We offer a comprehensive suite of dispute resolution services geared towards personalised service to our clients and offer on-site visits and in-house seminars to keep our clients informed of developments that affect them.
We provide expert advice and counsel in areas including:
shareholder and business ownership disputes
farm business disputes
mortgage default and debt recovery
retail and commercial tenancy
land ownership disputes
professional negligence claims
disputes with regulatory bodies and government agencies including ASIC and ACCC
trusts and will disputes
owners corporation disputes
To focus on just a few of these:
Commercial litigation is a key feature of our dispute resolution and litigation practice. We advise on contractual disputes including trade practices claims, disputes in relation to land, partnership and shareholders’ disputes, recovery of debt, commercial tenancy disputes and claims in relation to defective equipment.
Commercial litigation is a large umbrella and no two matters are identical, but our years in this field mean that there is a wealth of experience we can draw on to address each client’s circumstances.
Shareholder and business ownership disputes
Many small to medium sized businesses face disputes between shareholders. Often these shareholders are family members. Shareholder disputes typically take the form of “oppression” claims commenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria under the provisions of s 233 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Although individual disputes will differ, all these disputes have in common allegations that the affairs of a company have been conducted in an oppressive manner.
Oppression claims are commonly instituted by minority shareholders where they believe:
they have been “shut out” of the company’s decision making process; and/or
the majority shareholders have been making decisions for the benefit of some, rather than all of the shareholders.
Examples of specific conduct giving rise to a potential oppression claim include:
the misuse of company funds;
payment of excessive remuneration to directors or their associates;
exclusion from management and meetings;
refusing to allow access to company information; and
the issue of additional shares for the purpose of diluting a shareholding.
Oppression claims are particularly common in family companies, where decisions are often made with personal, as well as commercial objectives. The dispute resolution team at Harwood Andrews is well equipped to assist small to medium sized business navigate these multifaceted circumstances.
Owners corporation disputes
If you are an apartment or unit owner it is likely you are part of an owners corporation. As a member there are certain procedures that must be followed which you may not even be aware of. It is important that owners corporation members and committee members understand these procedures, their rights and responsibilities.
The procedures involved with owners corporations can become quite complicated and where they are not followed it can result in costly consequences. This is why it is imperative for property owners or committees to ensure they are compliant and are obtaining the right legal advice