Shareholders Agreements Australia: Everything You Need to Know

Shareholder agreements are an essential aspect of running a business in Australia. If you are planning to start a business with a group of people, it is crucial to have a document that lays out the rights and obligations of each shareholder. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about shareholders agreements in Australia.

What is a Shareholders Agreement?

A shareholders agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of all shareholders in a company. This agreement sets out the terms of the relationship between the shareholders and establishes how the company will be managed. A shareholders agreement is an effective way to protect the interests of all parties involved in the business and avoid any future disputes.

Why is a Shareholders Agreement Important?

A shareholders agreement is important because it sets out the rules that determine how the business will be run. Without an agreement in place, there is no clear guideline of the roles of each shareholder and how decisions will be made. An agreement serves as a reference point for any disputes that may arise, and it can help to prevent disagreements and misunderstandings in the future.

What Should be Included in a Shareholders Agreement?

The following are some of the critical components that every shareholder agreement should include:

1. Shareholder Rights and Obligations

The agreement should specify the rights and obligations of each shareholder. It should highlight the percentage of shares owned by each shareholder, how voting rights will be allocated, and how dividends will be distributed.

2. Management Structure

The agreement should outline how the company will be managed, who will be responsible for making decisions, and how those decisions will be made.

3. Transfer of Shares

The agreement should state the conditions under which a shareholder can sell or transfer their shares. This includes any restrictions on the sale or transfer of shares and the process for valuing those shares.

4. Dispute Resolution

The agreement should provide a process for resolving any disputes that may arise between shareholders. This could include mediation or arbitration.

5. Termination of the Agreement

The agreement should specify the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated. This includes what happens to the company and its assets if the agreement is terminated.

How is a Shareholders Agreement Created?

A shareholders agreement can be created by a lawyer or using a template from a reputable source. The agreement must be in writing, signed by all parties involved, and should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it remains relevant and up-to-date.


In summary, a shareholders agreement is an essential document for any business with multiple shareholders in Australia. It sets out the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of each shareholder and provides a clear guideline for how the company will be managed. A well-drafted agreement can help to prevent disputes and misunderstandings and ensure the smooth operation of the business. If you are starting a business in Australia, it is essential to seek legal advice and have a shareholders agreement drafted.