Family Business Disputes

Our family business solicitors provide a wide range of dispute solutions

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

Here at Hart Brown, our corporate solicitors also work alongside our private client team in Trusts & Estates and  colleagues in Property, Dispute Resolution and Family. We proudly offer our guidance to companies on the legalities of the ownership of a family business.

Here at Hart Brown, our corporate solicitors also work alongside our private client team in Trusts & Estates and  colleagues in Property, Dispute Resolution and Family. We proudly offer our guidance to companies on the legalities of the ownership of a family business.

  • The structure and ownership of the family business
  • Disputes that arise between family members
  • Ownership and management advice
  • Succession
  • Exit strategy
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Exploration of family trusts, lifetime giving and business property relief.

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. Our family business solicitors can advise you  when there is the inability for a continuing stakeholder to raise  finances to buy out a departing stakeholder or their beneficiary. The experienced team at Hart Brown will look to arrange suitable life assurance policies for the stakeholders in the business. This will be combined with an appropriately worded agreement that identifies the procedures to be followed in the event of a stakeholder’s death or long-term disability. Our agreement will then set 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 are looking for a professional solicitor to advise you on family business disputes or conflict resolution, please get in touch today. Our experienced team can advise you on all matters relating to family law. Please call 01483 887766, email or start a live chat today.

Who to contact

James Lamont-Head of Commercial & Corporate

James Lamont

Partner, Head of Commercial & Corporate

James Lamont-Head of Commercial & Corporate

Partner, Head of Commercial & Corporate

James Lamont

Legal Expertise:

James has specialised in corporate and company commercial law for twenty years advising on new business ventures, legal structures, sales & 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 & advertising, branding & web design, engineering & manufacturing, transport & logistics, technology & software solutions, professional services, property investment, the drinks & fashion industries and sports & entertainment. He is known for his commitment to his clients, sound business sense and calm legal authority.

Recent transactions include the sale of a number of technology and IT businesses, acquisition of a transport and logistics business (aviation), acquisition of an event management company, acquisition of a business solutions provider and subsequent joint venture with a leading international management consultancy firm, sale of an energy technology business, restructuring of a property investment portfolio and the sale of a technology, media and communications group.


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) member of the Havaianas Club (an exclusive entrepreneurs business club) (ii) involvement in Euro juris and related international legal networks and (iii) trustee of the Betty Riseley Trust and The Woodspring Trust.

Past times and hobbies include a fair amount of sport, particularly tennis and cricket and hiking, sailing, surfing or skiing whenever the chance arises. More sedate interests include reading (preferably historical novels), the occasional game of chess or poker and, hiking in the South Downs or days on the water in Chichester Harbour.

    Jane Crosby -Head of Dispute Resolution

    Jane Crosby

    Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

    Jane Crosby -Head of Dispute Resolution

    Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

    Jane Crosby

    Jane is a Partner based in the Guildford office and she is also Head of the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown. Jane specialises in employment Law and commercial litigation and brings more than 15 years' experience to her role.

    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

      Nigel Maud

      Partner, Commercial & Corporate, COLP

      Nigel Maud-Partner -Commercial & Corporate

      Partner, Commercial & Corporate, COLP

      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."

        Leah Whittaker

        Solicitor, Commercial & Corporate

        Solicitor, Commercial & Corporate

        Leah Whittaker

        Leah is a solicitor in the commercial and corporate department here at Hart Brown.

        She graduated in 2018 with an LLB and Master’s degree in law and qualified as a solicitor in 2023.

        Leah joined Hart Brown in 2018 and is an integral part of the team assisting in a wide range of commercial and corporate matters.

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