Duncan Heath

Year of Call 2007

General Profile

Practice Areas


Contentious Trusts and Probate




Professional Negligence 



Background and Career:


  • 2001- 2005: MA German & Russian (First Class Honours) Pembroke College, Cambridge
  • 2005-2006: Graduate Diploma in Law, Nottingham Law School.
  • 2006-2007: Bar Vocational Course (Nottingham Law School).
  • 2007: LLB, Nottingham Trent University (First Class Honours)
  • 2007: Called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
  • 2013: Appointed to the Attorney-General’s Regional Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown.



The Directories


"He's great with paperwork and provides clear advice that a client can understand." "He's very reliable, user-friendly and he is a very effective advocate."

(Chambers & Partners 2018)


"Very able, down to earth and pleasant to deal with." "A very reliable, user-friendly and effective advocate."

(Chambers & Partners 2018)


"Storming ahead of his peers.”

(Chambers & Partners 2018)


"He was very well prepared having been instructed at short notice. He handled a very difficult point of law and did an incredibly good job." "He proved himself reliable, user-friendly and a very effective advocate."

(Chambers & Partners 2018)


"Duncan has an excellent and well-deserved reputation in the Leeds market. He gives solid and well thought-out advice. He is also refreshingly approachable and easily builds a rapport with clients." "Probably the calmest, most unflappable barrister I've come across."

(Chambers & Partners 2018)


‘He has expertise beyond his years of call.’

(Legal 500 2017)


“Duncan has a well-deserved excellent reputation in the Leeds market. He gives solid and well thought out advice, is refreshingly approachable and easily builds a rapport with clients”

(Chambers & Partners 2017)


“He is really easy to get on with. He offers great knowledge of insolvency procedures and excellent practical advice”

(Chambers & Partners 2017)


"He is a great all-rounder and trial advocate"

(Chambers & Partners 2017)


"Super-bright, very thorough and well prepared"

(Chambers & Partners 2017)


"He gives very lucid advice and is down to earth"

 (Chambers & Partners 2017)


“Commercially astute, personable and client-friendly.”

(Legal 500 2016)


"He is quick, personable and has good manners."
(Chambers & Partners 2016)


 "He is good on his feet in court."
(Chambers & Partners 2016)


"He is a star of the future who already demonstrates the ability to handle complex cases”

(Chambers and Partners 2014).


"His skeleton argument was so persuasive that we walked into court and the judge adopted the argument as his judgment. He also puts forward very strong advocacy - he is the rising star of the Northern Chancery Bar”

(Chambers and Partners 2014).


“An extremely good advocate with an extremely good intellect”.
(Chambers and Partners 2015).




Duncan has an impressive all-round Chancery practice covering both traditional and commercial work with a particular focus on insolvency and commercial disputes, as well as property and trust issues. He also maintains a busy probate practice. Duncan is a member of the Attorney-General’s Regional Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown and has a First Class Degree in German and Russian.               


Duncan's practice covers a wide range of modern and traditional chancery work. He mainly appears in the High Court in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London. He also appears regularly in the county courts, representing claimants and defendants at trial and on appeal.


In addition, Duncan is experienced at giving advice in relation to a range of contentious matters.




Duncan has experience in trusts, claims under TOLATA 1996, trustees’ duties and powers and breach of trust claims and remedies. He also has particular experience and interest in probate actions and claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. He is frequently instructed in cases where trusts law overlaps with other areas, for example insolvency, company and inheritance disputes.


Current and recent work

  • Represented three defendants in an 8 day trial concerning beneficial interests in 15 properties and 6 businesses;
  • Advising the Supervisors of over 2700 Involuntary Arrangements on whether certain assets are held on trust for the IVAs;
  • Successfully opposed Inheritance Act claims brought by adult children in a 5 day trial in the High Court at Newcastle;
  • Advising and representing estate on construction of a will (partial ademption being the main issue);
  • Obtained an order for the removal of an executrix after a three day trial in the High Court in Manchester;
  • Obtained the removal of a professional executrix;
  • Advising residuary beneficiary under a will (issues arising: domicile, limitation; testamentary capacity; knowledge and approval; undue influence; lack of due execution; forgery; the composition of the estate);
  • Advising executor accused of devastavit;
  • Advising on and negotiating the settlement of a disinherited widow’s claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
  • Advised and represented two beneficiaries in an Inheritance Act claim brought by their father’s former partner – pivotal issue as to whether two year co-habitation period fulfilled / whether lived together as man and wife;
  • Advised estate in case involving two incapacitated beneficiaries; issues arising: construction of will, application of best interests test pursuant to s4 Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deeds of Variation, compromise agreement by incapacitated beneficiaries.
  • Advised estate on interpretation of deathbed will.




