The Legal 500

South West

United Kingdom > South West > Private client > Agriculture and estates

Editorial

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘one of the leaders in the field', handling contentious, regulatory and advisory matters for major landowners including The Crown Estate. Tim Russ has particular expertise in agricultural disputes, while Mark Buckerfield specialises in non-contentious agricultural and rural property matters. Jonathan Clifford acts in landlord and tenant disputes.

At Michelmores LLP, Peter Williams is ‘the most experienced agricultural specialist in the country', and focuses on property disputes. Vivienne Williams is also recommended for contentious matters, while Tom Hyde is the key contact on the non-contentious side.

Thrings LLP’s expertise spans non-contentious and contentious matters, with Peter Cusick and litigator Russell Reeves the key contacts in Bath and Bristol respectively. The growing team saw the arrival of, among others, