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Andrew Francis

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Andrew Francis

Areas of Expertise

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Year of Call: 1977 afrancis@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Andrew’s practice is a chancery one, with an emphasis on real property and contested estates and probate.  He has developed and is recognised as a leading authority on the law of restrictive covenants affecting freehold land, and on the law of rights of light.  He has been instructed in the major cases in rights of light in the last decade.  He is the author, and also the co-author of text books on covenants, rights of light and rights of way.   The breadth of his practice is demonstrated by his experience in contentious probate claims and in claims for financial provision out of deceaseds’ estates under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  In each field he has written a textbook.  This side of Andrew’s practice allows him to advise in more “human interest” cases and preserves a balance in the general chancery law which both the real property and contested estate work involves.

Areas of Expertise and Cases



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Professional Negligence

Andrew’s experience in his fields of chancery work allows him to examine, advise upon and conduct claims where professional negligence issues arise.  The particular areas of his expertise in easements and covenant law lead him to being called in where there may be have been negligence by professional advisers such as counsel, solicitors, surveyors and valuers.


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Property

The main areas of Andrew’s expertise in the law of real property are restrictive covenants affecting freehold land, rights of light, rights of way and other easements and party walls.  His publications (see below) on the first three topics demonstrate his very high degree of knowledge and experience in these three fields in particular.  These are very much “niche” areas of work in which he pre-eminent as a barrister.  He was a member of the Law Commission’s Advisory Board on the reform of the law of easements and covenants which led to the Report and draft Bill published in June 2011.  He was also a member of the Law Commission’s Advisory Board which examined the reform of rights of light and remedies for their breach, which led to the Report and draft Bill published in December 2014.

Re Waggott’s Application [2017] UKUT 0108 (LC).  Successful application to discharge restrictive covenant to allow change of use of building in Wantage from offices to residential, despite opposition from adjoining Chinese Take-Away Restaurant owner concerned over complaints about smells and noise from his restaurant from the future residential occupiers.

Kirkby v Heaney [2016] Court of Appeal.  (Upholding decision of Upper Tribunal [2015] UKUT 178 (TCC) on principles applicable to claims to adverse possession of land and s. 9(5) Land Registration Act 2002 and on certain aspect of appeals from the First Tier Tribunal to Upper Tribunal in land registration cases).

Scott v Winter [2015] (Newcastle Upon Tyne County Court: Business list.) (Decision applying the principles set out by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v Fen Tigers (2014) in claim seeking a mandatory injunction to pull down property built in breach of a restrictive covenant).

Kirkby v Heaney [2013] (Chancery Division, Leeds) (Decision refusing permission to appeal from Adjudicator to Her Majesty's Land Registry considering jurisdiction as between resolution of disputes by the Adjudicator (now the First Tier Tribunal) under Land Registration Act 2002 and proceedings for the same relief in the High Court).

Re George Wimpey Bristol Limited's Application [2011] UKUT 91 (LC) (Application to modify covenants under S. 84(1) Law of Property Act 1925).

HXRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney (Re Cloth Hall Court) [2010] (High Court, Leeds) (Injunction and damages for interference with rights of light).

Re Walker's Application [2010] (Lands Tribunal) (Application to modify restrictive covenants under S84(1) Law of Property Act 1925).

Southwark Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation v South London Church Fund [2009] (Ch.D.) (Declaration as to restrictive covenants).

RHJ Ltd v Patten (Holdings) Ltd [2008] (Court of Appeal) (rights of light).

Coastal Partnerships Ltd v Beddy [2007] (Construction of restrictive covenant).

Regan v Paul Properties & Ors [2006] (Court of Appeal) (Injunction to restrain interference with rights of light).

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre v Bakker and Ors [2006] (Party Walls and the basis of appeals from a Third Surveyor's Award).


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Trusts and Probate

Andrew has long experience in trusts matters (both in terms of advice and where there are disputes) and also in contentious probate claims and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975.  He has written books on the last two subjects.

Allport v Allport [2010] (High Court, Family Division) (Widow's claim under Inheritance Act 1975).

Re Wain decd [2011] EWHC 348 (Ch) (Rectification of Will and dispute over construction and S.24 Wills Act 1837).

Re Bishop decd [2009] (Probate claim to determine validity of will).

Re Franks decd [2006] (Probate claim to determine validity of will).


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Competition and State Aid

The interface between restrictive covenants over land in England and Wales which restrict competition and the Competition Act 2008 and Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, requires Andrew’s advice to be sought on such covenants.  These covenants may be void under the relevant law now in force since 6th April 2011. His consideration of the ECJ decision in Groupement des cartes bancaires (September 2014) as applicable to land agreements potentially within Chapter 1 Competition Act 1998 has been published in the European Law Reporter (2014 no. 12).  Andrew considers that it is unlikely that competition law and the effect of that law on land covenants in England and Wales will be substantially changed post BREXIT.


