There are many decisions, both big and small, that shareholders need to make so that their businesses can run smoothly and effectively. Where there are disagreements over those decisions, it can be very disruptive to a business, with the potential to impact a company’s commercial success and key relationships within the organisation.
If you are involved in a shareholder dispute, it can be very frustrating, acting as a major distraction from running your business and putting your investment at risk. While it is understandable to want to resolve the matter in house, calling in expert help is often the best way to unlock a dispute, serve the interests of the business and protect the value of your shares.
If you are dealing with a shareholder dispute and cannot see a way forward, our expert commercial dispute resolution team can help.
Lavelle Solicitors have a strong track history of effectively resolving even the most complex and contentious shareholder disputes. We understand that your business and your disputes are unique, so offer clear, practical advice tailored to your needs and those of the company.
With decades of experience across our team, we can provide a neutral assessment of your legal position and the various options for resolving your dispute, then find the right solution for you, whether through an out-of-court settlement or via court proceedings if required.
We can also advise you on the steps you can take to avoid the risk of further disputes in the future, including reviewing your articles of association and shareholders’ agreement to ensure any potential points of conflict can be dealt with proactively.
For efficient, commercially astute legal assistance to resolve a shareholder dispute, please get in touch with our expert team now.
Call: (01) 644 5800 Email: [email protected]
Types of shareholder disputes we can handle for you
Our shareholder disputes solicitors can assist you with resolving conflicts over a wide range of issues, including:
- The future direction of the business
- Payment of dividends
- Share sales
- Transfer of shares
- Acquiring or disposing of company assets
- Company acquisitions, mergers and disposals
To find out more about how we can help resolve your shareholder dispute, please contact Ciarán Leavy.
How we can resolve a shareholder dispute for you
We realise how sensitive shareholder disputes can be, with the need to balance finding a solution that works for you and the business against preserving a positive relationship between shareholders where you need to continue working together.
To that end, we will listen to your concerns and approach the dispute in a way that reflects your priorities. In most cases, this means seeking to find an amicable resolution through negotiation and/or Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), with court proceedings generally being a last resort.
We have strong skills in a number of different ADR methods, so can offer different options to match your circumstances. However, we also have strong experience with taking court action to resolve shareholder disputes where required, so whatever approach is needed, we can provide the necessary expertise.
Arbitration for shareholder disputes
Arbitration can be a very efficient and effective way to resolve shareholder disputes. For this reason, it is common for shareholders’ agreements to contain an ‘arbitration clause’ specifying that any dispute must be dealt with through arbitration.
The process involves one of our arbitrators acting as an independent third-party who will investigate the circumstances surrounding the dispute, then provide a decision on how they believe the dispute should be resolved.
All of the shareholders involved in the dispute will need to agree to use arbitration and sign an arbitration agreement committing you to accept the arbitrator’s decision. Where your shareholders’ agreement contains an arbitration clause, a separate arbitration agreement may not be required.
Arbitration is often favoured for shareholder disputes because it can allow you to get an answer faster than relying on other dispute resolution options or court proceedings, while also offering a definitive solution for even the most challenging legal conflicts.
Mediation for shareholder disputes
Mediation focuses on getting the shareholders involved in the dispute to agree a solution together under the guidance of a trained, independent commercial mediator.
The process involves the shareholders coming together to talk through the points of contention and work towards agreeing a way forward that everyone can accept and that protects the business.
The mediator acts as a neutral third-party to help facilitate discussions between shareholders and to sidestep any potential conflict, helping to keep the process productive and non-confrontational.
The advantages of mediation include allowing the shareholders to keep control over the process of resolving the dispute and helping to defuse tensions between shareholders by encouraging them to air their grievances in a positive way and work through them together.
Mediation may involve a number of sessions, depending on how complicated the dispute is and how quickly you can agree a solution. However, it is almost always significantly faster and less costly than court proceedings.
You will be able to have any agreement you make through mediation reviewed by your own independent solicitors before making the agreement legally binding and anything you disclose during mediation cannot be used in any subsequent court proceedings, protecting you from the risk of weakening your position with any concessions you might make.
Litigation for shareholder disputes
In some cases, court proceedings may be the only option to resolve a shareholder dispute. If you wish to pursue court action, our dispute resolution solicitors can provide the experienced support and skilled representation you need at every stage of proceedings.
We can advise you on whether court proceedings are likely to result in a positive outcome for you and your business, as well as making sure you understand all of the implications of pursuing this action. We can also explore all opportunities for an out-of-court settlement, helping to ensure we serve your best interests at all times
Our commercial dispute resolution team have a proven track record of successfully pursuing business disputes in court proceedings at all levels, including in the High Court, Supreme Court, Circuit and District Courts.
Avoiding shareholder disputes
In many cases, shareholder disputes come down to a difference of interpretation between the various parties over the contents of the company’s articles of association or a shareholder agreement. Any ambiguity in the way these vital documents are written can lead to potential conflict, so the simplest and most effective way to avoid potential shareholder disputes is to have a very clearly written, unambiguous articles of association and shareholder agreements.
By accounting for all of the possible scenarios where shareholders will need to take a decision and setting out how those decisions should be made, good articles of association and shareholder agreements will make disputes much less likely, saving you time, money and unnecessary conflict.
Our commercial law solicitors are experts in helping the parties investing in a business to negotiate articles of association and shareholder agreements that reflect their individual concerns and the needs of the business. We can help you to get the right agreement in place that foresees any potential problems and provides a clear framework for dealing with those issues. This can help to ensure you are able to act efficiently and effectively as shareholders while keeping conflict to a minimum.
To find out more about how we can help you avoid shareholder disputes, please contact our Corporate & Commercial Law team.
Our fees for shareholder dispute resolution
The cost of resolving a shareholder dispute will depend on the complexity of the issues involved, the approach we need to take and the time required to resolve the dispute.
In general, resolving a shareholder dispute out of court, whether through negotiation, arbitration or other methods, will incur lower legal fees than if court proceedings are required.
We will be happy to advise you at the outset of our relevant hourly rates and any other costs, such as court fees, that you may be likely to incur in the course of dealing with your dispute.
Our shareholder dispute resolution expertise
Lavelle Solicitors is one Ireland’s top law firms for Dispute Resolution, being ranked Tier 4 by leading client guide the Legal 500.
Ciarán Leavy has more than 13 years’ experience advising and representing Lavelle’s clients in relation to all types of personal and business disputes. Ciarán is known for achieving positive outcomes for clients facing even the most complex and contentious disputes and has been recognised by the Legal 500 for his “technical knowledge and interpersonal skills” as well as the “first-class” team that he leads.
Marc Fitzgibbon has been advising clients in relation to all types of legal disputes, including shareholder disputes, for more than 30 years. Marc is a Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) accredited mediator and has been praised in the Legal 500 for his “highly practical” approach.
Speak to our shareholder dispute resolution solicitors now
To start the process of resolving a shareholder dispute or to find out more, please get in touch with our expert team now.
Call: (01) 644 5800 Email: [email protected]