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Profile: Partnership and Joint Ventures
Experience and Expertise
William has acted in a wide range of partnership disputes, with particular emphasis on the existence and obligations in informal partnership agreements and partnerships at will, the breakdown of joint ventures, dissolution, orders for sale of (and rights to buy) partnership property, secret profits, analysis of partnership accounts, expulsion and retirement, the duties of partners, and taking steps to protect confidential information and preserve partnership assets on an urgent basis.
William has acted in respect of joint ventures in a wide range of commercial spheres, but haseloped particular familiarity with farm business partnerships including questions of family land ownership (often over several generations) and agricultural tenancies and subsidies, as well as partnerships of accountancy and IFA practices, medical practices and in the information technology spheres. William also has experience of unfair prejudice petitions in the context ‘quasi-partnerships’ where small private companies are used as vehicles for joint ventures.
William is also frequently instructed to advise on, and draft, terms in partnership agreements.
William is recommended for Traditional Chancery and Real Estate Litigation by Chambers UK and for Commercial Litigation, Professional Negligence and Property Litigation by The Legal 500. Recent directory editorial includes:
- superb attention to detail and a charming manner with clients
- As an advocate he does not get distracted by difficult opponents and focuses on building and presenting the best possible case for the client
- head and shoulders above others of his year of call
- popular with clients and really takes the fight to the other side
- produces skeleton arguments that are very clear and show good analysis
- an advocate with a good, relaxed manner, he is firm but not unduly aggressive in court
- a born problem-solver with a loyal and diverse following
- lauded for being thoughtful and thorough
- an excellent lawyer and a strong and clever advocate
- very reliable and always delivers when he says he will
- a truly outstanding trial advocate.
Cases and Work of Note
Examples of recent work in this area include:
- William acted in a dispute concerning the merger of a series of accountancy partnerships and partnerships between IFAs, following breaches of fiduciary duties in the breakdown of those joint ventures;
- In Roberts v Smith & Anor (2011) (ChD, Leeds) William acted for the successful defendants in a claim concerning the dissolution of a Yorkshire farm business operated by two generations of the same family in partnership. In a dispute which turned on disputes of fact the conduct of the claimant and the flawed preparation of accounts by the partnership accountants attracted particular judicial criticism;
- William acted for several of the partners of a medical practice in a successful action concerning the expulsion of one of their members and the capital shares in the practice premises (land owned by the outgoing member);
- In Khan v Khan  EWCA Civ 399 William was led by David Foskett QC (now Foskett J) in the Court of Appeal on a matter involving the dissolution of a family property and retail partnership. The case was of particular note for the Court of Appeal’s acceptance of the parties’ cultural customs in interpreting the context in which they operated.
- William acted in a claim relating to a joint venture manufacturing business supplying parts to the aerospace industry.