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Partnership Disputes – Dissolution of Partnership

Partnerships are a common form of business structure, particularly in small to medium-sized enterprises. However, when disputes arise, the dissolution of a partnership can become a complex legal issue. This article examines the case of Gumbleton v Hewitt [2012] NSWSC 886, a decision that provides insight into the factors considered significant enough for the dissolution of a partnership.

The proceedings concerned a partnership established in February 2007 by Mr Gumbleton (the plaintiff) and Mr Hewitt (the defendant) for the purchase, rearing, and sale of cattle.

The case highlights several key issues that are considered significant enough for the dissolution of a partnership:

  1. Breach of Partnership Relationship: The court found that the defendant had removed $98,250 from the partnership bank account to which he was not entitled. This action was deemed a breach of the partnership relationship and was a significant factor leading to the dissolution of the partnership.
  2. Conduct Justifying Termination: The defendant’s conduct in removing funds from the partnership account was considered conduct justifying termination of the partnership. This highlights the importance of trust and good faith in a partnership.
  3. Size of Partnership: The court noted that the size of the partnership was not substantial. This factor may have influenced the court’s decision not to appoint a receiver, as the costs and complexity of doing so may not have been justified given the size of the partnership.
  4. Absence of Defendant: The defendant did not appear in court, which may have influenced the court’s decision-making process.

The court ordered that the partnership was dissolved as of 26 November 2010.

The case of Gumbleton v Hewitt serves as a reminder of the importance of trust, good faith, and proper conduct in a partnership. Breaches of these principles can lead to the dissolution of the partnership and potential legal consequences. It underscores the need for clear partnership agreements and the careful management of partnership affairs.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

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