As with any business or personal partnership, dealing with the fallout of a dispute or disagreement can be challenging, especially in cases where tax or other financial factors must be considered.
If a partnership dispute is not resolved quickly and effectively, subsequent implications could lead to extensive and expensive legal battles.
Still, business partnership disputes are not uncommon. Research shows that approximately 50% of business partnerships fail or are dissolved over time.
In this article, Langley Wellington’s team of experienced dispute resolution legal professionals look at how to deal with business partnership disputes constructively and how best to protect your interests, should you face such a matter.
What are partnership agreements?
A partnership agreement is a legal document specifying a relationship between business partners, including each partner’s roles, responsibilities and liability (how their financial ownership is split). Partnership agreements are essential since, no matter the partner’s relationship, even friends or family, it is impossible to know any potential disagreements that may arise. A formal, conclusive partnership agreement ensures that all parties know where they stand should a dispute arise.
The most beneficial and comprehensive partnership agreements should include precise instructions on handling disagreements and disputes, and the process that should be taken should the partners wish to dissolve the business.
What happens if I don’t have a partnership agreement?
Partnership disputes that do not have a detailed partnership agreement to refer to, can become complicated, lengthy and expensive due to potential court proceedings. Without a formal agreement, knowing ‘who owns or is responsible for what’ can be highly challenging.
In cases where there is no partnership agreement, the Partnership Act 1890 will apply. Furthermore, if partners fail to come to an agreement, and there is no partnership agreement, it may be that they share all of the company’s profits equally, which could, in some cases, be unfair.
Depending on the type of partnership you are part of, whether it be a general partnership, limited partnership or limited liability partnership, there are specific processes to follow. In all cases, it is sensible to seek the appropriate legal advice to ensure that legal or regulatory obligations are followed.
Should I speak to a solicitor about dispute resolution?
Knowing where you stand concerning your partnership agreement is vital, particularly when disputes arise. To ensure you fully understand your rights, you should speak to a trusted dispute solicitor, who will help you navigate the agreement and provide specialist guidance on your next steps. Speaking to a solicitor is always wise in this situation; however, it is highly recommended if you are in dispute whereby the relationship between yourself and another partner is strained.
At Langley Wellington, we will always try and resolve your matter through alternative dispute resolution (ADR); however, in cases where mediation or other ADR methods fail, we have the resources and experience to professionally and competently support you through your court case.
Partnership and Director Dispute Solicitors
At Langley Wellington, based in Gloucester and Cheltenham, we have a team of experienced dispute resolution lawyers focused on finding the right dispute resolution strategy for you, should you find yourself in this position.
Our decades of combined experience allow us to carefully answer any questions and provide straightforward, pragmatic advice and guidance to ensure you achieve your objectives, whether to resolve a dispute or dissolve the partnership altogether.
This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.