What our clients say
I have been a director of a large number of companies over many decades but ran into serious difficulties in the 2008/9 financial crash, these difficulties ultimately led to the Official Receiver trying to get me disqualified as a director.
I found Andy Wilks much more by luck than judgement (thank you Google), I look back and consider that to be one of the most astute appointments I have ever made. The case was complex, the defence was multi-layered and more akin to a 3-dimensional chess game than litigation. Over an 18-month period Andy Wilks guided, cajoled, motivated and yes, reprimanded me when I came up with “silly” ideas, but all to great effect.
Our initial defence amounted to just under 3,000 pages and the case against me was dropped literally within weeks of the defence having been submitted and, of course, we were equally successful on the costs aspects.
I have been involved in lots of large and medium sized enterprises, numerous commercial litigation cases and the full range of commercial negotiations, dispute resolutions and court actions if and when necessary over my 40 year + commercial career, and I genuinely feel there is no one I would want leading my team more than Andy Wilks. I have absolutely no doubt at all that without his expertise, commitment and drive, let alone his support and assistance, we would not have won this case.
This is an easy testimonial to write given the success that was achieved, but I do think exactly the same comments would apply even if we had not won.
I contacted Francis Wilks & Jones with regard to a client of mine who had little means and who was facing difficulties with his co-shareholders, who he alleged were drawing monies out of the company without my client’s authority and further limiting any payments to my client, who was also a director. At the time my client was facing retirement with no prospect of obtaining any return for his shareholding.
However, I found Mr Downie of Francis Wilks & jones of great assistance in understanding all of the companies’ financial information going back over a period of 20 years and together we were able to negotiate and extract an outcome for my client that was beyond his initial expectations financially and additionally he was prepared to enter into a funding arrangement that meant that my client would not have to pay any associated legal fees. That aside, I found Francis Wilks & Jones very professional, they always responded proactively and I always felt we had a confident and knowledgeable personnel supporting our needs. I would definitely refer any such similar matter to them again, solely in my client’s interests.
Lisa Brown, Senior Partner The Accounting Workshop
I was introduced to Francis Wilks & Jones with little or no expectation as to whether they could assist me. I had spent two decades with my co-shareholder and co-director running a small company that we developed together, but it felt in latter years that my income was not growing with the company – as opposed to my co-shareholder who appeared to be doing very well. As time went by I was being paid a pittance and was struggling to work out how I could leave the business and sell my shares.
I was introduced to Francis Wilks & Jones, a firm in Central London, who agreed to take my instruction on the basis of a funding arrangement which meant that they were only paid if my claim was successful. I found them very supportive and friendly, with partner-led involvement and I was always able to speak to the partner dealing with my matter and who managed it very professionally through to completion. I would recommend Francis Wilks & Jones to anyone facing a similar situation.
We instructed Francis Wilks & Jones upon receiving a notice of prosecution proceedings issued against us as directors of our company, in respect of the late filing of annual financial accounts. This was particularly worrying as we provide services to a number of banks and financial organisations in the financial services industry and the prosecution could jeopardise the continued survival of our company.
However, Mr Downie provided an experienced and proactive input and advised and assisted us in bringing matters up to date and negotiated with the Companies House prosecution solicitors that the prosecution proceedings would be withdrawn in their entirety (and our company safeguarded as a result). We are very grateful for these legal services, especially as there are very few solicitors who deal with this area. Our company continues to trade, partly as a result of the legal services provided, and we have no hesitation in recommending the services of Francis Wilks & Jones in this respect.
I was very impressed with the service I received at Francis Wilks and Jones. It was extremely thorough, professional and speedy, and the fees were much more reasonable than the competition. We ended up going down a different path than initially anticipated, and they only charged me minimal fees. Highly recommended -
Maja S, issuing a winding up petition
We instructed FWJ because of the ongoing successful results they have achieved in extracting the company and its business from difficult commercial situations. Our company was faced with a large bill from HM Customs & Revenue as a result of a Request for Security against ongoing VAT obligations and the sum requested was such that it could have caused severe difficulties to the company’s cash flow and continuation of the underlying business itself.
FWJ assisted us by providing the appropriate advice and assistance at the last minute leading to a detailed comprehensive response to HMRC’s Request for Security within the deadlines stipulated by HMRC, and the input of FWJ into this detailed response did precisely what it set out to do and lead to the requirement for payment of the entire sum being withdrawn by HMRC. I am extremely grateful for FWJ’s assistance in this respect.
