Business Services and Structuring

Business Services and Structuring

Structuring for business success

When it comes to setting up a business, getting the right structure from the outset will ensure you set the foundations for business success and allow you to expand with confidence as your business grows.  Our business services and structuring lawyers take the time to understand your business goals, both short and long term, in order to determine a structure that is right for you.  We’ve been helping Cairns and North Queensland businesses with business services and structuring advice for over 25 years.

Whether you are embarking on the establishment of your first business or, adding another business stream to an existing corporate structure, the commercial team at Miller Harris Lawyers can provide expert advice to ensure your business structure is appropriate to the environment and circumstances in which your business operates.

We offer legal advice and services for:


A trust is a complex relationship between one entity (the trustee) who holds the property of another or others (the beneficiaries).   Complex rules govern the validity of constitution of a trust and compliance is essential for the relationship between the trustee and beneficiaries to be recognised at law.   A trust is generally established by deed and can take many forms (fixed, discretionary, hybrid – to name just a few). Miller Harris Lawyers can determine the type of trust best suited to your particular circumstances and can tailor the required trust deed to meet your specific needs.


Whilst entering into a business partnership can be a very exciting time, it is important to ensure your rights are protected and the partnership arrangements are appropriately documented. We will work with you and all appropriate parties, to create a structure that suits the short and long term business objectives of the partners and to ensure that it is built with a flexibility that allows for changes in structure, should those circumstances arise. Whilst a partnership is relatively easily established, exit can be difficult, particularly in the event of dispute. For this reason, it is essential for a partnership agreement to be prepared which adequately addresses all stages in the life of a partnership. Our Commercial Team at Miller Harris Lawyers, possesses the knowledge and depth of experience required to address these very important issues.

Shareholder and joint venture agreements

The most successful joint business ventures, are those that have taken the time at the outset to clearly define the rights and responsibilities of the various parties involved. These rights and responsibilities should be clearly addressed in the shareholders’ agreement and/or joint venture agreement which govern the business's operations. Joint ventures can be incorporated or unincorporated depending on the circumstances and preferences of the joint venture parties. Miller Harris Lawyers can advise you on the relative merits of different joint venture structures.  We can advise you on and prepare the underlying agreements and documentation.

Innovative structuring and restructuring

When establishing a business entity, it is important to understand the most appropriate business structure to use.   A myriad of structures are available including companies, partnerships and trusts (or a combination of any of these). Issues affecting the type of structure include taxation, regulatory compliance and the needs of the parties involved. Changes to the structure after establishment can be complex and costly to implement - given the potential taxation and duty implications that can be triggered by any alteration. Our team possesses the experience and skills to advise on and implement the most appropriate strategy available in structuring and more importantly, restructuring a business or enterprise. Our partnership includes a Chartered Tax Advisor (Taxation Institute of Australia) and a Business Law Accredited Specialist (Queensland Law Society Incorporated).

Sales, mergers, de-mergers and acquisitions

A sale, merger or acquisition can be a major turning point for an organisation and, we understand that businesses need the advice of experts who can make things happen efficiently and effectively. Miller Harris Lawyers have extensive experience in managing the sensitive negotiations and exchanges required to achieve a successful outcome for all. We can also prepare the agreements required to effect these transactions or review and advise on the agreements prepared by other parties. As well as ensuring the agreements and structure of any transaction reflect the commercial terms agreed between the parties, it is also important to understand the potential taxation, duty and other implications that may arise. Our team has the skills and experience to advise on these (often) complex issues. We are also able to assist with vendor or purchaser legal due diligence and pre-deal structuring advice.

Share buy-back arrangements

A company share buy-back arrangement can be a useful tool in the context of company restructures, exiting shareholders and on occasion, dealing with the shares of a deceased shareholder.   Miller Harris Lawyers can help you negotiate the complex legal and taxation implications surrounding share buy-back arrangements.

Succession planning including buy/sell insurance funded agreements

Succession planning is an important, but often overlooked, area of business planning and risk management. If you get it right, your business can successfully transition through changes in ownership and management with minimal disruption to operations. Get it wrong however, and the underlying value of the business can be adversely impacted. Miller Harris Lawyers can help you to ensure the smooth continuation and transition of a business in the event of the loss, retirement or exit of a key person by preparing a succession plan to suit your business's individual circumstances and those of the parties involved.

Meet the experts in
Business Services and Structuring

Sean Walsh


Sean is an experienced business and commercial lawyer, having practised exclusively in these areas for almost 30 years.

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Nigel Hales


Nigel is the only Queensland Law Society accredited property law specialist in Cairns.

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Lauren Doktor

Senior Associate

Lauren is a commercial and property lawyer with a broad range of experience in business, commercial and property law.

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Ashley Jan

Senior Associate

Ashley works in the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution division, where his passion for problem solving and helping others, drives his determination to achieve the best outcomes for clients.

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