Commercial Disputes

Have you found yourself in a dispute with a supplier, an employee, a customer or another organisation and you need legal support?

We will guide you through the dispute resolution process with as little disruption to your business as possible. Our lawyers emphasise strategic, practical and cost-effective legal advice with a focus on resolving your dispute.

You should feel confident that you can get on with your business, while we help you to resolve the dispute.

We can assist you regardless of whether your matter requires alternative dispute resolution, mediation or arbitration, debt recovery or litigation in the courts.

Our lawyers can promptly review your documents, including contracts, service agreements, terms and conditions, and your internal corporate or partnership documents.

We can assist you in settling disputes with regulatory authorities, such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Building & construction

Are you a builder in a dispute with a homeowner? Or are you a sub-contractor in a dispute with a head contractor?

In a building dispute, it is important to speak to us early in the piece. We can help you reduce the likelihood of litigation which can be time-consuming and costly. We can guide you in alternative ways to resolve the dispute. Our goal will be to move your project towards completion, reduce delays and stress, open up communication and minimise associated legal costs to you. Avoiding court and using alternative methods of dispute resolution are common in the Canberra building and construction market.

Of course, should the conflict not be resolved, we can facilitate the preparation of expert reports, prepare your case for litigation, and assist you to get the best result.

Consumer law

Do you require assistance in resolving disputes with suppliers, service providers or customers?

The Australian Consumer Law provides protection to consumers in relation to:

  • Consumer guarantees – including responsibilities for refund and repayments
  • Sales practices – such unsolicited consumer agreements, lay-by schemes Unfair contract terms
  • Unfair business practices – such as misleading or deceptive conduct, false and misleading representations
  • Compliance and enforcement
  • Consumer product safety – including recalls

In some circumstances, specific authorisation is required from the ACCC to carry on your business, or a part of your business.

We have expertise in preparing the necessary documentation and working with you and the ACCC to obtain the necessary approvals. We provide organisations with commercially-focused, strategic, timely, cost-effective and practical solutions. We understand the risks involved and we will take account of the unique circumstances that apply in your matter.


Contract disputes

Do you, and another party to a contract, disagree on the interpretation of the contract?

Contract disputes are probably the most common form of commercial dispute that we encounter. Disputes can arise over the terms and the application of a contract between shareholders, joint venture partners, vendors and resellers, employees and employers, franchisees and franchisors, retailers and their suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors, property owners and tenants, property developers and investors.

We can assist you in a contractual dispute to consider terms, oral agreements, liabilities, risks and recourse associated with the dispute. We can also assist you to enforce a contract or effectively extricate you from a contract.

Debt recovery

The recovery of debts owing to your business should rank at the top of your priorities in financial management. The law provides clear procedures to clarify what you should do about accounts owing to you. We can advise you in relation to:

  • Debt recovery proceedings in the Federal, ACT and NSW courts and Tribunals
  • Bankruptcies
  • Company searches, status enquiries
  • Corporate voluntary administration
  • Debt agreements
  • Liquidations
  • Receiverships
  • Statutory demands and insolvency

It is important to see us at your earliest opportunity with all relevant documentation so that we can advise you as to the best options and appropriate procedures.

Employment disputes

Workplace issues are increasingly in the spotlight. Your workplace may have policies and procedures for dealing with employee disputes concerning discrimination, bullying & harassment as well as unfair dismissal claims, employment contracts, redundancy entitlements and workplace investigations. However, there are some occasions where an employment dispute requires independent legal advice.

We can assist with instances where it is alleged that your workplace has:

  • Not met workplace obligations
  • Not complied with its own policies and procedures
  • Been inconsistent in the treatment of employees
  • Not followed dispute procedures
  • No policies or procedures to cover workplace practices, disputes and investigations.

In addition, you may require independent legal advice to deal with employee misconduct. A poor workplace investigation can have many negative consequences. Our involvement, as independent experienced workplace investigators, can ensure a timely response with a process that is effective and conducted fairly.

For more information on employment issues such as preparation of policies, contracts, engagement of contractors, redundancies, and more see our employment page.

Insolvency & administration

As a business owner, what are your rights, risks and obligations associated with insolvency or going into administration? We can advise you on all aspects of the law regarding insolvency and administration, including:

  • What to do if you think you are at risk of being made insolvent
  • Your rights and obligations once you have been made insolvent
  • Advice to liquidators, administrators, companies in liquidation or under administration
  • Acting for liquidators and other insolvency practitioners before the courts
  • Advising liquidators, creditors and others in relation to insolvent transactions, for example, preference claims and uncommercial transaction claims
  • Acting for liquidators and trustees, and directors in relation to public examinations
  • Acting for directors and other parties in relation to directors duties
  • Acting for financiers and various third parties in relation to assets secured or otherwise including the PPSR Advice to businesses regarding statutory demands and creditor’s petitions

IP

Do you need assistance in stopping competitors or employees using your intellectual property (IP) or damaging your reputation?

Protecting your IP and preventing infringements is critical for your business.

Infringement is the most common type of IP dispute and covers those instances where your IP is used without your permission.

Increasingly common is the misuse or theft of corporate IP by a departing employee or an employee of a competitor.

We can assist you to deal with infringement issues in a timely manner and to strongly convey your rights including ‘cease and desist’ actions and monetary claims to cover your losses.


Property

Do you need advice on the best course of action in resolving a property dispute?

There can be a number of stakeholders involved in a property dispute. We provide advice and representation to property developers, commercial tenants, landlords, buyers, sellers and body corporates. We are aware that disputes can be time consuming and expensive. We will help you successfully resolve your property dispute by understanding your goals and taking into account the unique circumstances of your situation.

Contact us for property disputes relating to:

  • Commercial, industrial or retail leases
  • Contracts for the sale of land in the ACT or NSW
  • Joint tenants or tenants in common
  • Property developments
  • Property damage
  • Rights of way
  • Securities over Land
  • Strata titles

Shareholder, director & partnership disputes

Do you understand the risks and responsibilities, options and outcomes of a dispute between business partners?

Your business may be structured as a partnership or a company, and may also involve a trust. Disputes between business partners, directors or shareholders can have a significant, and often negative, impact on the success of the business. For this reason, we take a commercial approach and focus on understanding your personal goals, the business, the other partners, the problems and the risks involved. We support you to achieve strategic solutions to your business dispute in a timely and cost-effective manner. Often this will take the form of alternative dispute resolution with mediation or some other form of negotiation. We would only resort to litigation, which is generally more costly after we have exhausted other avenues to achieve resolution. That way you and the other shareholders, directors or partners can move on with your lives, or resolve the issue and allow the business to move forward.


Meet your Commercial Disputes team

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From my first call to SHG the staff were responsive and friendly and after meeting with Craig Painter we felt supported.

For us, our legal issues were complicated and highly emotive, Craig was understanding of our circumstances and reassuring around the legal processes.

I found the whole team at SHG to be extremely professional and engaged in our issues. Craig offered sound advice and worked hard to resolve our legal issues.

I was extremely pleased with the outcome that we achieved that would not have been possible without Craig’s professional advice and guidance.

I would highly recommend Craig Painter and the team at SHG to anyone with complex legal issues that need to be resolved in an efficient and professional manner.

Jen F (Dispute Resolution)

11 September 2017

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