Called 2001 (Lincoln's Inn)
LLB. (Bristol): Law (2:1 (Hons))
John Colston Award for international debating, Bristol University (2000)
Hardwicke Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn (2000)
Thomas More Bursar, Lincoln’s Inn (2000)
Pupillage Scholar, Lincoln’s Inn (2001)
Main Areas of Practice
Public Law and Human Rights
South East Circuit
Francis specialises in commercial law, employment and public law. Francis’s commercial practice encompasses the range of contractual, commercial chancery and company disputes, in particular those involving breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and asset preservation. His public law practice includes the areas of local government, public interest immunity, prison law, mental health and immigration. Francis acts for employers and employees in cases before the Tribunal, the EAT and the High court and he has a busy advisory practice.
Francis also acts in the areas of personal injury and property. Up until 2010, Francis had a substantial criminal practice, including acting as leading junior in R v Manifold & Others, a five week criminal fraud trial where he appeared against two Queen’s Counsel. His extensive advocacy experience (in heavy weight cases including serious fraud and rape) is of great benefit in trials involving the cross-examination of difficult or sensitive witnesses; and gives him far greater experience in witness handling than most commercial juniors.
Francis is able to accept instructions directly from members of the public.
General Commercial: Francis is instructed in all areas of commercial law, including contract, restraint of trade, construction, the sale and carriage of goods, credit hire and professional negligence (see under public law for details of his commercial immigration practice). Ongoing and recent cases include:
- A £1.5 million commercial dispute over the restitution of monies paid ancillary to rent, involving successful applications before the High Court for freezing injunctions;
- Acting for an education provider in a contractual dispute with a funding network in a contract regulated by the Skills Funding Agency;
- A construction dispute involving a major building project at a university: application to strike out on grounds of abuse successfully resisted and claim settled for the full amount;
- A substantial claim for damages in a contractual dispute relating to the establishment and running of a nightclub in central London;
- A number of disputes between recruitment agencies and companies over the payment of commission charges;
- Francis is frequently asked to advise, by employers and employees, as to the enforceability of restraint of trade covenants.
Company/Commercial Chancery and Insolvency: Francis is often instructed and advises in claims brought in the Companies Court and the Chancery Division of the High Court and in the Chancery list at Central London County Court. His case load includes partnership, claims and applications brought under the Companies’ Act, including:
- An injunction in the High Court, Companies Court, involving issues of passing off, misappropriation of company property, competition in a quasi-partnership; successful settlement obtained;
- A partnership dispute relating to dissolution accounts and allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, partnership turnover c £2 million;
- Two other partnership disputes involving accusations of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, theft and harassment;
- Applications for restoration of companies to the register (including where there is an impending claim against a dissolved company) under s 1029 of the Companies Act 2006
- Corporate and personal insolvency, including winding up petitions, bankruptcy petitions, applications to set aside statutory demands, etc.
Professional Negligence: Francis advises and acts in professional negligence disputes. Recent cases have included:
- Currently instructed, appearing against Queen’s Counsel at an application for summary judgment, in a surveyor’s negligence claim involving the issue of the personal liability of an employed surveyor in a claim in contract;
- Acted in a claim against an accountant on the grounds of his failure to advise a business of their liability to register for VAT;
- Advised in a potential claim against criminal solicitors for their allegedly negligent failure to advise positively on appeal;
- Acted for a firm of immigration solicitors in a claim alleging the negligent failure to advise on the correct type of application for a business visa.
Francis acts for both employers and employees. He regularly advises employers on proposed redundancy settlements, redundancy claims, proposed changes of terms and conditions and associated claims, unfair dismissal, TUPE transfers and associated claims and discrimination claims. In addition, Francis’s commercial expertise is of great value when he is frequently asked to advise and act in contractual restraint of trade claims. Employers and employees need to act with particular care before issuing and defending such proceedings, given the high degree of uncertainty in the enforcement of such agreements.
With a considerable practice in public law and human rights, Francis frequently advises and acts in discrimination claims, from before potential actions (eg during the internal disciplinary or grievance process) to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and beyond. With his extensive litigation and advocacy experience, he is well placed to advise employers and employees before litigation, including on employment contracts, transfers of undertakings, redundancy schemes and disciplinary and grievance procedures, in addition to potential actions.
Francis acts in cases before the Employment Tribunal, the EAT, the County Court and the High Court (in contractual cases). Recent cases have involved a seven day trial at the Employment Tribunal involving a claim of racially aggravated harassment (acting for the employer) and a five day Employment Tribunal trial by a senior local authority executive alleging a flawed redundancy process and racial discrimination (acting for the employee).
