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  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

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Anderson Strathern has an extensive track record assisting estate owners and private individuals with transactions and disputes in the rural sector, as well as handling land registration and general private client work. The firm also handles renewable energy matters, with Sheonagh Richards. The team led by John Mitchell assisted a number of landowners, including Buccleuch Group, the Crown Estate, Callendar Estate and Penicuik Estate, with voluntary registration of land procedures. Other key members of the team include Anne Chapman, Fiona Gibb and Adèle Nicol.

Clients of Brodies LLP single out the firm’s ability to β€˜turn matters around quickly, accurately and commercially’. The β€˜efficient and thorough’ team β€˜has the strength to advise on all aspects of rural property work’ and β€˜provides first-class service’ to farming and rural businesses, lenders, funders, developers and public sector organisations. Team head Clive Phillips, who β€˜thinks outside the box and gives well-informed advice’, assisted a client with the sale of a residential and sporting estate, including a portfolio of farms, which involved negotiations with sitting agricultural tenants and advising on agricultural holdings In another highlight, Odell Milne advised a number of sub-consultants to Transport Scotland on the A9 Dualling project, involving ownership queries and a review of several estate and farm titles, as well as minerals leases. Robert Forman β€˜brings a commercial view to agricultural and estate issues’, and Andrew Askew Blain is praised as β€˜providing straightforward, no-nonsense advice in a very efficient manner’. Murray Soutar moved to Gillespie Macandrew LLP.

The β€˜approachable, personable and professional’ team at Gillespie Macandrew LLP β€˜tailors its prompt and efficient advice to clients’ needs while maintaining a commercial outlook’. The group excels in estate and farm transactions, renewable energy projects and commercial matters such as restructurings and subsidies. Alistair Anderson assisted a client with the purchase of a sporting estate, including tenancies and forestry issues, while Fraser Leslie assisted a client with voluntary first registration procedures. in another highlight, the team advised a client on a renewable energy project, which involved crofting issues. Alan White (who is praised as β€˜a safe pair of hands’ and for β€˜having a keen eye for detail’) provided a client with estate restructuring advice. Robert Scott-Dempster heads the team, which includes Murray Soutar, who joined from Brodies LLP.

Turcan Connell’s β€˜strong’ team has an excellent reputation for handling private client matters and advises on the full spectrum of agricultural and rural law matters. Farmers and landowners frequently call on the team to advise on residential development deals, estate and forestry transactions and the reorganisation of agricultural leases. Clients also single out the team’s expertise in renewable energy and minerals work, including the granting of options and leases. β€˜Experienced and tough’ team head Jon Robertson is particularly experienced in handling wind, anaerobic digestion and hydro work. Also recommended are the β€˜unflappable and wise’ Don Macleod, Grierson Dunlop, who is praised as being β€˜well connected and practical’, Niall Stringer, and Louise Johnston.

Lindsays’ β€˜competent, responsive and approachable’ team β€˜understands the requirements of its clients’ and is recognised for its β€˜great renewable-sector knowledge’. Other areas of expertise include agricultural holdings and farm transactions, alongside crofting and heraldry matters. The β€˜knowledgeable and solution-oriented’ Andrew Linehan advised two individuals on the sale of Press Mains Farm, which included renewable energy elements due to the presence of a wind turbine on the property. β€˜Personable, knowledgeable and experienced’ team head Michael Yellowlees acted for a high-net-worth American client on the acquisition of the feudal Earldom of Erroll, and advised an individual as one of the executors of an estate on crofting tenancy matters. Associate Lauren Cook is also recommended.

Thorntons Law LLP is β€˜very experienced’ in handling estate and farm purchases, leasing and restructuring matters, as well as assisting clients with land registration procedures and issues arising from renewable energy projects. Susan Duff advised a family farming business on a number of restructuring and refinancing issues, while another client instructed her to carry out a voluntary registration of a farm title in order to clarify boundaries and to obtain defined routes of servitude rights of access for future use. The β€˜very knowledgeable’ Christopher Lindley, who is praised for his β€˜clear and concise updates’, assisted a developer with the purchase of a site for renewable energy usage. Other clients include trusts, financial institutions and public sector bodies. Kenneth Mackay heads the team, which includes key names Linsey Barclay-Smith and George Dunlop. Associate David Dundas β€˜has very good sector knowledge and is effective in dealing with complex rural issues’.

