Francis Barlow QC is Head of Chambers and is a noted figure in traditional chancery circles both at home and abroad. He is highly respected for his expertise.
“Revered for the quality of his broad traditional chancery practice and his outstanding knowledge of trusts”, Francis’ practice covers the full spectrum of Chancery matters, both contentious and non-contentious. As well as having particular expertise in drafting UK and offshore trusts and advising on their construction and effect and associated taxation issues, he has extensive experience in contested trust, probate and succession disputes.
He acts in prominent UK and Offshore trusts matters and is regarded as “approachable, exceedingly knowledgeable and wise” by Legal 500.
- Shergill & Ors v Khaira & Ors  EWHC 769 (Ch): Dispute over trusteeship of Sikh temple
- Bathurst & Anor v Bathurst & Ors (Rev 1)  EWHC 3033 (Ch): Variation of trusts application
- V v T  EWHC 3432 (Ch): Settlement Variation of trusts.
- Re Q Trust  Bda LR 26,  WTLR 735: Sup Ct of Bermuda, appeared as amicus curiae to argue that a trust was not invalid as an illusory trust.
- Kershaw v Micklethwaite  WTLR 413: Removal of executors; jurisdiction.
- Re Z Trust  CILR 593 (Grand Court of Cayman Islands): Trusts: jurisdiction to confer administrative powers.
- Wyndham v Egremont  WTLR 1473: Variation of trusts; extension of trust period; capital gains tax.
- Breakspear v Ackland  Ch 32: Settlement; disclosure of letter of wishes; exercise of dispositive powers; conflict of interest.
- Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation v Carvel  Ch 395: Will: jurisdiction to remove executrix; devastavit.
Francis specialises in trust and succession disputes, as well as estates administration.
Chambers UK 2016 report that Francis ” is hugely experienced and an immensely reassuring presence. He is the first person to turn to if you need to resolve a particularly difficult or sensitive problem related to trusts, wills or estates. He will take his time and come up with a solution, often an ingenious one.”
- Sieff v Fox  1 WLR 3811: Rule in Hastings-Bass and mistake.
- Mitchell v Halliwell  EWHC 937: Removal of executors; devastavit.
- Re DWS  Ch 568, CA: Murder, forfeiture and intestacy.
- Corbett v Newey  Ch 57, CA: Conditional wills.
- Re K  Ch 85, CA: Manslaughter, succession and relief from forfeiture.
Francis acts in the full range of capital taxes matters as they relate to trusts and individuals.
“Hugely experienced and what he doesn’t know about trust and wills law isn’t worth knowing. He’s a real heavyweight, but he’s also got a light touch. Very, very thoughtful, he thinks about things for a long time.” “If he says something, people will listen and believe it.”
Chambers UK 2019 - Chancery
“Vastly experienced and is the first port of call for advice on trust issues of particular complexity.”
Legal 500 2018 - Private Client: Trusts & Probate
“A heavyweight lawyer with a light touch, he is incredibly reassuring and someone you can always turn to when faced with a difficult legal issue or complex problem. He always gives very practical and sensible advice.” “He is extremely knowledgeable and has a very confident yet laid-back approach. He is very authoritative and will always give you a definite view on what can and can’t be done. He will not hesitate to give a clear and decisive opinion which will always inspire confidence.”
HNW 2018 Guide - Chancery (Traditional) London Bar - Silk Band One
Francis Barlow QC “is head of chambers and is described as “an elder statesman of the chancery Bar.”
As well as his general experience in traditional chancery matters, he is acknowledged for his long-standing expertise in trusts. “He is hugely experienced and what he doesn’t know about trusts and wills isn’t worth knowing,” remarks a source, who continues: “He’s a real heavyweight, but he’s also got a light touch. He is very, very thoughtful and thinks about things for a long time.”
Market sources further highlight that he is “particularly good on variation of trust applications” and that he is “a go-to person for complex trust structures with historical issues.” One lawyer remarks: “He is known for his experience and his authoritative manner. If he says something, people will listen to it and believe it.”
Chambers UK 2018 - Chancery: Tradtional (Band 1)
“He is very learned and experienced.”
Chambers UK 2018 - Offshore
“A hugely experienced barrister” with “a massive track record in this area of law.” One source says: “He is a heavyweight with a light touch. He is incredibly reassuring and one you can always turn to on a difficult legal issue or complex problem. He always gives very practical and sensible advice.” He is further praised for his well-established reputation in the private client industry, and one interviewee comments: “He is arguably the most experienced practitioner in the country for trust and chancery work.”