Duncan advises companies, banks and private individuals in banking and commercial disputes.


Examples of current and recent work:

Successfully represented Lincoln City Football Club in the 3 day trial of a claim brought by a former England international footballer (issues arising – unjust enrichment, restitution, ostensible authority of agent).


Appeared at trial for a Company to successfully enforce a personal guarantee given in a trade credit application form.


  • Appeared at first instance and on appeal against leading Counsel to oppose a bank’s application for a stay on grounds of abuse of process because the borrower had issued similar claims in England and Ireland;
  • Acting for the borrower in High Court proceedings brought by a bank to appoint receivers over the borrower’s property;
  • Representing a German client in a freezing injunction application, in which third parties claimed ownership of the frozen monies;
  • Obtaining a freezing order in relation to freehold property alone;
  • Advising an English resident on a contract drafted in Germany (conflict of laws becoming relevant);
  • Representing Defendant in claim seeking to pierce the corporate veil.




Duncan’s experience includes applications to set aside statutory demands; bankruptcy and winding up petitions; injunctions to restrain petitions; applications for possession and sale of property; applications to annul; orders for administrations and extensions of administrations; claims for directors’ misfeasance; applications to set aside TUVs and preferences. Duncan also advises office-holders on the administration of the insolvency estate.


Current and recent work

  • Obtaining a Berkeley Applegate order for the administrators of a company of insolvency practitioners who were holding client monies in the company account (£5m shortfall on client account);

  • Acting for the debtor to set aside a statutory demand served by a bank for circa £11m (on the grounds that a triable issue arose under the Consumer Credit Act 1974);

  • Setting aside a statutory demand served on a guarantor (on the grounds that the guarantee was induced by a material non-disclosure by the bank);

  • Successfully representing a guarantor on appeal against the setting aside of a statutory demand (led by Hodge Malek QC on appeal);

  • Advising the supervisors of IVAs on the correct treatment of PPI claims following the decision in Green v Wright;

  • Successfully resisting a bankruptcy petition on behalf of a debtor (petition based on a sum of £1.5 million and issues of mortgage fraud arising);
  • Successfully appealing a bankruptcy order obtained by a bank against a private individual; proceeding to successfully resist the bankruptcy petition on the grounds that the bank had undervalued its security;

  • Conducting the private examination of a bankrupt who appeared to have disposed of assets worth several million pounds;

  • Applying to set aside a TUV (issues included whether a restoration order should be made – Claridge considered).

  • Setting aside a TUV (issues again included whether a restoration order should be made – Singhla v Brown considered);

  • Acting for allegedly misfeasant director in £1.5m claim for breach of fiduciary duties.




Duncan acts in cases involving rights of way, boundary disputes, adverse possession, co-ownership of properties, proprietary estoppel, mortgages and landlord and tenant (both residential and commercial) disputes.


Current and recent work

  • Advising and representing buy to let landlords in various disputes against banks and building societies;
  • Obtained adverse possession of an entire garden after three day trial;Sought interim injunction for freehold owner of shooting rights;
  • Advising landlords on the construction of  a lease of shooting rights;
  • Advising the business tenant of a golfing range on renewal of business tenancy;
  • Advising a local school on the construction of restrictive covenants in a lease and the prospects of renewing its tenancy;
  • Advising a home-owner in relation to an unauthorised flying freehold (issues: trespass, nuisance, negligence, limitation including constructive knowledge).
  • Obtained an order for possession following an implied surrender by the tenant;
  • Advised landlord whether there were sufficient grounds to forfeit for breach of repair covenant, non-payment of rent and non-payment of service and administration charges;
  • Advised landowner on whether a garage had been adversely possessed and rights of way over a driveway acquired;
  • Advised Defendant landowners whether Claimant had acquired a prescriptive right to park;
  • Appeared for successful Claimant in dispute over beneficial interests in a property with accompanying claim to partnership profits;
  • Appeared for successful Claimant in Party Wall / trespass dispute.  




Duncan contributes to The Landlord & Tenant Factbook 




Member of the Chancery Bar Association

Member of the North-Eastern Circuit




Duncan collects, uses and is responsible for your personal information collected during the course of providing legal services as a barrister. He is the data controller in respect of this information for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.

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