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 interest in private client work. He is a full member of STEP, a consultant for the private client department at McDermott Will and Emery UK LLP, and has previously been seconded to the private client department of William Sturges LLP. In 2018 he will be taking up a part-time lecturership at St Catherine’s College, Oxford teaching trusts law to undergraduates. He has previously taught trusts law at Mansfield College, Oxford, and trusts and land law at University College London.

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 in the Court of Appeal.

Contentious and Non-Contentious Trusts

Francis has advised and represented parties in respect of various issues arising in trusts law, including trusts of the family home, the validity of dispositions of subsisting equitable interests, 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. He has published articles on many of these issues in leading journals.

Contentious and Non-Contentious Probate

Francis frequently advises and acts on probate matters. He recently appeared as junior counsel in Thornton v Woodhouse [2017] EWHC 769 (Ch), a twelve-day probate trial in the High Court raising issues of knowledge and approval, probate undue influence, and executor-removal. He is currently instructed on his own account in a High Court claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 raising issues over the anti-avoidance provisions and their interaction with the equitable doctrine of mistake.

Francis’ recent 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.

Tax

Francis completed his pupillage at a leading tax chambers and maintains an advisory and advocacy practice in all areas of taxation, with a particular focus on private client work. His 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 income tax treatment of pension trusts. He is currently instructed to appear in Yechiel v HMRC, a two-day appeal in the First-tier Tribunal concerning the availability of main residence relief against capital gains tax, enhancement expenditure, and penalties for inaccurate returns.

Insolvency

Francis regularly appears for parties 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 University College London. He has acted in relation to boundary disputes, adverse possession, and disputes over rights of access and rights to light. He recently appeared in the High Court 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. His experience covers assured and assured shorthold tenancies, secure tenancies, Rent Act 1977 protected tenancies, business and personal retail mortgages, Consumer Credit Act regulated mortgages, business tenancy renewal, and forfeiture of residential and business leases.

He has acted in cases raising various unusual issues in this area, including whether a district judge purporting to set aside a High Court writ of possession was within the doctrine of de facto jurisdiction, whether a beneficiary under a vendor-purchaser constructive trust could serve a valid notice under s 21 Housing Act 1988, whether a suspended possession order could be enforced against a successor tenant under s 87 Housing Act 1985, whether the rules in the Deregulation Act 2015 apply to contractual periodic tenancies originally established prior to 2015, and whether the FtT (PC) had jurisdiction to make a declaration of breach where an action for breach would have been time-barred or subject to a promissory estoppel.

Francis has also appeared in enfranchisement actions in the County Court and First-tier Tribunal. His cases have included Gregorio v Stacey (FtT (PC) LON/00AF/OCE/2015/0317), a two-day trial 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

Thornton v Woodhouse [2017] EWHC 769 (Ch) (with Duncan Macpherson) – junior in a twelve-day probate trial raising numerous issues including undue influence, knowledge and approval, and applications to remove executors.

Property

Bhardwaj v Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2017] EWHC 340 (Ch) (with Michael Hartman) – a one-day appeal to the High Court concerning the validity of an agreement to enter into interest-only loan facilities secured on residential property where the agreement did not expressly provide for repayment dates. Francis argued that the agreements were void for uncertainty and that no repayment 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.

 Insolvency

National Crime Agency v Lynch (High Court, 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

Mussani v Brissett (QBD, unrep 2015) – application to set aside a District Judge’s order where the District Judge had purported to set aside a High Court writ of possession.

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.

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.

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.

 

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