Whether you’re starting up a new company or on the cusp of taking your business to the next level, it’s important that you have access to sound legal counsel that will protect your corporate interests and assets. However, it’s often the case that legal advice isn’t always sought when it should be. This can be for a variety of reasons, including cost, forgetfulness, or a belief that it isn’t necessary. In this article, the specialist company and commercial solicitors at Foys list seven of the most common company scenarios where you really need to have legal advice in place before matters escalate.

  1. Disciplinaries and dismissals

When disciplinary procedures are required – or perhaps even dismissal procedures – it’s a difficult, complex situation. If your company does not have formal disciplinary or dismissal measures in place, then matters should not be approached without first consulting an employment law solicitor. Failure to do so could leave your company open to dealing with an employment tribunal or facing legal action – which could result in a costly settlement if you are found to be in breach of the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (2015). Our employment law solicitors can help to draw up a policy for such procedures that will cover your company in the event that such a case arises.

  1. Disputes

It’s not just employees that can cause problems within companies; partners and shareholders can disagree on many issues and cause tension too. In fact shareholder disputes are common, and areas in which they can disagree range from the performance of the company to conflicts of interest and dividends, among others. Therefore, it is vital for your company to have the appropriate measures in place if such a situation arises. Involving a company lawyer in the early stages of your company’s formation can help you avoid this problem as we can assist with drawing up a shareholder or partnership agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of your partnership and the way forward if a dispute occurs. Not having such a stringent agreement in place could end up costing you, and your company, a lot of money. In the unfortunate event that an employer-employee dispute or a shareholder dispute arises, our company dispute resolution specialists can help you to manage the situation.

  1. Contracts

When it comes to contracts, anyone can draw one up and have it be legally binding. It is generally used to denote an agreement of exchange between two parties – so a lawyer isn’t necessary. One of the most famous examples of this is the first contract between Barcelona football club and Argentine footballer, Lionel Messi, which was signed on a napkin! However, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Lawyers should always be involved with any contract that your company wants drawn up. This is because disputes can and often do happen. A legitimate legal contract should detail the terms and conditions of the agreement, including clauses, which should clearly set out the rights and expectations of the two parties for the purpose of their agreement. In order to navigate this seemingly endless minefield of permutations, a lawyer is needed.

  1. Sales and purchases

A Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) is the legal document between a seller and a buyer which specifies the details of a transaction. As it usually covers price, payment terms, delivery, warranties, risk of loss, termination, dispute resolution, and governing law – as any of these terms can affect you, consult a solicitor if you aren’t sure. Terms and conditions for the sale of goods also require the expertise of a lawyer if you want to protect your business interests. Terms and conditions usually include a definition of what goods or services are being provided, the timelines for delivery (or, in some cases, license agreement lengths), payment terms, any guarantees, warranties or refund policies, and what happens if any of the aforementioned terms or conditions are violated. The same is true when you are buying products or services from another business. Your lawyer will be able to read the terms and conditions of any purchases that you make to ensure that your business is protected by the deal.

  1. Transferring a sole trader/partnership into a limited company

If you’re looking to restructure your sole trader or partnership business and incorporate it as a limited company, then you’ll need legal support. A company solicitor usually helps you to draw up the following:

  • A Shareholders’ Agreement is a contract outlining the roles, rights and obligations of the company’s owners.
  • A Memorandum of Association outlines the shareholders’ agreement to form the limited company.
  • Articles of Association detail the agreed upon written rules of running the company and should be sent to Companies House.

Additionally, if the document has to be changed for any reason, you’ll need a lawyer to re-draft the document and notify Companies House of any changes who will then pass this on to HMRC. Much like with a partnership agreement, this process helps to set out your rights as a shareholder as well as protecting your shares in the company.

  1. Commercial property and asset management

Acquisition and disposal of commercial property, refinancing, landlord and tenant matters, as well as asset management would require solid legal advice from specialist commercial property solicitors. Particularly on asset management, it is critical to consult a specialist lawyer who can help you to navigate the current regulatory climate and ensure that you and your firm understand and comply with existing and newly-introduced regulations surrounding asset management. This advice is essential in allowing fund managers and investment bankers to make informed decisions as well as ensuring they’re not vulnerable or out of compliance with any new rules or legislation.

  1. Debt recovery

When we think of recovering debt, we instinctively think of using a debt collection agency, however, this is often not the most effective method. If an outstanding debt is quite significant and you’ve exhausted all possible actions to get the debtors to pay, a specialist lawyer can be helpful – particularly if the debt is serious enough to warrant taking your debtor to court in order to reach a settlement. Irrespective of how you decide to proceed with the recovery process, a lawyer with experience in debt recovery is whom you should approach if a debt collection agency fails to satisfactorily close a past-due account, and may in fact offer their services at a comparable price point.

The right law firm can help you with all of the above

Finding the right company and commercial law firm to represent your company is key when it comes to protecting your business and its assets. Ideally, the right legal representation will have the expertise and knowledge to help you with the above matters and much more. At Foys Solicitors, we are specialists in business law. As well as the aforementioned points, we’ll be able to represent your company in the likes of:

  • Acquisitions and disposals
  • Discrimination cases
  • Employee handbooks and policies
  • Acquisition/disposal of freehold/leasehold property
  • Commercial property disputes

We like to build up relationships with our clients, and we’re always there to provide support through all manner of issues relating to your company.

To find out more about how our company & commercial law specialists can provide expert advice and produce watertight legal documentation for your business, contact Foys company & commercial law team by filling out our Online Form or call your local Foys Solicitors office.

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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