Francis joined St Philips Chambers as a Third Six pupil in January 2021 under the supervision of Bruce Few having previously been admitted to the roll of Solicitors in 2018. On successful completion of his pupillage, Francis became a full member of Chambers in July 2021. He is an employment specialist and recent transfer to the Bar from a successful employment practice at a leading international law firm, Francis brings a far greater wealth of experience to his clients than his recent call year may suggest. An all-rounder in the employment arena, Francis acts for both Claimants and Respondents. He has substantial experience in high-value, high stakes issues, such as advising on strategic collective consultations for in excess of 350 staff arising out of the pandemic for a major multinational professional services firm. Francis also served as the lead Solicitor on a complex High Court matter in which his client sought an urgent interlocutory injunction to prevent prized information, crucial to his client’s prospects at securing a services contract with a third party, valued at over £20m, from being released and used against it.
Francis’ sweet spot is Employment Tribunal advocacy and litigation, with which he brings years of experience, from his time as a Solicitor Advocate. With an acute awareness and understanding of the latest pressures his professional clients face, and an appreciation of the dynamic nature of private employment practice, Francis understands the importance of delivering an excellent standard of service, not just excellent, accurate and useful advice.
In addition to his employment practice, Francis is an accredited self-defense instructor (Krav Maga), which he teaches free of charge as a volunteer. Also a keen sportsman and charity supporter, in recent years Francis has climbed Kilimanjaro and is a regular fell runner.
Francis’ considerable experience of advising on contentious and non-contentious matters means that he provides a quality experience across many of the most active sub-specialisms in the market, this includes but is not limited to: discrimination; dismissals; whistleblowing; and redundancies. Discrimination, indeed, is one of Francis’ most active suits, he has particular experience and understanding in sensitive discrimination issues involving disability, mental health and vulnerable parties. Generally comfortable in almost every sector and industry, Francis has particular expertise in the retail, professional services and construction sectors.
An increasingly active part of Francis’ practice involves dealing with issues at the complex interface of employment and civil or commercial law including: restrictive covenants; urgent mandatory and prohibitory interlocutory injunctions; director (often senior and high-profile) exits; and circumstances where key or valuable corporate information is alleged to have been stolen.
A snapshot of Francis’ significant expertise includes:
- Serving as a key part of a high-volume litigation team for a major, heavily unionized, client with over 180,000 employees. This included regularly advising on a wide variety of employment tribunal claims in different sectors across the UK;
- Advising on a sensitive, dynamic and major collective consultation redundancy exercise for a major multinational professional services firm, arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Appearing in the Employment Tribunal conducting advocacy on behalf of major national and international clients including one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, a major global technology business, one of the UK’s largest building materials suppliers and a European leader in clothing retail;
- Managing, including full strategic oversight of litigation, various commercially sensitive Employment Tribunal claims for clients, often advising on multi-limb discrimination and whistleblowing claims, as well as litigation arising out of collective consultation exercises. Amongst his various successes, Francis successfully defended and/or achieved favourable outcomes in over 60 distinct claims in the last two years for a leading national retailer resulting in significant savings for that business; and
- Being the leading Solicitor on a piece of complex High Court litigation for a confidential client who stood at risk of commercially sensitive information being used against it which could jeopardise the securing of a contract, worth in the region of £20m. Through robust litigation strategy, Francis helped ensure the protection of this key information by securing voluntary undertakings for the delivery up of hardware, the imaging of those devices and supervised copying and deletion of any information deemed confidential.
From his time as a Solicitor, Francis also brings a deep and clear understanding of:
- The intricacies of key issues in drafting across the full suite of employment documents including: employment contracts; directors’ and senior executives’ service agreements; restrictive covenants; and policies and handbooks;
- Advising on settlement negotiations and drafting settlement agreements; and
- How his professional clients need to advise various clients on the day to day management of difficult workplace situations, ranging from ongoing disciplinary, performance and capability proceedings to large scale business restructuring exercises often reported in the national media or likely to have reputational impact.
Working with Francis
With such a recent and finely tuned practice as a Solicitor to rely on, Francis is keen to ‘make it easy and straightforward’ for his professional clients. He sees the provision of accurate, pragmatic and robust advice, within an excellent service framework, as a minimum standard to meet. Keen to turnaround papers and briefs quickly, Francis has developed a way of working that complements the evolving and time-pressured practices of his professional clients. This is also supported by his view, and ability, that it is imperative to quickly get up to speed on the intricacies of lay clients ways of working as well as his professional ones.
Francis’ style is based on clarity, pragmatism and seeing the big picture on particular issues. He prides himself on an ability to succinctly sum up and explain the issues, doing so in a clear format and in simple, digestible, terms, while keeping the aims of his clients in mind. Comfortable with corporate leaders and vulnerable litigants alike, Francis’ clients comment that he is easy to deal with and has a tactful, incisive way of tapping into the ‘human element’ of an issue.
Appointments and Memberships
Employment Law Association
Employment Law Bar Association
Industrial Law Society
Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator – ADR Group