Our family business clients include companies, limited liability partnerships, joint ventures, and traditional partnerships.

We combine our expertise in partnership and shareholder disputes with our extensive experience of the particular dynamics involved in family businesses and their unique challenges.

Whilst it is sometimes necessary to litigate disputes through the courts, we also understand the importance for many family businesses of negotiating more nuanced solutions, arising from concerns such as privacy, confidentiality, succession, and maintaining family relationships where possible. We work with our clients to provide commercial and pragmatic solutions to complex legal and practical problems. We are mindful of the logistical challenges posed by family trusts and ownership of valuable assets such as property, land and farming businesses.

Collaboration is a key part of our service. We work closely with our Tax, Corporate, Real Estate and Employment colleagues to provide clients with the expert advice that they need.

Areas of focus

Our key areas of focus include:

  • Dissolution and termination of partnerships
  • Dealing with exclusion from Management
  • Unfair prejudice petitions and company shareholder and director actions
  • Ownership of land and assets - by individuals, companies or partnerships
  • Retirement and dismissal of partners, exits from companies, LLPs and joint ventures
  • Partition and division of assets and property
  • Succession planning and succession disputes
  • Proprietary estoppel claims
  • Probate and inheritance issues

Advising a partner in a highly contested dissolution of a farming partnership, involving valuable freehold and leasehold assets (including over 1,000 acres of freehold land and buildings and several Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies), trust property and strategic development land with multi-party interests, complicated ownership arrangements and complex tax issues.

Achieving successful resolution for a minority shareholder in a number of connected family businesses (with a multi-million pound value) run as quasi-partnerships. The businesses held assets including holiday lets and commercial premises as well as the home of one of the family members involved. The case included issue of unfair prejudice petitions prior to successful resolution via a negotiated settlement

Advising a high-profile individual majority shareholder who is the founder of an internationally renowned event in respect of allegations made by family member minority shareholders in the companies running the event, alleging wrongdoing and/or breach of trust/fiduciary duty and/or that the companies were quasi-partnerships.

Acting for siblings (partners and will trustees) in negotiating arrangements for buyout of their shares of a family business and winding up of the original partnership. This highly contentious and hard fought matter was resolved through negotiation with the agreed terms including multiple transfers, forward looking arrangements and overage to preserve the interest of the bought out siblings in future development arrangements.

Advising a professional services business with a complex corporate structure, involving a contested dismissal of a senior partner, dealing with subsequent breaches of restrictive covenants and a subsequent restructure of the business.

Negotiating arrangements for exit from a major joint venture between our client's family farming business and another business, as well as transfer of assets, assignment of leases and arrangements related to livestock and deadstock.

Acting for a client in relation to a significant number of inherited shareholdings in family businesses, including connected tax advice and input. The matter includes numerous complex freehold and leasehold assets as well as equestrian assets and a number of valuable horses.

Resisting a proprietary estoppel claims in relation to a family business where allegations of a variety of promises had been made. The matter involved complex issues around residential properties, a dispute over livestock ownership and advice on practical solutions for ceasing operation of a livestock focused business.

Meet the team
Michael Ward

Michael Ward Partner

  • Shareholder disputes, partner disputes and LLP disputes
  • Director duty disputes
  • Material contract disputes
Maddie Dunn

Maddie Dunn Senior Associate

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Food and Farming 
  • Partnership Disputes

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