I recently instructed FWJ to advise me in relation to the acquisition of the business and assets of my previous company from its administrators. I was impressed with the quality of service provided and with how easily accessible and approachable the team was. FWJ helped me to formulate an offer to the administrators, negotiate the terms of the sale and arrange access to the trading premises in a way that meant I was able to safeguard the jobs of my staff and ensure that my customers had uninterrupted access to services in what was an incredibly difficult time for me – always maintaining our best interests and providing a pragmatic, level-headed and consultative approach. They ensured that my fellow director and I were properly advised in the period following the administration and in hindsight I wish that I had instructed them earlier so that I could have had their advice and support in the lead up to insolvency as well as after the event. I cannot recommend them highly enough and I wouldn't hesitate to use them again in relation to insolvency and restructuring work and also in respect of my company's legal needs generally
AC, company director
We instructed FWJ when faced with a Disqualification Claim proposed to be brought by the Secretary of State. This would have had an incredible effect and in any event appeared to have been brought on a basis of a misunderstanding as to how our business worked. FWJ were very hands on, getting involved from an early stage in seeking to avert an expensive set of litigation proceedings. Later, we also faced a claim proposed to be brought by the Liquidator for recovery of sums which had not been improperly drawn. FWJ also assisted with this and was successful in dissuading the Liquidator from issuing proceedings.
The Disqualification Claim continued for about two years through to Trial and FWJ were able to consider and take us on by means of other types of funding arrangements. The proceedings at Trial lead to a Dismissal of the Disqualification Claim as a result of the hard work of FWJ, and I am more than happy to recommend their services, potentially when it comes to considering complicated issues or complex proceedings.
I approached Francis Wilks & Jones facing the prospect of prosecution by the Registrar of Companies and a very real prospect of disqualification as a Director by the Court. I found Francis Wilks & Jones very experienced in dealing with this type of prosecution, they were able to review the evidence, advise and deal with matters such that they exceeded my expectations by not only avoiding an order for my disqualification as a Director, but they also negotiated a complete withdrawal of the prosecution. This has been such a relief and weight off my mind after many years and I am very grateful to FWJ. I strongly recommend instructing them at the very earliest opportunity to help guide you in the best possible way to hopefully avoiding proceedings or at least to taking the best steps at the right time to minimise the potential severity, impact and overall costs of any proceedings. Timely advice, realistic expectations, prioritisation and logical legal presentation were key.
We are extremely happy with the service provided to us by FWJ (Stephen Downie).
They assisted and lead us through a very lengthy and involved process involving a director disqualification and obtaining leave to be a director. This culminated in a substantially reduced disqualification period whilst simultaneously FWJ conducted an application for leave to be granted to continue act as a director of our family business, despite the disqualification.
We would strongly recommend FWJ to anyone in our situation.
I approached Francis Wilks & Jones about a year ago with a claim by a liquidator who had issued a claim against me seeking repayment of drawings totalling just under £200,000 as a former director of a company now in liquidation. At the time I was facing bankruptcy myself.
However, Francis Wilks & Jones provided me with accurate advice, not just legal advice but practical advice as well and they dealt with all negotiations through to a settlement of the liquidator’s claim for a sum which I was able to afford and which represented less than 10% of the original claim. This was a magnificent result and their fees paid for themselves as a result of this settlement, which otherwise may have led to bankruptcy proceedings against myself. I am very fortunate that I instructed this firm and have no hesitation in recommending them to any other director in similar circumstances.
Francis Wilks & Jones were instructed to pursue a connected party who had acquired a bankrupt’s property at below its market value. Stephen Downie was the principal solicitor instructed in the litigation proceedings, with conduct of the litigation and investigations throughout, which included companies registered in BVI and differences of opinion on historic valuations of the property. As a result of this instruction, Stephen was able to negotiate a settlement which resulted in a 100% return on the assets pursued net of legal fees, which was a very pleasing outcome for me as Trustee and for the Bankruptcy estate’s creditors.
Chris Farrington, Partner Deloitte
We approached Francis Wilks & Jones following a dispute with a co-owner/director of our company, who appeared to be interfering with the management of the company and damaging its value. Francis Wilks & Jones were responsive and dealt with what I consider quite complex proceedings brought for Unfair Prejudice over a 2 year period. At all times they were available to deal with any of my queries and provided advice constantly. They were very reassuring and this lead to a satisfactory outcome for both of us.
