business disputes

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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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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What our clients say

…turned our crazy situation into positive new beginnings… We would highly recommend their services to anyone who is in need of professional property lawyers who have your best interests at heart. Thank you Mitchell and Melany!

5 star rating

Rachel Olorenshaw

During the first phone call with Spencer I knew immediately that I was in competent hands. Spencer and his troops moved into position akin to military action… I would strongly recommend contacting Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers…

5 star rating

John Christian

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Business 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.

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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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Your team

Meet your business dispute lawyers​

Melany Dowse


Rebekka Hallberg

Mitchell Caldwell

Litigation solicitor

Mitchell Caldwell

Special CounSEL

Melany Dowse

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Why us

Why Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers

Few law firms specialise in litigation, and fewer still have the skill and understanding needed to deliver commercially viable results in business disputes and other matters. At Gibbs Wright, we practise exclusively in litigation and dispute resolution, and our clients should feel confident they will receive unparalleled service and dedication.

Our firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of litigation and dispute matters. No case is too small, too big or too complex for our lawyers to take on the challenge. Each and every client receives the same level of attention and dedication, whether they are an individual or one of the nation’s biggest companies.

When it comes to business matters, Gibbs Wright’s expertise can help take the stress, emotion and cost out of your dispute.

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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:

Director and partnership disputes

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.

Franchising disputes

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

Insurance company disputes

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.

Intellectual property and copyright disputes

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.

White collar crime disputes

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.

Breach of contract

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.

Consumer disputes

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

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).

Reputational damage

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

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

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.

Debt recovery

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.

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How Gibbs Wright can resolve your business dispute​

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

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.

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Frequently asked questions

Can Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers help small businesses?

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.

Can Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers help family-owned businesses?

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.

How are business disputes resolved?

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.

How can I avoid a business 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.

What are some examples of common business disputes?

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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