Shareholder disputes have been likened to a “corporate divorce” and disputes between shareholders can be hugely damaging to any business. If you get into a dispute with a shareholder, it is vital to take independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

At Ashtons Legal, our commercial disputes lawyers have the expert knowledge and experience to guide you to a cost-effective and speedy resolution of the dispute.

Our solicitors take a pragmatic view of shareholder disputes, ensuring that our clients fully understand their legal position, the sort of outcome they may be able to achieve and the likely costs that will be involved.

Wherever possible, we will use various forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution to reach an amicable resolution without court proceedings, but we will also be prepared to provide robust court representation where necessary.

Our shareholder disputes expertise

We have experience with advising both shareholders and companies regarding:

  • claims of unfair prejudice
  • derivative actions
  • breach of director’s duties
  • breach of shareholder agreements
  • the effect and meaning of your company’s Articles of Association.

Our Approach to Shareholder Disputes

Our solicitors recognise that a shareholders’ dispute can be hugely distracting for the business owners and cause the business to underperform financially. They are experienced at providing commercially grounded advice, which does not just focus on the legalities but also takes full account of the impact on a business of the different outcomes.

Prevention is always better than the cure, and therefore, having an expertly drafted Shareholders’ Agreement in place can help prevent disputes by regulating the relationships between shareholders. And, if the worst happens, and you and your co-owners become embroiled in a dispute, a Shareholders’ Agreement can help the parties resolve the dispute. For more information on Shareholders’ Agreements and why you should have one, please see our article 10 reasons why your company should have a shareholders’ agreement.

There are various ways of resolving a shareholder dispute other than going to court, such as mediation, arbitration or an early neutral evaluation. These processes are forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution or “ADR”. But if ADR fails or the other party refuses, our experts have the skills and experience to guide you through the court processes.

Shareholder disputes usually throw up other legal issues, such as directors’ duties, employment obligations, contractual issues and ownership questions relating to intellectual property rights. Our team is experienced in advising on these issues.

Contact Our Shareholder Disputes Solicitors in East Anglia

For practical advice on shareholder disputes, get in touch with your local Ashtons Legal team in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich or Norwich.

To set up an initial consultation:

Our Shareholder Disputes Solicitors

Our experienced commercial litigators are supported by our team of corporate and commercial lawyers. Together, we are able to provide our clients with well-rounded commercial advice which seeks to avoid costly litigation. Our team has the skills, experience and strength in depth to ensure that you get the best advice.

Our Dispute Resolution team is led by Michael Frape and Tom Bailey. Please do get in contact with them if you have a potential shareholder dispute.

Shareholder Disputes FAQs

How Does a Shareholder Dispute Get Resolved?

A shareholder dispute could potentially be avoided altogether by having an expertly drafted Shareholders’ Agreement in place. This helps to regulate the relationship between shareholders, preventing any avoidable misunderstandings or breaches of contract.

If a shareholder’s dispute cannot be resolved through a Shareholders’ Agreement, then various forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will be explored, such as mediation, arbitration and early neutral evaluation.

Court proceedings are usually the final resort if an agreement cannot be resolved amicably.

How Long Does a Shareholder Dispute Take?

The time it takes to resolve a shareholder dispute will depend on a number of different factors, which means it is often difficult to provide a precise timescale.

Naturally, if a dispute can be resolved through a Shareholders’ Agreement or out of court using ADR, then the issue can be put aside much quicker. In contrast, if litigation is the only way forward to ensure that the right outcome is reached, the case will take much longer to reach its conclusion.

What Legal Rights Do Shareholders Have?

Company shareholders have a wide range of legal rights and responsibilities, many of which often form the basis of a shareholder dispute. Company shareholder’s legal rights may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Attend general meetings
  • Vote on company affairs
  • Receive annual accounts
  • Inspect directors service contracts
  • Inspect company information
  • Bring claims against directors
  • Appoint proxies.

However. the specific rights that a shareholder might have will depend on the terms of a company’s Shareholders’ Agreement, Articles of association and Class Rights.

Contact Our Shareholder Disputes Solicitors

For practical advice on shareholder disputes, get in touch with your local Ashtons Legal team in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich or Norwich.

To set up an initial consultation:


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