HNW Guide 2017 - Chancery: Traditional (Band 1)
“There aren’t too many QCs around with his level of experience in trusts, wills and estates. He is very knowledgeable and he writes and speaks eloquently.”
Chambers UK Global 2017 - Offshore
“The king of the variation trust world. He really is very good at it and knows how to read the court. He’s got so much experience and he is such a safe pair of hands.”
Chambers UK Global 2017 - Private Wealth: Trusts (Band 1)
“He is “an absolute master of trust law,” “a real asset when faced with complex problems requiring creative solutions.”
“When it comes to variation of Trust Act claims,” one source says, Francis Barlow QC “is the law. He probably knows more than the judges do on this. He is the obvious choice, as he has had all the big cases and seems to be able to do it with his eyes shut.”
“Francis is hugely experienced and an immensely reassuring presence. He is the first person I would turn to if seeking help to resolve a particularly difficult or sensitive problem related to trusts, wills or estates. He will take his time and come up with a solution, often ingenious. I have the highest regard for him.”
“He has a lightness of touch and a sense of humour that is never far from the surface and it is pleasant to deal with him.”
Chambers HNW 2016
“One of the best-known and most highly regarded silks at the Chancery Bar, and someone with an enviable reputation for his expertise in onshore and offshore trust matters. He is also a noted authority on contentious probate and succession issues.”
“He is hugely experienced and an immensely reassuring presence. He is the first person to turn to if you need to resolve a particularly difficult or sensitive problem related to trusts, wills or estates. He will take his time and come up with a solution, often an ingenious one.”
“Enjoys a burgeoning chancery practice with frequent instructions relating to offshore trust matters. He has extensive experience drafting and advising on the construction of trusts as well as litigating contested trust and probate cases. “He’s a very sound figure and has done a lot of offshore work.” “He’s very highly regarded for his written advice.”
“He frequently advises on trust construction and the effect of taxation on UK and offshore trusts. He has substantial experience of handling contentious trust, probate and succession disputes. “He is invariably helpful, very amenable and he finds pragmatic, sensible solutions to problems.” “He’s top of the tree in his field and very enjoyable to work with.”
Chambers UK 2016
“He is invariably helpful, very amenable and he finds pragmatic, sensible solutions to problems.” “He’s top of the tree in his field and very enjoyable to work with.”
“He’s a very sound figure and has done a lot of offshore work.” “He’s very highly regarded for his written advice.”
Chambers Global 2016
“A safe pair of hands on Variation of Trusts Act matters.”
Legal 500 2016
Francis Barlow QC is praised for his “smooth performances” and “ability to get the ear of the court”.
Who's Who Legal 2016
Revered for the quality of his broad traditional chancery practice and his outstanding knowledge of trusts. He is highly respected for his expertise in the law of succession and also provides sought-after advice on estate administration and wills, proving especially strong on executorship law.
“He is someone who thinks about things a lot and comes up with clever solutions to difficult problems. If something worries you or if you want heavyweight opinion, he is the one you go to.” “He has incredible, in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of trust law at his fingertips.”
Chambers UK 2015
“Revered for the quality of his broad traditional chancery practice and his outstanding knowledge of trusts. He is highly respected for his expertise.”
Chambers UK 2015
“He has an excellent intellect, and a wealth of experience and depth of knowledge.”
Legal 500 2015
- MA, Christ Church, Oxford (1966)
Associations & Memberships
- Chancery Bar Association
- Charity Law Association
- Consultant editor of Williams on Wills
- Contributor to the first and second editions of Thomas and Hudson’s Law of Trusts, the third edition of International Succession (Garb and Wood) and to International Trust Disputes (Collins, Kempster, McMillan and Meek)
- Member of the “Group of Experts” appointed by the EU Commission to consider proposals for the harmonisation of the laws of succession of Member States
Francis is frequently invited to chair national and international trusts and private client events and has addressed audiences for:
- IBC Private Client
- STEP Bermuda
- STEP Jersey
- STEP Guernsey
- The Chancery Bar Association
Winner of the Legal 500 2014 ‘Silk of the Year’ award for Private Client: Trusts & Probate.
Francis Barlow QC is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales. He is registered with The Bar Standards Board [Bar Ref 10382] and is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/032] to provide legal services, please refer to the BMIF website for full details of the world-wide cover provided. He is registered for VAT under the reference 232227694.