Are you in a business partnership, or are you planning to set up or join a business partnership? What actually is a business partnership  - "the relation which subsists between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit". 

Do you have a written partnership agreement for your partnership?  If not, why  not? 

What are, and how do you find out what are, the rights and obligations of the partners between themselves? 

Financial obligations

What are the financial obligations of partners in respect of the partnership and the debts and obligations of the partnership? Partners are jointly and severally liable for the debts and obligations of the partnership, but what does that actually mean in practice. 

There is no implied legal right to expel from a partnership any partner who is not fitting in or who is not pulling his or her weight; so how would you deal with such a partner? 

Written agreement

If there is a written partnership agreement, have all the partners signed up to it? Could any partner successfully claim that the written partnership agreement no longer applies as a new partner has not signed up to the partnership agreement. 

Did you know that unless the partners have specifically agreed that the partnership is for a fixed period or unless there is a written  partnership agreement saying otherwise, any partner may at any time terminate the partnership (even without any reason and even though termination of the partnership would be to the financial and commercial disadvantage of the other partners). 

And did you know that unless there is a written partnership agreement saying otherwise, a partnership is automatically dissolved on the death or bankruptcy of any partner (even though the dissolution of the partnership would be to the financial and commercial disadvantage of the other partners). 

Termination of a partnership

The consequences of a termination or dissolution of the partnership could include having to repay immediately any money borrowed by the partnership, the loss of any valuable contract - such as a valuable contract with a supplier to or a customer of the partnership, the loss of any valuable licence, the termination of any lease which the partnership has of any premises and having to make redundancy payments to the partnership's employees. 

Leaving a partnership

Are you clear on what a partner who leaves the partnership is entitled to be paid; is any revaluation of the partnership's assets, for instance goodwill, intellectual property and premises, required when a partner leaves the partnership  and when must payment be made to a former partner in respect of his or her interest in the partnership. 

And what is to stop a former partner starting up in competition with the partnership and poaching the employees, suppliers and customers of the partnership. 

Think  and take advice. The law books are full of cases, expensively pursued in the courts, where partners have fought out an argument which would never have arisen if there had been a professionally prepared partnership agreement.