Francis Ng

2013

Selborne Chambers
10 Essex Street
London WC2R 3AA
Email Francis Ng
0207 420 9500

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Francis is a chancery practitioner with interests in the law of trusts, probate, tax, property, and insolvency. He has experience as sole counsel in the County Court and High Court, as well as in the First-Tier Tribunal tax and residential property chambers. He is also available to attend mediations.

Francis has a particular focus in private client work. He is a full member of STEP, a former consultant for the private client department at McDermott Will and Emery UK LLP, and taught trusts law to undergraduates for five years at UCL and Oxford (latterly as a lecturer at St Catherine’s College, Oxford).

Prior to joining chambers, Francis developed his advocacy skills working in HMRC’s insolvency technical team, appearing in bankruptcy petitions and other insolvency-related applications. He also spent three months seconded as the Judicial Assistant to Lady Justice Arden (as she then was) in the Court of Appeal.

Contentious and Non-Contentious Probate

Francis frequently represents parties in probate disputes. Recent matters have included trustee and executor removal, claims for accounts, disputes over will validity, and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Cases of note include:

Re Cadogan [2019] EWHC 1577 (Ch) – a 3-day trial of a claim and counterclaim for accounts on a footing of wilful default between former administrators of an estate

Clarke v Allen and Smith [2019] EWHC 1193 (Ch) and [2019] EWHC 1994 (Ch)– a 3-day trial of claims to rescind a transfer for equitable mistake and for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Thornton v Woodhouse [2017] All ER (D) 114 (Apr), [2017] EWHC 769 (Ch) (as junior counsel) – a 12-day probate trial in the High Court raising issues of knowledge and approval, probate undue influence, and executor-removal.

Francis’ advisory work has included the consequences of a testamentary gift to a non-existent NHS trust (raising issues of interpretation, rectification, cy-près, and the interaction of the doctrine of lapse with the legislation relating to foundation NHS trusts); claims under the 1975 Act; the content and timing of estate accounts; the validity of variations for IHT and CGT purposes; and the effect of grants of probate for the use and benefit of a minor.

Contentious and Non-Contentious Trusts

Francis advises and represents parties in respect of various issues arising in trusts law. Recent matters have included disputes over the validity of trusts, dispositions of subsisting equitable interests, Public Trustee v Cooper applications, applications under TOLATA, trustee removal and replacement in and out of court, variations of trust, the duty to account, the proper allocation of income and capital to trust expenditure, and the proper interpretation of trusts deeds. He also advises on the tax treatment of trustees and beneficiaries and proposed dispositions of equitable interests.

Equitable Principles and Remedies

Francis has advised and represented parties in relation to a range of equitable remedies including subrogation; resulting and constructive trusts; promissory estoppel; rescission for mistake, undue influence, and under the rule in re Hastings-Bass; proprietary estoppel; knowing receipt, and tracing.

Recent cases include:

Clarke v Allen and Smith [2019] EWHC 1993 (Ch), in which Francis acted for the successful claimant in rescinding the voluntary transfer by the deceased of the £1.38m matrimonial home for mistake.

Quay 430 Management Ltd v Li (FtT (PC) LON/00BG/LBC/2017/0014) in which Francis successfully argued that no declaration under s 168 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 should be made in respect of breaches of covenant which were unactionable by reason of a promissory estoppel

Tax

Francis completed his pupillage at a leading tax chambers and maintains an advisory and advocacy practice in those areas of taxation affecting his private client work. Recent cases include Yechiel v HMRC [2018] All ER (D) 30 (Dec), [2018] UKFTT 683 (TC), a case raising issues of main residence relief against capital gains tax, enhancement expenditure, and penalties for inaccurate returns.

Francis’ recent advisory work has covered the capital gains tax treatment of trusts and dispositions of equitable interests; the pre-owned assets tax and the gifts with reservation of benefit provisions; agricultural and business property reliefs; the application of the benefit-in-kind rules to non-resident shadow directors; and the authorised surplus payments charge on pension trusts.

Insolvency

Francis regularly appears in bankruptcy and winding-up petitions. From his time with HMRC, he has particular experience in petitions raised by revenue authorities. Francis has also represented the National Crime Agency in numerous tax-related bankruptcy petitions.

Francis also acts and advises on insolvency-related applications. Recent cases have included applications for rescission; validation orders; claims under s 423 Insolvency Act 1986; and claims against directors for misfeasance under s 212 Insolvency Act 1986.

Real Property

Francis is interested in all areas of real property, having taught the subject as a Teaching Fellow at UCL. He has acted in relation to boundary disputes, adverse possession, and disputes over rights of access and rights to light. He recently appeared in Bhardwaj v Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2017] EWHC 340 (Ch), in which he advanced an argument that s 2 Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 rendered void a secured loan facility where the contract would have been void but-for an implied term. The judgment described Francis as having ‘presented it with great skill which I would like to acknowledge.’

Landlord and Tenant

Francis has appeared for and advised landlords and tenants in a wide variety of contentious and non-contentious matters, with a focus on the interaction of landlord and tenant matters with trusts and equitable remedies.