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EU Law

The interface between restrictive covenants over land in England and Wales which restrict competition and the Competition Act 2008 and Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, requires Andrew’s advice to be sought on such covenants. These covenants may be void under the relevant law now in force since 6th April 2011. His consideration of the ECJ decision in Groupement des cartes bancaires (September 2014) as applicable to land agreements potentially within Chapter 1 Competition Act 1998 has been published in the European Law Reporter (2014 no. 12).  Andrew considers that it is unlikely that competititon law and the effect of that law on land covenants in England and Wales will be substantially changed post BREXIT.

All Quotes

‘He has great experience combined with a commercial approach.’

‘Very experienced, knowledgeable and dependable.’

‘Very good in conference and on his feet in court.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable and experienced’

"persuasive and compelling advocate with a natural gift for explaining complex areas of law to the lay client"

"erudite professional with a deep knowledge base"

“clearly the go-to barrister for rights of light work"

"courteous, dedicated and knowledgeable”

“always goes the extra mile” (Legal 500)

"He is erudite, detailed and logical."

"Very approachable and very knowledgeable about real estate."

"Andrew is very thorough and clearly has a comprehensive knowledge of his subject. He understands the commercial dimensions as well as the legal ones."

"particularly valued by the market ... "he rules the roost.""

"he always keeps in mind a client's commercial objectives."

"is like having Shakespeare on your side - he wrote the book"

"has reinforced his market position as 'a master of the subject'"

"known affectionately as 'Mr Right to Light' for his knowledge and contribution to this specialism"

"he treats you like another professional and doesn't have any pretences"

“well-versed and highly technical”

“He knows his subject thoroughly” (Chambers & Partners)

Recommendations

Private Client: Trusts and Probate (Legal 500)
Property Litigation (Legal 500)
Real Estate Litigation (Chambers & Partners)

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Andrew Francis

Andrew Francis

Year of Call: 1977
Email: afrancis@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Andrew’s practice is a chancery one, with an emphasis on real property and contested estates and probate.  He has developed and is recognised as a leading authority on the law of restrictive covenants affecting freehold land, and on the law of rights of light.  He has been instructed in the major cases in rights of light in the last decade.  He is the author, and also the co-author of text books on covenants, rights of light and rights of way.   The breadth of his practice is demonstrated by his experience in contentious probate claims and in claims for financial provision out of deceaseds’ estates under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  In each field he has written a textbook.  This side of Andrew’s practice allows him to advise in more “human interest” cases and preserves a balance in the general chancery law which both the real property and contested estate work involves.

Areas of expertise

Recommendations

Private Client: Trusts and Probate (Legal 500)
Property Litigation (Legal 500)
Real Estate Litigation (Chambers & Partners)

Quotes

‘He has great experience combined with a commercial approach.’

‘Very experienced, knowledgeable and dependable.’

‘Very good in conference and on his feet in court.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable and experienced’

"persuasive and compelling advocate with a natural gift for explaining complex areas of law to the lay client"

"erudite professional with a deep knowledge base"

“clearly the go-to barrister for rights of light work"

"courteous, dedicated and knowledgeable”

“always goes the extra mile” (Legal 500)

"He is erudite, detailed and logical."

"Very approachable and very knowledgeable about real estate."

"Andrew is very thorough and clearly has a comprehensive knowledge of his subject. He understands the commercial dimensions as well as the legal ones."

"particularly valued by the market ... "he rules the roost.""

"he always keeps in mind a client's commercial objectives."

"is like having Shakespeare on your side - he wrote the book"

"has reinforced his market position as 'a master of the subject'"

"known affectionately as 'Mr Right to Light' for his knowledge and contribution to this specialism"

"he treats you like another professional and doesn't have any pretences"

“well-versed and highly technical”

“He knows his subject thoroughly” (Chambers & Partners)

Professional Negligence

Andrew’s experience in his fields of chancery work allows him to examine, advise upon and conduct claims where professional negligence issues arise.  The particular areas of his expertise in easements and covenant law lead him to being called in where there may be have been negligence by professional advisers such as counsel, solicitors, surveyors and valuers.

Property

The main areas of Andrew’s expertise in the law of real property are restrictive covenants affecting freehold land, rights of light, rights of way and other easements and party walls.  His publications (see below) on the first three topics demonstrate his very high degree of knowledge and experience in these three fields in particular.  These are very much “niche” areas of work in which he pre-eminent as a barrister.  He was a member of the Law Commission’s Advisory Board on the reform of the law of easements and covenants which led to the Report and draft Bill published in June 2011.  He was also a member of the Law Commission’s Advisory Board which examined the reform of rights of light and remedies for their breach, which led to the Report and draft Bill published in December 2014.

