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Avoiding a Commercial Law Dispute using Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

If you don’t already know who Gordon Ramsay is, he’s an extremely well-known celebrity chef, known as a foul-mouthed frontman for Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. His former business partner, Danny Lavy, has been accused of hijacking Ramsay’s kitchen range, and it has escalated to the London High Court.

Lavy owns Sensio, which currently sells Ramsay’s knives through Kmart. Lavy has claimed that it holds the contract to the rights and can freely sell the knives abroad.

The history between Lavy and Ramsay goes way back. They launched Laurier together (a VIP restaurant in Montreal), but Ramsay was very quickly kicked out of the partnership. Ramsay is attempting to sue Lavy for £1.7m, while Lavy is countering this by wishing to sue Ramsay for a disproportionate £40m.

Chef_RamsayRamsay has been sued before. His father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, sued Ramsay for sacking him for gross misconduct in 2010, leaving Ramsay £15m out of pocket.

Why Do Problems Like This Arise In Business Partnerships?

Between directors of a company, there can be serious power struggles and friction. They may start out as friends, but this is unlikely to continue, after the pressures of business take their toll. Whether it’s a disagreement about the direction of the company or low quality performance of one individual, it can get heated.

The Consequences

Disputes can snowball. Where possible, employ a solicitor to play mediator. It’s best to keep things as amicable as you can, seeing as this leads to a more efficiently run business (which is in both of your interests). Directors’ disputes can damage the company.

Negotiation and compromise are the best avenues. In some cases, litigation is the only answer, but this is an extremely expensive and time-consuming process. Talk to legal advisors as soon as you can and seek professional counsel. It’s best to avoid litigation, if you can.

When A Directors’ Dispute Has Arisen…

Legally, directors should put the business first, and leave their personal interests out of the picture. Ask for someone to act as your intermediary if you feel your partner is acting outside of these boundaries. Don’t make a move until you know your rights.

How a Solicitor Can Help You

Put your business agreements in writing every time. This way, you have a stockpile of evidence to fall back on. Resolution will often come from these documents. A handshake won’t prove anything, so get it signed on paper.  If the matter isn’t dealt with now, it can incur additional costs; so ensure while prospecting your chosen legal firm, they and the individual solicitor has the necessary experience. For example, Rodney Waters B.A, a senior solicitor at Shropshire law firm, GHP legal, has dealt in cases such as these business contract disputes.

Like any relationship, a business partnership can have its ups and downs. When it comes to executive decisions, it’s best to be as emotionally removed as possible. Put your differences aside, and when you can’t see eye-to-eye, a mediatory from commercial solicitors can help keep things level and reasonable. Don’t make the same mistakes as Ramsay and Levy and allow things to get out of control, leading to expensive legal costs. It does no business any good to lose millions of pounds over a tiff.

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