I would definitely recommend Francis Wilks & Jones to deal with proceedings brought on behalf of shareholders, especially as they understood our practical needs.
AP & GV
We approached Francis Wilks & Jones following the termination of a large contract with a large well-known client. We provided marketing services to this company in return for which large quarterly sums were due and our contract was terminated on the basis of repudiation. Following my contact with Francis Wilks & Jones, the principal solicitor I dealt with was extremely responsive, assertive and able to redirect the problem against this company such that they agreed to reinstate the contract fully, with no loss on earnings, and even negotiate the payment of a substantial sum by way of contribution to my legal costs!
I am very grateful for the assistance of Francis Wilks and Jones in this matter and would recommend their services to any clients.
We approached Francis Wilks & Jones to assist us urgently with regard to regulatory and compliance duties in respect of client monies held under regulatory bodies guidelines. They were extremely responsive with regard to our request and their assistance proved invaluable in resolving these matters such that the risks we faced were removed entirely.
The company now continues to trade having survived such matters as a result of FWJ’s input and I would definitely recommend them.
I contacted Francis Wilks & Jones just over one month before the trial of a large claim against me and my son. Francis Wilks & Jones acted with great professionalism, responding quickly to my requirements leading to an eventual withdrawal of the claim against us both. I am sincerely grateful to Stephen Downie and Andy Wilks at Francis Wilks & Jones for bringing us to where we are. The world is a much happier place today!
Francis Wilks & Jones are a pleasure to work with. Well known and respected in sectors in which we work, such as the asset based lending industry, they are able to provide highly competitive and commercial advice which helps complement our own offering to clients. Their professionalism is second to none and gives us the peace of mind that that standards are of the highest quality at all times.
Gareth Fawkes, Director, Inksmoor Group Limited
I am delighted to recommend the services of Francis Wilks & Jones. We have had a close relationship with FWJ over the last decade led by founding partner Andy Wilks. The firm has a particular expertise in recruitment related matters with an emphasis on debt recovery and litigation work. They are friendly, approachable and commercial in the way they handle our claims. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
David Mills, Director, Canopy Recruitment Limited
As credit and collection professionals ourselves, we have to be pretty discerning about the lawyers that we retain. So it speaks volumes that Francis Wilks & Jones have been our retained solicitors for many years now. Thoroughly professional, the firm has wide knowledge and experience of the legalities of the debt recovery scene. Sound advice is always available and provides crucial support with some of the more difficult decisions that we have to make.
CPA (PAID) – the debt purchase division of the Credit Protection Association Plc
I can strongly recommend Francis Wilks & Jones and in particular their specialist debt recovery and litigation team. In my capacity as liquidator of insolvent companies, I often require the assistance to help recover sums due to the company from its customers. The expertise of Francis Wilks & Jones in this area has been instrumental in maximising recoveries of company ledgers and maximising returns to creditors.
Mike Solomons, Partner, BM Advisory
As a firm of forensic investigators, we have worked closely with Francis Wilks & Jones for many years, particularly in relation to fraud related claims. FWJ has a wide experience of dealing with fraud claims with particular expertise in the Asset Based Lending sector. I have worked closely with the FWJ team on a number of significant fraud claims and have witnessed first-hand FWJ’s ability to not only obtain the necessary injunctions and associated orders at court, but also put in place a strategy to maximise recoveries for its clients. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Simon Kidd, Managing Director, De Vere Intellica
For over a decade I have worked with the litigation team at FWJ across a wide spectrum of cases. These have included numerous claims for its Asset Based Lending clients ranging from fraud to complex customer disputes but also more mainstream commercial contract and insolvency disputes.
In all of them, the FWJ team have proved friendly and down to earth colleagues but tough and expert opponents who while fighting very hard for their clients never lose sight of the bigger commercial picture.
Shantanu Majumdar, Counsel, Radcliffe Chambers
Bibby Financial Services (BFS) has worked with FWJ throughout the UK for some years and appointed them as a legal panel member in 2010 as a direct result of the quality of service provided. We have always find them friendly and approachable and value their commercial advice and speed of response. In particular they have a strong understanding of our business and also those of our clients. They also recognise the importance of superb IT systems and we find this aspect of their business of particular value
Pat James, Legal Manager, Bibby Financial Services
FWJ were recommended to us by another ABFA member at a time we were looking to broaden our panel of legal advisors. We have been delighted to have them as one of our panel lawyers. Not only do they have a genuine expertise in the ABL sector they are also a friendly and approachable firm to work with, providing off the cuff advice as and when we need it. We have used them for both litigation and insolvency related work and have been very impressed with their IT systems, particularly their debt recovery case management system. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to other ABFA members.