Re Waggott’s Application [2017] UKUT 0108 (LC).  Successful application to discharge restrictive covenant to allow change of use of building in Wantage from offices to residential, despite opposition from adjoining Chinese Take-Away Restaurant owner concerned over complaints about smells and noise from his restaurant from the future residential occupiers.

Kirkby v Heaney [2016] Court of Appeal.  (Upholding decision of Upper Tribunal [2015] UKUT 178 (TCC) on principles applicable to claims to adverse possession of land and s. 9(5) Land Registration Act 2002 and on certain aspect of appeals from the First Tier Tribunal to Upper Tribunal in land registration cases).

Scott v Winter [2015] (Newcastle Upon Tyne County Court: Business list.) (Decision applying the principles set out by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v Fen Tigers (2014) in claim seeking a mandatory injunction to pull down property built in breach of a restrictive covenant).

Kirkby v Heaney [2013] (Chancery Division, Leeds) (Decision refusing permission to appeal from Adjudicator to Her Majesty's Land Registry considering jurisdiction as between resolution of disputes by the Adjudicator (now the First Tier Tribunal) under Land Registration Act 2002 and proceedings for the same relief in the High Court).

Re George Wimpey Bristol Limited's Application [2011] UKUT 91 (LC) (Application to modify covenants under S. 84(1) Law of Property Act 1925).

HXRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney (Re Cloth Hall Court) [2010] (High Court, Leeds) (Injunction and damages for interference with rights of light).

Re Walker's Application [2010] (Lands Tribunal) (Application to modify restrictive covenants under S84(1) Law of Property Act 1925).

Southwark Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation v South London Church Fund [2009] (Ch.D.) (Declaration as to restrictive covenants).

RHJ Ltd v Patten (Holdings) Ltd [2008] (Court of Appeal) (rights of light).

Coastal Partnerships Ltd v Beddy [2007] (Construction of restrictive covenant).

Regan v Paul Properties & Ors [2006] (Court of Appeal) (Injunction to restrain interference with rights of light).

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre v Bakker and Ors [2006] (Party Walls and the basis of appeals from a Third Surveyor's Award).

Trusts and Probate

Andrew has long experience in trusts matters (both in terms of advice and where there are disputes) and also in contentious probate claims and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975.  He has written books on the last two subjects.

Allport v Allport [2010] (High Court, Family Division) (Widow's claim under Inheritance Act 1975).

Re Wain decd [2011] EWHC 348 (Ch) (Rectification of Will and dispute over construction and S.24 Wills Act 1837).

Re Bishop decd [2009] (Probate claim to determine validity of will).

Re Franks decd [2006] (Probate claim to determine validity of will).

Competition and State Aid

The interface between restrictive covenants over land in England and Wales which restrict competition and the Competition Act 2008 and Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, requires Andrew’s advice to be sought on such covenants.  These covenants may be void under the relevant law now in force since 6th April 2011. His consideration of the ECJ decision in Groupement des cartes bancaires (September 2014) as applicable to land agreements potentially within Chapter 1 Competition Act 1998 has been published in the European Law Reporter (2014 no. 12).  Andrew considers that it is unlikely that competition law and the effect of that law on land covenants in England and Wales will be substantially changed post BREXIT.

EU Law

The interface between restrictive covenants over land in England and Wales which restrict competition and the Competition Act 2008 and Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, requires Andrew’s advice to be sought on such covenants. These covenants may be void under the relevant law now in force since 6th April 2011. His consideration of the ECJ decision in Groupement des cartes bancaires (September 2014) as applicable to land agreements potentially within Chapter 1 Competition Act 1998 has been published in the European Law Reporter (2014 no. 12).  Andrew considers that it is unlikely that competititon law and the effect of that law on land covenants in England and Wales will be substantially changed post BREXIT.

Qualifications

Oxford University (Keble College) 1973-1976. First Class Honours in Jurisprudence 1976. M.A. (1998).

Memberships

Chancery Bar Association
Property Bar Association
Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists
Pyramus & Thisbe Club (Party Wall Surveyors Society)
Former member of Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee
Appointed to the Independent Scientific and Technical Advice Register (ISTA) (Ministry of Defence)
Former member of Law Commission's Advisory Board on Rights of Light Remedies Reform
Master of the Bench of Lincoln's Inn

Publications

'Restrictive Covenants and Freehold Land - a Practitioner's Guide' (Jordans) (4th Edn. March 2013).
New 5th Edn. due late summer 2017.

'Private Rights of Way' (Jordans) (1st Edn. December 2012) (with three co-authors).

'Rights of Light - The Modern Law' (Jordans) (3rd Edn., January 2015) (with Stephen Bickford-Smith and Tom Weekes).

'Inheritance Act Claims' (Jordans) (Looseleaf; updated twice-yearly).

'Contentious Probate Claims' (Sweet & Maxwell) (2004) (with Hedley Marten) (2nd Edn. due 2017).


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