Corporate Disputes

Much investment is undertaken through corporate vehicles.  This has many advantages but also carries the potential for a variety of different types of dispute, often involving court procedures which only apply to company disputes. Our wealth of experience in dealing with these types of disputes enables us to guide our clients towards their commercial objectives.

Before contracting: in the negotiation phase, disputes can arise in relation to exclusivity agreements, the transfer of confidential information and the role of intermediaries. Once a deal has been signed the situation can shift before completion with the result that a party’s willingness to complete is compromised. The practical and legal complexities arising in such circumstances, particularly in a cross-border context can be formidable. Our experienced team will deal with these issues in a way that meets and enhances our clients’ transactional objectives.

After contracting: life is not always straightforward once a deal has been done.  Factual information on which a business decision was based can prove to have been incorrect either as a result of deliberate action or lack of care. Our team has assisted many businesses seeking redress when undisclosed liabilities are presented which would erode shareholder value or resisting unwarranted claims seeking an unjustified price reduction. They also have experience in handling disputes arising post-acquisition with incumbent and co-shareholder management.

Shareholder disputes: the alignment of commercial interests of shareholder groupings can shift with changing market conditions. Extensive trial experience of section 994 petitions places our team ideally to advise whether minority interests have been prejudiced as a result of breaches of directors’ duties, breaches of shareholder agreements or failure to allocate appropriate dividends.

Our Insolvency and restructuring specialists are on hand to advise if a business encounters financial stress and to advise on the particular issues arising when investment has a multi-tiered debt/equity mix. Conflicts may arise between the understandable desire to influence the direction of management and the interests as both investor and creditor which will require early advice and careful management.

In dealing with corporate disputes, our dispute resolution lawyers work closely with colleagues in our Corporate team to formulate solutions and proposals that will help bring disputes to a satisfactory close for our clients.

Representative Corporate Disputes Work

Examples of our team’s corporate dispute experience include:

  • Advised on a claim exceeding £2m involving allegations of conspiracy to injure and breach of fiduciary duty against a company director who set up a competing business and diverted business deals.
  • Advised a client who was being sued by a former business partner who dishonestly claimed a share valued at £600,000 in an asset previously owned the partnership.
  •  Advised on a £1m claim brought by a firm of architects that sued its former Financial Director who was found to have manipulated company records and accounts to disguise his misappropriation of company funds.
  • Advised a mobile telephone supplier in arbitration proceedings brought against a leading telecommunications company in a substantial breach of warranty claim valued at £4m which also involved allegations of fraudulent manipulation of prices.
  • Advised on and settled a claim brought by a property developer in which an allegation of fraudulent misrepresentation was made against a major high street bank in relation to the mis-sale of an interest rate hedging product.
  • Advised a major clothing distributor who sued a manufacturer and a former employee who conspired to exaggerate invoices paid for by the distributor.

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