Jeremy Coombes, Chief Executive, Ultimate Finance Group PLC
We have had a decade long relationship with FWJ and have instructed them on a wide variety of claims, both litigation and insolvency based. In 2009 FWJ won our tender to undertake all of our customer related recovery work. We enjoy working with them as they listen to what we need and their advice is always commercial and astute. We have also been deeply impressed by their continued commitment to using technology to assist in the recoveries process. Their interactive case management system is particularly impressive delivering quick, accurate solutions together with very helpful case reporting.
Clive Gould, Head of Credit, Close Brothers Invoice Finance
FWJ is our law firm of choice and we are delighted with the proactive levels of service and recovery we receive from them. Their detailed understanding of the Invoice Finance industry combined with their technical expertise and approachability makes them great people to work with.
Sylvia Bradley, Director, SJB Associates Limited
I have used Francis Wilks & Jones since their inception over 10 years ago as one of IGF’s legal services providers. In addition to their technical expertise in insolvency law, litigation and transactional work, I have found them to be down to earth and approachable with a sound commercial understanding of what we as a business do. Given my own experience of working with the firm, I have referred many of my colleagues in the Asset Based Lending industry to them over the years, and will have no hesitation in continuing to do so.
Tracy Ewen, Managing Director, IGF Invoice Finance Limited
Having worked with Tim and Andy, the founding partners of Francis Wilks & Jones since 2003 and before at their previous practice, I thoroughly value the expertise and flexibility brought to every assignment by them and their team. As a relatively new insolvency practice, BM Advisory has carefully selected its business partners who share a similar enthusiasm to find workable solutions for our mutual clients often in distressed situations. Francis Wilks & Jones fits this bill well and we would have no hesitation in recommending the firm to anyone who requires a sound law firm who are approachable and easy to talk to.
Andy Pear, Partner, BM Advisory
I have used Francis Wilks & Jones to handle the majority of our corporate insolvency work for the past decade. The Shipleys team has worked closely with the FWJ team where staff at all levels feel completely comfortable picking up the phone and talking through legal issues and jointly solving problems. They are on the ball technically but have a great knack of being able to understand exactly what we as the client need. I have recommended Tim Francis, Andy Wilks and their colleagues to a number of my contacts over the years, all of whom have been equally impressed.
Robert Smailes – Shipleys LLP
Francis Wilks and Jones not only fully understands our legal requirements but also acts with the requisite sensitivity and discretion given our place in the local community. We have found them to be highly effective in both recovering money due to us and resolving potentially very difficult disputes. Their advice is both commercially sound and cost effective, which are of great importance. We would have no hesitation in recommending them to other schools.
Ian Percival, Business Manager – Beech Hall School
Leonard Curtis has worked with Francis Wilks & Jones on a number of insolvency appointments over the years and in particular those with an Asset Based Lending angle. I have enjoyed working with a legal team that has impressed with its depth of technical knowledge in that sector yet displaying a skill to balance this with advising on the practical and commercial issues we as Insolvency Practitioners face. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to asset based lenders and company directors.
Neil Bennett, Partner, Leonard Curtis
I have found FWJ to be technically excellent in respect of complicated or contentious situations. I appreciate their technical and practical approach in respect of negotiations, which is of utmost importance to us. I am particularly impressed with the Insolvency Litigation team headed up by Tim Francis and Stephen Downie, who appear to able to provide solutions in some difficult scenarios.
Stewart Bennett – Stewart Bennett & Co
I have found FWJ to be perceptive, to the point and realistic in advising me and my wife with regard to a complicated property and partnership dispute. They have impressed me with the way they have been able to assimilate and forcefully defend a very aggressive claim on the basis of limited historic information.
I have no hesitation in recommending FWJ.
MS – February 2013
Once in a while you get an assignment where everyone makes life impossibly difficult. Mine was an Administration which was intertwined in an irreconcilable family dispute. Every party had an entrenched self-interested position, all believed that I was aligned with another and there was a whole host of complex property issues to boot.
For over eighteen months I was in daily contact with FWJ through litigation, possession proceedings, injunctions, negotiations, trespassers and the aforementioned property issues.
The strategic thinking displayed by FWJ meant that I was always confident that the difficulties would be overcome. Of course they were and when I next need solicitors to act for me in such challenging and contentious circumstances, FWJ will get my call.
