Questions to ask your advisor in a business partner dispute

Posted: Thursday, 13 July 2017 @ 17:45

Whom do you turn to when you’re in dispute with your business partner(s) and what should you ask them?  

How do you know whether your accountant or local solicitor is the best person to advise you?  

For many business owners and directors, their first port of call is their accountant. After all, they have often been with you from the start, they know what you’re all about and understand your business plans.  

It may be that your accountant is great with figures and tax issues and has a wise head when it comes to giving general business advice but is he or she the right person to advise you on how to deal with a dispute?  

And what about the local solicitor who helped you with your lease or in setting up your company? Are they the best person to advise you on your dispute?  

So how do you find out who’s the best person to advise you? The best way is to speak to them on the phone, explain your position and ask them the key questions. Then you can judge how effectively they answer them.  

The following is a list of questions that any advisor should be able to deal with when advising on a directors’, shareholders’ or partnership dispute.  

  • What can I claim for and how much can I claim?  
  • How do I sort the wood from the trees? What’s important for me to bring up in the dispute and what is not?  
  • How do I assess whether my business partner’s arguments stand up and how strong they are?  
  • What are my best points, and how should I set them out to be the most persuasive and effective?  
  • How can I best get my business partner to engage with me to solve this dispute when they want to ignore it?  
  • How can I enforce my rights if we can’t negotiate a settlement?  
  • How long will it take to reach closure?  
  • How much will it all cost?  
  • It’s all well and good knowing what I can claim, but what am I likely to receive in reality?  
  • What would a good deal look like for me?  
  • Once we’ve reached a settlement, how should it be recorded so it can be enforced if they breach it or change their mind?  

They might not be able to give the answers straight away but they should be able to give you a rough idea and let you know what further information is needed before they can advise you in more detail. If they can’t do that, you’re probably dealing with the wrong person.  


Blog by Gary Cousins
Gary has been providing legal advice to shareholders, directors and business owners for over 25 years. Specialising in dispute resolution Gary is based in Birmingham with clients throughout the UK and overseas. View profile
Call Gary on +44 (0)121 778 3212 or by email
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

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