Francis writes and lectures on employment law. In 2012-2014, he has lectured at six seminars for solicitors and an advocacy training event on redundancy. He recently produced a webinar on 'Pursuing and Defending Claims under the Equality Act' and his guide to facility time for trade unions was published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance in September 2012.
Public Law and Human Rights
Election Law: 'Francis is currently instructed, by all the Petitioners, in the high profile Election Petition into the Mayoral Election at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in May 2014 (Erlam and Others v Rahman and Another). Francis provides discreet advice to constituency parties in a major political party. He acts for councillors in actions under the Representation of the People Act and also acts in internal party disciplinary proceedings, most recently acting for a constituency party before the national Board of a major political party. He is the author of an article in the Modern Law Review on the recent Woolas Election Court decision.
Local Authorities and PII: Francis regularly acts for and against local authorities, particularly in housing matters. He has a particular expertise in applications for injunctions against council tenants under the Housing Act 1996. Francis is instructed by local authorities in the specialist area of public interest immunity applications in the Crown Court. Francis is particularly well placed to act in this area having had an extensive criminal prosecution practice in the past, in addition to his specialist public law experience.
Prison Law: Francis acts for prisoners in cases before the Parole Board, in disciplinary proceedings and in civil claims against the state for miss-treatment in prison. Recent cases involved a life prisoner 20 years over his tariff and two prisoners convicted of rape on indeterminate sentences. In December 2012, Francis appeared (led by Jonathan Cowen) in the judicial review of the refusal of Rampton High Security Hospital to permit access by patients to pornographic material.
Housing: Francis acts in the full range of housing cases, including possession, homelessness and Pt VII applications, disrepair, etc. He has a particular specialism in anti-social behaviour injunctions and in cases of unlawful eviction.
Commercial Immigration: Francis is regularly instructed by companies and individuals in cases in the Tribunal and in the High Court and County Court. These include work permit appeals and County Court appeals against penalties for the employment of illegal workers. Francis is currently instructed by a college at risk of a penalty in consequence of its alleged failure to abide by controls on its immigrant entrants; and is acting for another college at risk of losing its ability to sponsor Tier 4 students.
Court of Protection: Francis acts for individuals, local authorities and other public bodies.
Other Public Law/Cases involving public bodies: Francis acts for defendants in civil actions against the police, including wrongful arrest, miss-treatment and malicious prosecution. He acts in the area of mental health. With his criminal and human rights background, he is well placed to advise in related cases affecting the liberty of the subject.
Francis is currently acting in a ground breaking case involving the question of whether the when limitation starts to run in claims for damages in cases of wrongfully administered cautions that have subsequently been discharged. There is currently no common law authority on this question.
Francis represents claimants and defendants in all areas of personal injury. His cases range from standard fast track road traffic cases to complex cases involving issues such as work-place bullying, psycho physiological illness and carbon monoxide poisoning. He is well placed to act and advise from the earliest stages, when issues such as permission to instruct experts may be of critical importance.
Francis acts for and advises both sides in commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, including in cases of disrepair and harassment. He has a particular expertise in criminal and civil unlawful eviction actions and recently acted in two substantial trials, one a criminal trial acting for a local authority, the other a civil action acting for a tenant.
Francis acts in probate cases. One of his cases is currently before the Chancery Division of the High Court. The issues of execution, capacity and undue influence are all live and there is a consolidated claim by the estate against the alleged principle beneficiary under a propounded alleged Will.
Additional Professional Information
Elected member of the Committee of the Criminal Bar Association, 2007-2010, in which position he drafted a large number of CBA responses to Government consultations relating to law reform. Francis has also served on sub-committees of the Bar Council. Interests include running (Francis ran the Flora London Marathon in 2008 and raised £2,500 for Cancer Research); skiing, riding, history and singing.
Publications & Media
'Limitations to the right to time-off for trade union activities', legal briefing published by the Taxpayers' Alliance in September, 2012
'How to save your seat' Local Government Lawyer, June 2011. Francis Hoar looks at the implications for election candidates at all levels of government after the first MP is ejected from the Commons in 100 years.
‘Public or Personal Character in Election Campaigns’: A Review of the Implications of the Judgment in Watkins v Woolas’, Modern Law Review Vol 74, Issue 4, June 2011;
Author of a chapter on a British Bill of Rights in ‘The State of Liberties in Modern Britain’ (Biteback Publications, 2010)
Regularly appears on Radio Five Live’s Victoria Derbyshire show, most recently to discuss two newsworthy immigration decisions;
‘There’s no Justice in Anonymity’ Counsel, 2008
‘Serving Justice’ (article on the role of the Lord Chancellor),Counsel, 2007.
If you would like any further information regarding Francis Hoar's practice, please contact his clerks or call +44 (0)20 7405 6114.