Blackadders LLP is experienced in all aspects of farm, estate and woodland transactions, including the transfer of entitlements and grant schemes. The firm also advises on succession issues and agricultural tenancies, and represents rural clients in negotiations with renewable energy developers. Team head Petra Grunenberg advised the Bank of Scotland on the security and financing aspects of the acquisition of a traditional landed estate encompassing 3,500 acres, which comprises a mixture of residential, commercial and agricultural properties. Directors Gail Clarke, Gillian Gibbons and Ellen Eunson are other names to note.

Davidson Chalmers LLP attracts praise for its β€˜excellent level of knowledge’ in advising rural businesses on commercial, corporate and regulatory matters while β€˜keeping business goals in mind’. This includes advice on farm and estate diversification, succession and crofting law issues, as well as renewable energy projects. The team, which consists of β€˜very good listeners’, assisted the Dunrobin Highland Distillery with the development of a craft distillery, including lease agreements with the landowners. Andy Drane advised Guinness Asset Management on its acquisition of a 500kW run-of-river hydroelectric scheme from MEG Renewables located in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, which also included assistance with land and access right issues and a lease renegotiation with two landlords. Laura Tainsh heads the team, which includes β€˜responsive’ associate Louise Jones.

β€˜Nothing is too much trouble for’ Harper Macleod LLP’s β€˜efficient and cost-effective’ team, which β€˜works together very well’ and β€˜provides pragmatic advice’ while also being β€˜easy to work with’. In conjunction with the firm’s private client, banking and dispute resolution teams, the practice regularly advises on rural sales and acquisitions, land registration and crofting matters, as well as handling renewable energy and agricultural tenancies issues. Inverness-based β€˜crofting expert’ Calum MacLeod advised a client on the purchase of the Keose Glebe Estate, a large crofting estate in the Western Isles. In another highlight, team head Graeme Nisbet assisted the Forestry Commission Scotland with voluntary land registration matters, and advised Craignathro Farms on the purchase of Easter Meathie Farm. β€˜Tenacious’ associate Frances Rooney is β€˜an expert in all aspects of land registration and goes the extra mile for her clients’.

The β€˜knowledgeable and efficient’ team at Ledingham Chalmers LLP β€˜guides its clients through tricky situations’ and is praised for its β€˜attention to detail’. Family businesses, banks and lenders regularly instruct the team to advise on transactional, succession planning and leasing matters, including renewable energy leases while also handling contentious work. The team assisted Scottish Enterprise with a number of agricultural leasing matters pertaining to the client’s property portfolio. Jim Drysdale heads the team, which includes Hazel Moir, who was elevated to the partnership and β€˜is easy to work with’. Allan Collie retired.

Morton Fraser is β€˜well organised, works hard and provides very sound and practical advice’ on a wide range of agricultural and rural law matters. This includes assisting with rural property sales and purchases, agricultural tenancies, crofting law matters and renewable energy, diversification and land registration issues. β€˜Very professional’ team head James Rust, who β€˜has superb knowledge of complex issues’ and β€˜is easy to work with’, advised the Scottish Wildlife Trust on the establishment of a community-based hydroelectric joint venture scheme and related crofting issues. He also assisted C G Greig Farms with the sale of a farming portfolio in Fife, including advice on the transfer of employees, residential tenancies and the rearrangement of servitude arrangements for access, irrigation, water and services. Newbie Salmon Fisheries and Scottish Natural Heritage are also clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s β€˜very professional and proficient’ team frequently handles rural property leasing matters as well as advising on renewable energy, land reform and crofting issues. Richard Leslie advised the Woodland Trust on the purchase of two forests at Loch Arkaig from the Forestry Commission, and assisted Silvertide – a family-owned rural development and renewable energy investment business – with the sale of forests in Dumfriesshire. In another highlight, he advised a relocating English farmer on the purchase of Press Mains Farm, which comprises 1000 acres of arable land, an operational wind turbine and biomass boiler, and several holiday cottages. Team head Peter Misselbrook advised Invercauld Estate on the termination of an agricultural tenancy and the sale of five estate houses, while Hugh Smith assisted Sutherland Estates with voluntary land registration and crofting matters. Hamish Lean joined from Stronachs LLP.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Agriculture and estates

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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