The typical structure of a business partnership and a limited liability partnership (LLP) gives all partners equal rights and authority within the organisation. When a dispute occurs between partners, therefore, it can be difficult for them to resolve the conflict between themselves.
Such disagreements can be legally complex and have serious repercussions for everyone involved and the business as a whole. If left to degenerate into a damaging prolonged feud, disputes within partnerships and LLPs can cost a great deal of time and money and put those involved under a great deal of stress.
Expert legal advice is vital if you want to secure the most satisfactory conclusion without delay.
The chief aim of any method of settling a dispute between partners is to ensure a fair outcome for the individuals concerned and minimal disruption to the operation of the business.
If you have a partnership agreement or a members’ agreement in place it will help you resolve a majority of issues before they become disputes. If there’s no partnership or members’ agreement, then an internal conflict could have serious repercussions. To avoid this damaging scenario, an alternative, mutually acceptable, route to conflict resolution must be found.
Solve Disputes without Going to Court
Our team of skilled partnership and LLP lawyers have years of experience resolving business disputes while keeping personal stress and business disruption to an absolute minimum. Most often, we achieve this without the matter having to go through the courts.
We understand business and we know you want a quick, fair resolution to the conflict. So if a dispute has emerged within your partnership or LLP, let us provide the specialist legal advice you need to deliver the favourable outcome you are seeking.
A faster and cheaper alternative to going to court to settle a partnership dispute is arbitration. In arbitration, the procedure is agreed between all parties, including the arbitrator, and usually involves an analysis of the evidence presented by the people involved in the dispute.
The arbitrator’s final decision will be legally binding – all parties are obliged to accept the ruling. It is enforceable quickly and cost effectively if necessary: just like a Courts Judgement.
Sometimes, the decision to refer a dispute to arbitration is mandatory, stipulated in the Partnership of LLP Agreement. Alternatively, it may be entered into voluntarily.
Why Choose Arbitration?
As well as being a much faster route to conflict resolution than court, arbitration allows for greater autonomy among those involved, giving them more opportunity to contribute to the proceedings effectively and efficiency. Arbitration can be conducted just on the papers, in a hearing or in a hybrid of these options. It is very flexible so for example telephone or video conferences can be scheduled to hear from a witness who would otherwise be unable to attend, perhaps due to illness or location.
There is also flexibility regarding how the situation is resolved and, often a major attraction, proceedings remain private. This is unlike going to court where all information disclosed can be placed on public record.
The Arbitration Agreement will confirm which arbitration rules the arbitrator will adopt. Most give discretion to the arbitrator to secure evidence and invite submissions on the facts and law at their discretion to enable them to fairly make a decision.
Present your Best Case
If you are involved in a partnership dispute and wish to discuss your options, we can help you present the best case possible to the arbitrator. We have presented cases to arbitration panels at short notice.
Rather than imposing a solution, a mediator acts as a facilitator, helping the parties involved arrive at a satisfactory settlement. The mediator is a neutral third party who attempts to encourage both sides of the dispute to consider what would be the best overall outcome for everyone.
Mediation aims to get parties to agree to terms that are mutually beneficial, rather than fighting a battle over who has the law on their side. After successful mediation, the parties will most likely enter into a legally binding agreement.
It is additionally possible to use a niche form of evaluative mediation where the mediator will give an opinion. This is commonplace in the United States and one of our partners was amongst the first in the UK to acquire qualification in this emerging method early in 2016. However this approach is only used when the parties want it to be and most law firms, solicitors and barristers have little experience of it so it is yet to enter widespread use. If you think it might help you please contact us for more details.
Why Choose Mediation?
A mediator is not authorised to enforce a settlement on either party. They simply assist the progress of the negotiations. The mediation process typically takes shorter time and costs less than both arbitration and court proceedings.
As successful mediation takes place, it works towards a solution that is long-lasting and mutually beneficial. If, on the other hand, the mediation is unsuccessful, there is still the option of taking the dispute to court.
Experts in Mediation
We provide expert advice on all kinds of partnership disputes. With years of experience helping partnerships resolve disagreements, we can help you to achieve a successful outcome that achieves the best result for you and your business.
If you are involved in a conflict of some sort within your partnership and wish to discuss your options, our team of partnership solicitors can help to deliver a speedy, effective solution to your dispute.
We also provide general workplace and employment mediation. To find our more please contact our Employment team.
Senior Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution & Insolvency