Francis Ng
Junior counsel

Francis Ng

Call to Bar:2013

LEGAL 500 2022

"Francis has a keen tactical brain and is great at looking at the strategy of a case. His advice is pointed, accurate and practical with an eye for detail. He is a rising star in the field of contentious trusts and probate and destined for great things. Excellent in Court and his preparation is second to none".

Francis is a traditional chancery barrister focusing on trusts and estates. He is recommended for private client work in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners High Net Worth. The directories describe him as having ‘a keen tactical brain’, ‘excellent in court’, ‘technically excellent’, and as ‘highly intelligent’ whilst maintaining ‘a sympathetic and relaxed manner with clients’.

Recent highlights from Francis’ practice include re Clarke [2019] EWHC 1193 (Ch) on rescission for equitable mistake and claims under the Inheritance Act, and re Cadogan [2021] WTLR 411 on accounting on a footing of wilful default. He has a wide range of experience in both contentious and non‑contentious private client matters as a former consultant to the private client department of McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP and having taught trusts law to undergraduates for over half a decade (including as a college lecturer at St Catherine’s College, Oxford). He is a full member of STEP.

In 2020, Francis was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown. His government clients have included HMRC, the Insolvency Service, and the bona vacantia department.

5 Stone Buildings - building sign
Chambers and Partner High Net Worth 2022

"Francis is highly intelligent but retains a sympathetic and relaxed manner with clients which is not always something that is combined."

Chambers and Partner High Net Worth 2022

"technically excellent," and "the sort of barrister you need on your side.""He really is a rising star,"

About Francis Ng

Trusts, Probate and Estates

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 Chowdhury [2021] ChD unrep – application to vary a final order in a probate claim under r 19.8A(8) CPR
  • Re Andrews [2021] ChD unrep – application for freezing and proprietary injunctions in a case where a grant of letters of administration was alleged to have been obtained fraudulently
  • Bryan Court Freehold Ltd v BC Penthouse Ltd [2021] CLCC unrep – application under r 72.10 CPR opposed on the basis that the fund in court was an asset of the estate of a deceased Kuwaiti Sheikh
  • Re Magan [2020] ChD unrep – application for interim account and interim injunction freezing the administration of an estate.
  • Re Cadogan [2020] EWHC 2714 (Ch) – resisting an application to set aside or vary an unless order providing that if the defendant failed to file an account, the claimant would be permitted to file one on his behalf
  • Re Cadogan [2021] WTLR 411, [2019] EWHC 1557 (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 covered the law on interpreting wills, executorship de son tort, rectification of wills, charitable trusts and cy-près, directions under the Royal Sign Manual, the doctrine of lapse; claims under the 1975 Act; the content and timing of estate accounts; the effect of variations and disclaimers for IHT and CGT purposes; and the effect of grants of probate for the use and benefit of a minor. Francis also has experience drafting wills and deeds of variation.

 

Contentious and Non-Contentious Trusts
Francis has a wide range of experience in trusts matters. His advocacy and advisory work has included issues over the validity of trusts, rectification and rescission of trust instruments, validity and effects of dispositions of subsisting equitable interests, applications for re Benjamin orders, 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. Cases of note include:

  • Spencer v Roy [2021] ChD unrep – emergency application for an order under s 50 Trustee Act 1925 appointing a person to convey trust property
  • Re A Trust – [2021] ChD unrep – representing a minor beneficiary in an application by trustees to rectify a trust deed by inserting a settlor-exclusion clause and limiting a power to add beneficiaries to prevent it being used to benefit the settlors.
  • Re Queenborough Club [2020] ChD unrep – application by trustees for declarations that the club had dissolved and for re Benjamin orders authorising a scheme of distribution of assets.
  • A v B [2020] ChD unrep – application to replace a dissolved trustee company under s 41 Trustee Act 1925 and for an extra-territorial vesting order under s 56 Trustee Act 1925 raising issues over the law of bona vacantia in the British Virgin Islands.

 

Equitable Remedies
Francis has advised and represented parties in a range of cases concerning 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. Cases of note 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 due to 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-inkind rules to non-resident shadow directors; and the authorised surplus payments charge on pension trusts.

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.’

Notable Cases

Trusts and Probate

Spencer v Roy [2021] ChD unrep – emergency application for an order under s 50 Trustee Act 1925 appointing a person to convey trust property

Re A Trust – [2021] ChD unrep – representing a minor beneficiary in an application by trustees to rectify a trust deed by inserting a settlor-exclusion clause and limiting a power to add beneficiaries to prevent it being used to benefit the settlors.

Re Chowdhury [2021] ChD unrep – application to vary a final order in a probate claim under r 19.8A(8) CPR

Re Andrews [2021] ChD unrep – application for freezing and proprietary injunctions in a case where a grant of letters of administration was alleged to have been obtained fraudulently

Bryan Court Freehold Ltd v BC Penthouse Ltd [2021] CLCC unrep – application under r 72.10 CPR opposed on the basis that the fund in court was an asset of the estate of a deceased Kuwaiti Sheikh

Re Queenborough Club [2020] ChD unrep – application by trustees for declarations that the club had dissolved and for re Benjamin orders authorising a scheme of distribution of assets.

A v B [2020] ChD unrep – application to replace a dissolved trustee company under s 41 Trustee Act 1925 and for an extra-territorial vesting order under s 56 Trustee Act 1925 raising issues over the law of bona vacantia in the British Virgin Islands.

Re Magan [2020] ChD unrep – application for interim account and interim injunction freezing the administration of an estate.

Re Cadogan [2020] EWHC 2714 (Ch) – resisting an application to set aside or vary an unless order providing that if the defendant failed to file an account, the claimant would be permitted to file one on his behalf

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.

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

Publications

‘“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) (a report produced by the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation (with Prof Judith Freedman and Dr John Vella)).

‘Administration of estates: a long-running saga’ (2021) 228 Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal 43

‘Success fees under the Inheritance Act’ [2020] Private Client Business 172.[1]

‘Saving litigants from themselves: mandatory early neutral evaluation in the English courts’ [2019] Private Client Business 185.

‘Unintended Consequences’ (2019) 210 Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal 17

 

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

Attorney General’s London C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown (from Sep 2020)

Lecturer, St Catherine’s College, Oxford (Trinity Term 2018)

Tutor, Mansfield College, Oxford (Hilary Term 2017)

Tutor, St Catherine’s College, Oxford (Hilary Term 2016)

Judicial Assistant to Lady Justice Arden (2015)

Teaching Fellow, University College London (2014-15)

Teaching Fellow, University College London (2012-13)

Professional memberships

Chancery Bar Association

Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (Full Member)

Lincoln’s Inn

Denning Society