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Company & Commercial Law

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Whatever the size of your company, it is vital you receive clear and accurate legal advice.

For a fledgling start-up, there will be a whole host of issues to contend with. Who is forming the business? Is this a partnership or a limited liability company? This will have implications regards who may be forced to pay in the unfortunate event of a lawsuit. In the case of the former, partners may be personally liable for any negligence on behalf of the partnership, but in the latter, only the company itself can be sued. This protects the assets of the individual owners.

Another crucial matter is funding. Will shareholders be used to raise capital? If so, shareholders agreements need to be drawn up. If shares are sold, any potential buyer would need to know exactly how much they are worth, and how often dividends are to be paid.

Once the company is more established, there are likely to be further developments. As the business grows over time, it may wish to expand. Mergers, buy-outs, take-overs and acquisitions are all important parts of the healthy lifecycle of commercial companies.

Employees will want reassurances on their future. TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) agreements can ensure that whilst a business may change ownership, their contracts must be transferred along with everything else. Often, shareholders will need to approve any major development, and defining what is and what is not a ‘major development’ is important.

As time passes, a business may be subject to a takeover bid. How much a company is worth to others is a direct result of how well it managed its business. Did it invest and expand wisely? Sometimes it can be as simple as receiving the correct tax advice, and it is also crucial to comply with HMRC in these matters.

Perhaps the worst has happened and market conditions have irreparably damaged. Bankruptcy and insolvency procedures are complicated and impact not only the business and those employed by it, but everyone they have entered into contracts with. Unpaid debts, uncollected invoices, mortgages - the order of creditors depends on various factors, such as whether or not they had a security over company property. This places them higher on the list compared to unsecured creditors.

Company and commercial law is a large and important legal sector. Every part of a business - from birth to death - is touched by it, and often the difference between success and failure comes from receiving solid legal advice.

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