
    • using company money improperly;
    • excluding shareholders / directors from meetings; and
    • misusing company money.

Shareholder disputes, while common, are unique as shareholder agreements and company’s affairs are all variable. They usually require careful consideration of both the shareholder agreement and common law rights to determine your position and work towards a resolution.

Seeking legal advice early is usually the best way to refine, contain and quickly resolve the issues in dispute.

We can act and advise you quickly and thoroughly to assist you in seeking the best outcome.

There are usually many options available when a dispute arises between shareholders. An experienced commercial litigation lawyer will be able to lay these out for you.

Obtain Legal Advice Early…

Obtaining legal advice from a litigation lawyer who is experienced in shareholder disputes is what you need in your corner. A great lawyer will be able to give you options to resolve your dispute – as there is often more than one option. If a negotiated settlement can be reached before the matter goes to court, this is often the best outcome for all concerned.

A court is the only authority that can force a party to act in a certain manner. For this reason, litigation may be required to get the outcomes that you desire.

If a shareholder dispute goes to court, the judge can make the following types of orders:

  • An order for the company to be wound up.
  • Orders that have the effect of modifying the company’s constitution
  • appoint a receiver.
  • Orders that one shareholder purchase the shares of another.
  • Orders that the company is to engage in or discontinue legal proceedings.
  • An order modifying or repealing the constitution of the company.
  • Orders grant an injunction, having the effect of restraining a party from doing a certain thing.
  • Orders requiring a person to do a specified act.

Litigation is certainly not always necessary. However, it can effectively be used as a tool where parties are not coming to the table, to force a resolution and end date to the dispute.
It is common for disputes to be resolved amid court-based litigation after the parties to the dispute are forced into action. Agreements can be reached by a variety of ways such as settlement offers or mediation.

There are many reasons that give rise to a shareholder dispute, but these are not always ultimately relevant to how the dispute is resolved. The conduct of the company and relationship between the parties can determine what course of action is taken.

We regularly provide legal advice to shareholders, in particular we provide advice in relation to dealing with the resolution of disputes, and where necessary, representing shareholders in litigation.

The law is extraordinarily complex in this area. Getting sound legal advice early will arm you with the right information. This way, you can make an informed decision based on your legal position and knowledge of strategies to implement. These can be both legal and commercial strategies.

We have acted for many SME’s and individuals in complex disputes between shareholders, and we can help you too. We look for cost-effective ways to resolve disputes.

Whether you are a minority shareholder or have a major stake, you will want the best outcome that meets your interests. Our shareholder dispute lawyers can provide the concise and commercially sound advice to help you resolve your matter.

We Can Help – Contact Us Today

Our litigation lawyers are based in Melbourne and can act in many different courts and tribunals. Our lawyers have helped many individuals and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprise) with resolving their shareholder disputes.

To discuss your matter further please call us on 1300 907 335 or alternatively fill out the contact form on this page and we will respond to your enquiry promptly.

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