Family Business Disputes

We provide a full range of Business & Family Solutions


Our commercial and corporate team continue to advise an increasing number of family businesses through their periods of growth and development, in their contractual relationships, the introduction of external investment, changes in the business strategy and ultimately in the transition to new management and ownership.

The team also work in tandem our private client team in Trusts & Estates and our colleagues in Property, Dispute Resolution and Family, in advising businesses and the families involved in those businesses in the broad and complex world of the ownership of a family business.

This may take the form of advice on the structure and ownership of the business and the issues that arise between the family members and the business in terms of ownership, management, succession, exit strategy and inheritance tax planning. It may also lead to a possible exploration of family trusts, lifetime giving, Business Property Relief and other tax planning arrangements, wills, probate, powers of attorney and declarations of trust.

One area of particular importance in the structure of a family business is to address the possibility of the beneficiaries of a deceased stakeholder taking a continuing interest in the business or an inability for a continuing stakeholder to raise the finances to buy out a departing stakeholder or their beneficiary. In such circumstances the team will look to arrange suitable life assurance policies for the stakeholders in the business combined with an appropriately worded agreement that identifies the procedures to be followed in the event of the death or long term disability of a stakeholder. This then maps out the path whereby the beneficiaries of the deceased stakeholder receive payment for the deceased’s interest in the business whilst the surviving stakeholders retain ownership and control of the business.

If you would like to explore any of the areas covered above please contact one of our Commercial & Corporate team or your usual contact at Hart Brown.

who to contact


James Lamont

Partner, Head of Commercial & Corporate

Partner, Head of Commercial & Corporate

James Lamont

James has specialised in corporate and company commercial law for over 15 years advising on new business ventures, legal structures, sales and acquisitions, mergers, buy-outs, corporate investments and a wide range of commercial contracts.

He represents a wide variety of clients across various sectors including in media and advertising, branding and web design, engineering and manufacturing, retail, property investment and sports and entertainment. He is known for his commitment to his clients, sound business sense and calm legal authority.

Recent transactions include: acquisition of food and beverage business, sale of e-commerce solutions provider, joint venture in London transport and advertising business, restructuring and investment into event management company, investment into energy technology business, restructuring of property investment portfolio and sale of bespoke textiles company.

Here is some of the feedback James had received:

“Thank you very much for your hard work and getting this done in the tight timeline required” Michael Clarke, PSF Web.

“Many thanks for your guidance on this transaction and please pass on our appreciation to the team at Hart Brown” Andrew Beasley, Ball Capital Investment

“Thank you very much for your support, it was a pleasure working with you” Mario Rosas, Fuse IM / Mathesys

“Once again I thank you for bringing another deal to a close. I must say I enjoy working with you and it is great to have you and your team on our side.” Asher Moses, Sherbet London

“On behalf of us all a big thank you for making all of this happen, you have been an absolute star.” Mike Laflin, Sportcal

James was educated at Eton College and Bristol University. He then trained at the College of Law before qualifying with Cumberland Ellis LLP an established London firm and joining their commercial department in 2000, becoming a partner there in 2006. James joined the partnership at Hart Brown in October 2010 and now heads up the Commercial & Corporate Department.

Other business related positions include (i) committee member of the Havaianas Business Club (an exclusive entrepreneurs business club) (ii) involvement in Euro juris and related international legal networks (iii) trustee of the Brain and Spine Foundation and (iv) Chairman of Governors at Ewhurst C of E Infant School.

Past times and hobbies include a fair amount of sport, particularly football, tennis and cricket and sailing or hiking whenever the chance arises. More sedate interests include reading (preferably historical novels), the occasional game of chess or poker and, with a young family, trips to the beaches of the South Coast and the hills of Scotland.

Jane Crosby

Partner, Dispute Resolution

Partner, Dispute Resolution

Jane Crosby

Jane is an employment and commercial litigation solicitor of more than 15 years' experience.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Jane was employed in the aviation industry. This experience is appreciated by many of Jane's clients who note that she is able to take a commercial and pragmatic approach to any legal issue that they face.

Jane acts for a wide range of individuals and businesses and her areas of specialism include aviation, property related industries and IT. Jane regularly advises on aspects of employment law, such as settlement agreements, employment contracts, policies and procedures, redundancies, equal pay, data protection, issues arising from TUPE and reorganisations, the calculation of holiday pay, bonus and commission payments, disciplinary and grievance issues, dismissal and termination issues, the protection of confidential information and the enforcement of restrictive covenants. Jane gets involved in GDPR training for her clients and she is able to deliver tailored employment law training sessions upon request.

As a commercial litigation lawyer, Jane also deals in shareholder and directors disputes, commercial contract disputes and the enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Jane has been involved in successful high value commercial litigation for clients in the High Courts, she is an accredited mediator and she is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Jane is often asked to write for a number of well known publications, including The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Week and she has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4.

Here is small selection of the feedback that Jane has received:

“Jane, I cannot sincerely thank you enough for your wise counsel and am delighted to have made your acquaintance. If I am blessed with a new position somewhere I will hand over my contract in the first instance to you. Likewise, any of my friends, peers, romans and countrymen wanting advice, I will point them in your direction.”

“Jane, you have been most resilient on my behalf for which I sincerely thank you for all your endeavours. I have a tremendous working relationship with Hart Brown and you have undoubtedly compounded this further."

“I appreciated the clarity of advice given at a stressful time”.

“A sensitive and highly professional approach and efficient work in the interests of the client”.

“Your advice, conduct and assistance have been indeed outstanding and very professional but also – and most importantly – very humane”.

Nigel Maud

Partner, Commercial & Corporate

Partner, Commercial & Corporate

Nigel Maud

Nigel read Psychology and Politics in South Africa. He went on to qualify as a solicitor in 1995 and initially practiced as a prosecutor before moving into private practice where he specialised in commercial work. He then moved into the business recovery and restructuring department at Pricewaterhouse Coopers broadening his understanding further of the problems and challenges a business faces.

Relocating to England in 1999 Nigel joined Hart Brown in 2002 and became a partner in 2004.

Nigel often received praise from his clients, these are just a few of the comments:

"Very efficient, cost effective service."

"This marks the end of a very long (15 years) and successful relationship with Hart Brown on the liquidation of the company. We thank the partners and staff at Hart Brown for all the advice and wise counsel they have given us over the years."

"You have an excellent team of people who make sure they understand the needs of the client."

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