Litigation & dispute resolution

Assheton-Smith Incorporated is focused on providing effective, results-driven services to clients relating to corporate and commercial disputes and resolution.

We achieve this by instituting proceedings in court or by alternate dispute resolution mechanisms including mediation and arbitration.

We measure success through the realisation of beneficial outcomes for our clients. We follow an extremely focused, thorough and strategic approach for each legal matter that we are briefed to deal with. It is this focused and strategic approach to the law which, we believe, distinguishes us from our competitors.

Our attorneys have expertise and experience in a myriad of different corporate and commercial disputes ranging from the relatively uncomplicated collection of debts to complex commercial disputes.

We are committed to ensuring that every step taken is strategically considered to best suit the needs of each particular client and the exigencies of the matter. Our approach is always made with the client’s unique requirements in mind. As a specialist litigation and dispute resolution firm, we are able to add significant value through our personalised bespoke approach.

Our legal experience and expertise is borne out by the number of matters our practitioners have conducted on behalf of our clients. Many of these matters have been reported in law reports which have contributed to the development of South Africa’s common law. These, to name a few, include:

  • a decision of the South Gauteng High Court which was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal pertaining to the rights of co-owners to encumber their undivided portion of an immovable property by way of the registration of a mortgage bond; and
  • a decision of the North Gauteng High Court that ultimately came before and was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeal pertaining to the existing legal principles pertaining to the liability of an en commandant partner in terms of a deed of surety ship signed under a power of attorney;
  • a decision of the Western Cape High Court which confirmed the principles pertaining to the separation of issues in terms of Rule 33(4) of the Uniform Rules of the Supreme Court to have certain aspects of a trial heard as a separate issue to the remaining issues to be adjudicated upon;
  • a matter in which the South Gauteng High Court was required to determine certain issues arising from the erroneous completion of a mass offer addressed to shareholders of a listed entity by way of a circular. The Court’s decision was also upheld by the SCA on appeal.

The clients we represent are from a wide range of industries. We deal with disputes that encompass a broad range of legal issues including:

  • commercial and company law, including shareholder’s disputes, minority protection, enforcement of shareholder’s rights, transfer of shares, removal of directors and enforcement of director’s rights, hostile mergers and take-overs;
  • contractual disputes including those arising from joint venture agreements, collaboration agreements, partnership agreements, shareholders agreements, supply agreements, distribution agreements, trade agreements, exclusivity agreements, sale of property agreements, security documents (including surety ships, cessions, mortgage bonds and notarial bonds), sale of land and land usage agreements;
  • unfair competition, passing off and protection of proprietary interests;
  • corporate and commercial recoveries, including collection of debt, enforcement of securities, liquidations and sequestrations, recovery of losses arising from fraud;
  • building engineering and construction disputes;
  • restraint of trade enforcement;
  • trade mark infringement;
  • administrative law litigation including applications to review and set aside decisions;
  • product liability claims and litigation;
  • litigation with respect to immovable property relating to land sales, land usage, land infringement, encroachment and servitudes;
  • damages claims arising in either contract or in delict (tort) including claims against directors for having acted negligently, claims arising from fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation;
  • setting aside of unlawful transactions;
  • interdicts (injunctions).