Steve Goderski, Partner, Geoffrey Martin & Co
We have always found FWJ to be responsive, proactive and commercial in their approach. They are a great team to deal with and always provide high quality and practical advice.
We would therefore be happy to recommend them.
RSM TENON (Now Baker Tilly)
Tim, Ambuja and the rest of the Insolvency Team at FWJ have consistently provided me with technically sound and commercially astute advice for over 10 years. My colleagues at MHA MacIntyre Hudson and I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.
Georgina Eason, Licensed Insolvency Practitioner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson
The Insolvency team at FWJ have helped me on a number of complex and protracted matters over the last few years. FWJ are quick to respond and have given me practical and comprehensive solutions to the situations I have had to deal with. I have always been impressed by the depth of insolvency knowledge and commercial awareness displayed by the team and I would not hesitate to instruct FWJ again.
Ian Robert, Partner, Kingston Smith
Over the years we have worked together, FWJ have become an invaluable part of our business providing timely and practical advice on a range of complex legal issues. The team are commercial in their approach to problems and regularly achieve fantastic results for us.
Select Credit Management Limited
Based on my personal experience, I would strongly recommend using FWJ for director disqualification matters. Not only did the team handle the original claim against me and deal with that by way of an undertaking, they also successfully got me leave to remain a director of my existing business for the remaining period of my disqualification. Tactically and commercially Andy Wilks and the team played it just right and I am now able to get on with my business life without the worry of disqualification hanging over me. A great result.
I was very impressed with the work undertaken by the team at FWJ. Their commercial approach combined with specialist knowledge and tactical expertise was pivotal in the claim being dropped and costs recovered in full.
I was greatly impressed with the commercial, tactical and technical ability of the team at FWJ. They quickly got to grips with a complex set of facts involving my directorship of a group of nine companies, each one named in the director disqualification proceedings against me. Through their hard work they had the proceedings against me dropped and a significant proportion of my legal fees repaid. They also helped me defend and defeat other claims by the liquidator arising from the liquidation of the group of companies. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
I was delighted by the work done by the team at FWJ. Not only did they help me secure the time I needed to make my new business a success, they then obtained permission from the court for me to remain a director of my new business moving forward. Without that permission, my new company would have been in grave danger. As it is, I can continue to grow it free from the worry of my original disqualification. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Their legal and tactical knowledge was spot on.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being caught up in the insolvency world or facing potential director disqualification proceedings, Francis Wilks & Jones is most definitely the firm to have alongside guiding you through the process.
My interaction with the firm was first rate - professional and pro-active. They were able to understand the problem quickly and provide expert advice, outline a solution and put that process into place - the outcome of which was successful. If there was one thing I learned during the process, it was that I should have gone to Francis Wilks sooner rather than later.
If there ever was star rating for law firms, my view is that Francis Wilks & Jones would score 5 stars plus!
“We continue to enjoy an excellent relationship with FWJ who we have always found to be professional, diligent and commercial in their advice. The team are approachable and down-to-earth and, most importantly, have always given confident and accurate advice in helping us regularly achieve great results. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them”.
Malcolm Bell, Financial Director, Phoenix Resourcing Services Limited
“Lorien Resourcing Limited and Francis Wilks & Jones have an established trusted business relationship. Not only do they offer us an excellent service, briefing us at every point in the process but they constantly achieve great results. We are always impressed with their efficiency & conduct and very much consider them to be a business partner, not just our legal experts”
Stuart A Parmenter, Credit Manager, Lorien Resourcing Limited
"Over the years, FWJ’S specialist debt recovery and commercial litigation services have proved invaluable to our business. The team advise on a variety of legal matters and have always maintained a commercial and practical approach to whatever issue we present them with. I cannot recommend them highly enough"
Jim Armour, Managing Director - Aramex International Couriers UK Limited
“Over the 10 years we have worked together, FWJ continue to achieve exceptional results year on year. Andy Wilks, and the team have been a pleasure to work with and have always provided pragmatic, commercial and accurate advice on a wide range of matters. FWJ have become an integral part of our business and we cannot recommend them highly enough”.
THE EXQUISITE pain of having former colleagues make false allegation after false allegation against you has to be experienced to be believed.
But Andy Wilks' vast knowledge, attention to detail and dogged determination won through in the end.
My only regret is that due to the Court Rules relating to cost recovery, he was prevented from recovering the full 100% and offset our own expenses.