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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I worked with my older borther in his business when he was a

Customer Question

I worked with my older borther in his business when he was a "sole trader" from around 1984 until 1991 when the business became limited. During the time prior to becomming limited I worked seven days a week in the retails business. My brother who was the sole trader asked me to work for him and manage the business and staff whilst he travelled abroad on buying trips. He had asked me to live with him and take a "subsistence allowance" and that the profits of the business will be "reploughed back into the business" and this would continue for the next five or more years. Neither of us were married and I was in my early twenties and had retail management experience from my parents business from where I moved to assist my elder brother in Aberdeen. I continued to work from around 1984 until the business had expanded considerably that we had opened a much larger branch and had "substaintial" stock holdings with very little borrowings from the banks as we had kept borrowing to a minimum, and with mony being ploughed back into the business. In 1991 the business became limited, I became the company secretary and the elder bother the managing director, this was done, business was doing extremely well, moved into a bigger detached house, and was led to believe that I would also get an "equal share in the house" as we both worked on developing the house when purchased. Around 1993 my mother asked me to ask my older brother who had just got married and his wife moved into the house that I was also to get married ( arranged marriage) and ask him for my share in the business. I did not get a response but ended up asking the company lawyer regarding the Limited company, they informed me that I was a 25% share holder in the business ( which my elder brother had "gifted"to me without my knowledge} The value of the share could only be "dictated by my elder brother, and shares could not be sold to anyone else) Once realising that what my elder brother had "promised me" was "far different to what he had done" I had a "massive argument" and went to see my mother to ask him to "recompense me for the work that I had done" Other family members "put pressure" on him and I ended up seeing a solicitor and after exerting pressure upon him he offered to pay £50K for the 25% shares, but not after asking me to sign the shares over for £1000 paid by the company cheque, and asking me that he could not give such a large sum at once and would pay me back on demand. The family also asked that the two of us should "make up" and carry on working together, which I did until 1997, when I left I still carried on working for him on a unpaid basis until end of 2002 when I got married and moved away from Aberdeen to Manchester. I have asked my brother for the the remaining sum of £48K but he either made excuses, to eventual abuse. Working for him from my early twenties until I was forty was led on a "false promise's" that I would be "properly renumerated"and that I was always made to "feel embarrassed" if I tried to ask what my share was worth and wether I also was entitled to a share in the property.
I want to know if I can bring litigation against my brother for monies owed both against him personally and also against the "limited company?" and under what circumstance any action can be raised in Aberdeen ( any willing Law firm to take this forward)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland and will help you with this.
For clarification, am I reading your question correctly:
1. You signed over the shares in 1997 and received £1000.
2. Is there an agreement in writing for the balance to be paid. Is the agreement registered?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Customer
I signed over the shares in 1993, and was asked to resign as the company secretary, but continued as an employee until 1997.
The offer of £50K was made in 1993 verbally between the tow brothers and I wrote down this agreement and kept this in the house both of us lived in together. The agreement was not registered, as my brother came to the agreement as soon as he learn't that the " the elder family members were asking me to pursue legal action against him" as I was at the time unaware of his "dishonesty" If there is any way to pursue ligation for the outstanding sum plus interest against him or the "limited company" he is trading under would be very much appreciated.
I did write a "formal letter demanding" repayment of the sum outstanding, and I did get a response from his solicitor in Aberdeen that they would "defend any action brought against them" I have replied to them stating that I will pursue the amount outstanding. Things have been slow as I have been bogged down since 2011 when my mother died "intestate" and I was the "lone Administrator" of the estate out of the six siblings and the youngest. That is now resolved, but I wish to pursue this issue and would very much appreciate fro someone to advise and bring possible litigation against him personally or against the business.Best regards
Khalid Mahmood
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
I'm afraid you are in some difficulties. The debt is time barred. The rule is that you have to pursue a debt owed to you in court within five years of the existence of the debt or any subsequent acknowledgement of the debt. If your brother has not admitted that the debt is owed within the last five years then it is time barred and you can no longer pursue it. I'm sorry that this is not what you want to hear but it is the law. You can look at this by reading online the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973.