HomeCase studiesSMEs, directors & shareholdersCommercial litigationProviding timely assistance to help a director to avoid prosecution and disqualification

Why the client needed our help

Our client was a sole director of a company which had, for various reasons, failed to file financial accounts within the period legally required under the Companies Act 2006 and ancillary legislation.

These failures had occurred over a period of two years and our client faced prosecution for the current period and the offence of continuously fail to file in respect of the previous offences. Such conduct meant that as well as the prosecution, he was liable to be disqualified as a director under Section 5 Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

This would have led to the failure of his companies and loss of his and his family’s livelihoods, as well as that of employees and suppliers who were reliant on the company.

How we helped

We immediately acted to review documents, engage the Prosecution Section at Companies House and deal with case management issues, risks and concerns. We also provided detailed advice to our client on Companies’ House filing requirements and how to management these matters.

We wrote detailed representations to the Companies House Prosecutor, discussed case management and hearing arrangements and limited procedural matters.

Whilst the prosecution was a risk to our client, the more important aspect was the disqualification order, which is largely made with little or no regard to matters of misconduct.

The outcome

Following detailed exchanges, Companies House agreed to withdraw the prosecution and the threat of disqualification completely and offer no evidence at the hearing.

This resulted in a complete acquittal of our client as a result of our involvement and in turn protection of his company. Although this result is solely as a result of the circumstances relevant to this case, it demonstrates how companies, their directors and individuals could really benefit from timely assistance.


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.

A company director we successfully defended

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Stephen Downie

Stephen Downie


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