Recent cases include a dispute over whether beneficiaries under a vendor-purchaser constructive trust can serve a valid notice under s 21 Housing Act 1988, whether a suspended possession order against a deceased secure tenant can be enforced against a successor tenant under s 87 Housing Act 1985, and Quay 430 Management Ltd v Li (FtT (PC) LON/00BG/LBC/2017/0014) in which Francis successfully argued that no declaration under s 168 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 should be made in respect of breaches of covenant which were unactionable by reason of a promissory estoppel.

Cases of note include:

Walcott v Jones [2018] L&TR 11, appeal concerning whether contractual periodic tenancies should be analysed as a single tenancy or a series of tenancies re-granted every period for the purposes of s 41 Deregulation Act 2015

Quay 430 Management Ltd v Li (FtT (PC) LON/00BG/LBC/2017/0014) application for declarations for breach under s 168 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 in which Francis successfully argued that no declaration should be made in respect of breaches which were unactionable by reason of a promissory estoppel.

Gregorio v Stacey (FtT (PC) LON/00AF/OCE/2015/0317), a two-day trial of an enfranchisement claim in which he successfully argued that one of two joint tenants could not unilaterally serve a valid notice under s 166 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Please see Francis’ Privacy Notice here.

Notable cases

Probate

Re Cadogan [2019] EWHC 1577 (Ch) – 3-day trial of a claim and counterclaim for accounts on a footing of wilful default between former administrators of an estate

Clarke v Allen and Smith [2019] EWHC 1193 (Ch) and [2019] EWHC 1994 (Ch) – 3-day trial of claims to rescind a transfer for equitable mistake and for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Thornton v Woodhouse [2017] All ER (D) 114 (Apr), [2017] EWHC 769 (Ch) (as junior counsel) – 12-day probate trial in the High Court raising issues of knowledge and approval, probate undue influence, and executor-removal.

Property

Bhardwaj v Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2017] EWHC 340 (Ch) (as junior counsel) –appeal concerning the validity of an agreement to enter into loan facilities secured on residential property. Francis argued that the agreements were void for uncertainty due to lack of a repayment date and that no date could be implied because the contract would then not be ‘made in writing’ within the meaning of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989.

Tax

Yechiel v HMRC [2018] All ER (D) 30 (Dec), [2018] UKFTT 683 (TC), a case raising issues of main residence relief against capital gains tax, enhancement expenditure, and penalties for inaccurate returns

Insolvency

National Crime Agency v Lynch (ChD, unrep 2016) – case concerning whether the National Crime Agency could forfeit criminal property and later present a bankruptcy petition in respect of tax on the income represented by that property.

Landlord and Tenant

Walcott v Jones [2018] L&TR 11 – case concerning whether a contractual periodic tenancy starting in 2007 could nevertheless come within the new rules relating to s 21 notices introduced under the Deregulation Act 2015.

Quay 420 Freehold Ltd v Li (FtT (PC), LON/00BG/LBC/2017/0013 & 0014) – trial of an application for declarations of breach under s 168 CLRA 2002, raising legal issues over the interaction of that provision with the Limitation Act 1980 and the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Gregorio v Stacey (FtT (PC), LON/00AF/OCE/2015/0317) –  two-day enfranchisement trial involving expert valuation evidence, and numerous legal issues including whether a single joint tenant could unilaterally serve a valid notice under s.166 CLRA 2002.

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (Full Member)

Lincoln’s Inn

Denning Society

Education

BCL, St Peter’s College, Oxford; 2012 (Distinction)(Papers in Corporate and Business Taxation, Personal Taxation, Corporate Insolvency, and Restitution for Unjust Enrichment)

 

BPTC, Bristol Law School, 2011 (Outstanding)

MA in Law; University of Bristol; 2010 (Distinction)

Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

Walter Wigglesworth Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn

Book Prize, St Peter’s College, Oxford


APPOINTMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS

Trinity Term 2018 – Lecturer, St Catherine’s College, Oxford (teaching trusts law)

Hilary Term 2017 – Tutor, Mansfield College, Oxford (teaching trusts law)

Hilary Term 2016 – Tutor, St Catherine’s College, Oxford (teaching trusts law)

2014-15 – Teaching Fellow, University College London (teaching trusts law)

2012-13 – Teaching Fellow, University College London (teaching trusts and land law)

‘“Common intention” constructive trusts arising from informal agreements to dispose of land’ [2017] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 146 (with Toby Boncey).

‘Property Realised after Completion of an Individual Voluntary Arrangement’ (2016) 29(6) Insolvency Intelligence 92 (with Simon Jones).

‘Case Comment: re St Andrew’s (Cheam) Lawn Tennis Club Trust’ [2014] Trusts and Trustees 287 (with Toby Boncey).

‘The rule in Hastings-Bass, Mistake, and Tax Avoidance: Pitt v Holt and Futter v Futter’ [2013] British Tax Review 566.

‘HMRC’s Relationship with Business’ (2013) (with Prof Judith Freedman and Dr John Vella).