Shareholder Agreements

Looking for help with shareholder agreements & disputes?

Unlike the company’s articles of association, a shareholders’ agreement is a private document, enforceable in the same way as any other contract and therefore is not available to the public via Companies House. A shareholders’ agreement can be entered into between all, or a selection of, shareholders in a company.

Such agreements can regulate the relationship between the shareholders, the management of the company, ownership of the shares and the protection of the shareholders. A shareholders’ agreement is principally useful where the directors and shareholders of a limited company are the same people, as company law assumes that all companies are run by a board of directors who are not necessarily shareholders of the company.

Often businesses are set up without protecting their shareholding or particular interests without an agreement or a contract. Due to the likelihood disagreements it is prudent not to leave matters to chance. As such our clients are advised at the outset to provide for potential disputes within a shareholders’ agreement. Shareholders’ agreements can contain provisions that pre-empt disagreements and set out appropriate ways for addressing disputes quickly and cost effectively.

Our members at Mercantile Barristers are Public Access Trained and are happy to be consulted by and accept instructions directly from professionals and discerning private clients at any time (for direct access barristers). To book a consultation with one of our Direct Access Barristers in London please call us and speak to our clerks who will find the best-placed barrister for you.


Historically, barristers in England & Wales could only accept instructions from solicitors and could not be consulted directly by members of the public. Barristers were considered to be too expert and too specialist to deal directly with lay clients.

It was left to a solicitor to first determine whether the legal problem that has arisen required the involvement of the expert barrister. If so, it was only the solicitor that could instruct the expert barrister on behalf of the lay client. Using a medical analogy, it is akin to having to see your GP before being referred to the Specialist Consultant.


In this traditional mode of operation the lay client continues to pay for his solicitor while also paying for his expert barrister. While this has always been the case, it is unnecessary in certain modern circumstances and inevitably commercial pressures and modernity has brought a change. Professionals such as company directors, agents, architects, surveyors, construction engineers and other specialist consultants may not require hand-holding by a solicitor in order to consult the expert barrister about their case.


A change in the law in 2004 allowed barristers, who have undertaken additional training, to advise clients without the need for a solicitor and listed below are some of the reasons why it is advantageous to instruct a direct access barrister.



Have Found Mercantile, To Be Honest, Diligent And Willing To Go The Extra Mile With Their Advice.
Linda S