Shareholder disputes

When executives and co-founders exit a business, whatever the circumstances, it is important to manage the departure on the best terms possible.

We understand that when trusted relationships break down, it can give rise to stressful and time-consuming disputes. Our experts are on hand to provide integrated employment, corporate and litigation advice to businesses and individuals covering all aspects of corporate governance and the working relationship. We will work with you to identify and adopt the best strategy to manage any exit as smoothly as possible.

Our team spans Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific, and we are adept at co-ordinating international litigation and dealing with cross border disputes across a broad range of industry sectors.

We have a wealth of experience advising on shareholder rights and remedies, unfair prejudice and the purchase of shares, and work closely with accountants on share valuation issues. We often act on cases where there is a deadlock between shareholders, and can help take the heat out of the situation by negotiating a shareholder agreement, or alternatively a severance arrangement where one or more shareholders are bought out. We are also experienced in acting for majority shareholders when looking to exit a minority shareholder, often when matters are acrimonious.

There are often various options available when working to resolve your dispute. We can offer methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, but if necessary, we will take cases to trial if this is in your best interests. We are known for our commercial acumen, and clients praise the personal support and understanding we provide, as well as our ability to conclude matters with a win-win result.

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2022 Chambers UK, top ranked for employment: senior executive

2022 Chambers UK, leading firm for employment: employer

2022 Legal 500 UK, top ranked for employment: senior executive

2022 Legal 500 UK, leading firm for employment: employer

2021 Legal 500 UK, top tier firm in commercial litigation: mid-market

2021 Legal 500 UK, top tier firm for senior executives

2021 Chambers UK, leading firm for employers

2021 Legal 500 Caribbean, British Virgin Islands - leading firm for dispute resolution

2021 Legal 500 Asia Pacific, leading firm for dispute resolution

2021 Legal 500 EMEA, Italy - leading firm for dispute resolution

2020 Chambers UK, top ranked in employment: senior executives

Legal 500 UK 2019: Leading firm for commercial litigation

Leading firm for commercial dispute resolution


My relationship with Withers started in 2015 and has directly involved dealing with their employment, corporate and family law teams. My counsel excelled in delivering a truly personable approach; taking the time to understand me, my story and values: providing exactly the right advice, guidance and support to fit my needs. Their knowledge in their discipline and that provided by colleagues on interrelated issues, was always accurate, up-to-date, detailed and proactively provided, often pre-empting any issues long before they developed and ensured my advice was complete and all possibilities covered. It’s in part, because of these amazing people that I was able to move forward through a very challenging time.

Sean McInnes, Veterinary Surgeon & Life Coach

Whilst Withers is a well known large firm, they made it like a little boutique, very close to their client with a lot of various legal support within the firm with different specialities as well as external support…this helped to feel completely supported and benefitting from their experience. This was essential when going though some very up and down times.

Legal 500 UK, 2022

Sophisticated litigators who protect their clients on costs, and appreciate and take steps to mitigate or eliminate the unpredictability of litigation

Legal 500 UK, 2022

Very well regarded employment team not only for employers but also for individuals.

Legal 500 UK, 2022

Withers are highly capable when it comes to disputes resulting from breakdowns of employment relationships.

Chambers UK, 2022

Meet the team

How the team can help

Track record

Croly v Good

In the leading case of Croly v Good, we acted for the successful petitioner - a minority shareholder in a quasi-partnership. Due to the conduct of the majority shareholder, he was ordered to purchase our client's shares valued at the date of his exclusion rather than at the date of trial, resulting in a much higher share valuation for our client.

CEO of an international pharmaceutical company

We acted for the CEO of an international and award winning pharmaceutical company in relation to her acrimonious exit. As a co-founder of the business and a minority shareholder, we negotiated the terms of her multi-million pound settlement, working closing with one of the top four accountants on valuation issues.

Shareholder’s dispute in Cyprus

We are coordinating litigation arising from a shareholder’s dispute in Cyprus, Anguilla and Belize on behalf of Russian shareholders in a global financial business.

Cross border minority shareholder dispute

We are acting for the majority shareholders in a long-running family dispute regarding the misconduct of a minority shareholder. Proceedings have been issued in various jurisdictions including the UK, Guernsey and the BVI.

Suit No. 629 of 2009/Q:

Acting for the beneficial owner of shares in a group of companies against the companies and their directors and obtaining an anton pillar order.

Energy company shareholder dispute

Advising the Company and the majority shareholders in relation to allegations by a minority shareholder of unfair prejudice, breach of contract and unfair dismissal.

Successful mediation for minority shareholder-director

Advising the minority shareholder-director in relation to allegations of unfair prejudice and mediating a settlement on his behalf.

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