Business Disputes

When business relationships break down strategic action needs to be taken quickly to protect reputation and minimise financial impact. Gibbs Wright act fast and vigorously protect your interests.

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Commercial disputes

Are you dealing with a business dispute or disagreement?

Commercial and business relationships are important to the ongoing operation of your business. If a dispute occurs, and a relationship breaks down, a resolution is needed quickly and effectively to avoid financial and sometimes reputational damage to your business.

At Gibbs Wright, we understand that business disputes involve an ongoing risk/reward review that examines the cost implications of proceeding legally versus the available alternatives.

We offer high quality business legal advice and strategic dispute resolution services to ensure your interests in a business or commercial litigation matter are vigorously protected.

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Meet your business dispute lawyers


What is a business dispute?

A business dispute is any kind of disagreement over a business contract between parties. Business disputes can arise for a variety of reasons and are unfortunately common. They can be internal, between parties such as business partners or shareholders, and external, between businesses and parties such as suppliers or other businesses.

To protect your business financially and legally, any dispute should be resolved quickly and effectively – and that’s where Gibbs Wright can help.

We can help resolve your partnership dispute

Types of business disputes

Common causes of business disputes

Business disputes arise between a wide variety of parties and for a wide variety of reasons. In business partnerships, disputes are commonly caused when:
  • a partner does not perform or contribute to the partnership as required;
  • partners disagree over a fair division of assets when a partner leaves;
  • partners disagree over a fair division of profits; or
  • a partner misappropriates funds or assets.
Business disputes can arise as a result of minority shareholder oppression. This occurs when a majority shareholder acts in a way that is unfair or contrary to the best interests of the minority shareholders. Other examples of business disputes include disagreements between:
  • a franchisee and a franchisor, over such matters as profit manipulation and unauthorised use of intellectual property;
  • an insurance company and an insured party, such as where the insurance company rejects the party’s claim; and
  • a business and the Australian Tax Office, over matters such as tax evasion; and
  • employees and employers, over matters such as misappropriation of funds.
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Business litigation

Types of business disputes that Gibbs Wright can help to resolve

Our business and commercial lawyers can help solve disputes for businesses of any size. Areas of expertise include:

Disputes between directors or partners of a business can have significant negative effects on business performance as well as on the personal lives of those involved. We have the knowledge and experience to help directors and partners solve any dispute.

Disputes between franchisees and franchisors can arise for many reasons. Franchising is complex area of law and can be very difficult are to navigate.

Disputes arise between insurance companies and insured parties when an insurance company refuses to pay a claim. We can take up the fight against an insurer refusing to honour your policy.

Disputes can arise when a business’s intellectual property, such as a trademark or patent is used and exploited. We act for both plaintiff and defendant in disputes about all kinds of intellectual property.

Disputes can arise when a company engages in white collar crime, such as fraud or misappropriation of funds. Such crimes are usually committed by a company director or other company officer. We deal in both civil and criminal white collar crime.

A dispute can arise when a party to a contract breaches a written or implied term or condition in that contract. This can occur through an act or a failure to act in performing what is required under the contract. Gibbs Wright’s solicitors can help you escape or enforce a contractual agreement.

A consumer dispute involves a consumer (including many businesses) who are dissatisfied with goods or service provided. Consumers have a wide range of protections available under Australian Consumer Law, and Gibbs Wright can help enforce or defend against consumer disputes.

Employment disputes can arise for many reasons, including unfair dismissal, stand downs, workplace discrimination or underpayment of wages. We can act for employers or employees in all types of employment disputes (except workplace injury).

If your reputation or that of your business has been damaged by defamatory comments, let us take up the fight for compensation.

Disputes with government can arise for any number of reasons, from being refused a development permit, through to having a licence refused, breached or rescinded, through to issues with Fair Trading, Australian standards or other state or federal laws. We can negotiate with all council and government bodies on your behalf and enforce your rights.

Insolvency and restructuring disputes can arise at various stages of insolvency, such as during bankruptcy or winding up proceedings, voluntary administration or examination by liquidators. We can help you whether you are a creditor, investor, debtor, office bearer, or if you are appointed to administer a company.

Fast debt recovery is essential to the smooth operation of a business. At Gibbs Wright, we can help you deal with problem debtors through negotiation, and take court action if necessary.

Dispute resolution

How Gibbs Wright can resolve your business dispute

There are many options available for resolving a business dispute. These include:

justice, scale, law, equal

Making a claim through court or tribunal

group, meeting, teamwork, project


contract, agreement, project, management

Sending a letter of demand

The option chosen will depend on the goal.

For instance, if you wish to maintain a business relationship with a party, mediation may be best, but if you wish to claim money and end dealings with a party, taking the matter to court may be best.

Gibbs Wright solicitors are experienced professionals who deal with commercial dispute resolution and litigation daily. Whether you want to avoid or commence litigation, we are here for you.

Business dispute questions

Frequently asked questions

Yes. Our experienced business lawyers can help small businesses to deal with disputes. We understand the stresses of operating a small business and the negative impact a dispute can have, so we do our best to resolve a dispute quickly, efficiently and inexpensively.

Yes, our experienced lawyers can help family-owned businesses to deal with disputes. In family-owned businesses there can be friction related to the nature of the business, the conduct of certain family members, or differing views of generations in the business. We understand how important dispute resolution is when conflict between family members disrupts the operation of the business.

There are several ways to resolve business disputes, including mediation, sending a letter of demand, and taking the matter to court or before a tribunal. The option chosen will depend on the outcome sought and the relationship between the parties to the dispute.

There are steps a business can take to avoid ending up in a dispute. The key step is to ensure any contract is put in writing and that all parties to a contract understand what the agreement requires of them when they sign it. If the contract is for a large sum of money or a major project, it may be worthwhile to include a dispute resolution clause in the contract.

Parties in a dispute should always try to attempt to settle the dispute; taking the dispute to court or to a tribunal should be a last resort.

Common business disputes involve disagreements between:

  • Business partners, over such issues as responsibilities and profit allocation;
  • Shareholders, including where majority shareholders act in a way that disadvantages minority shareholders;
  • Franchisees and franchisors, over such issues as intellectual property and profit margins;
  • Insurers and insured parties, where claims are rejected or payouts are minimised;
  • Businesses and authorities such as the Australian Tax Office or the Office of State Revenue, over taxes owed.

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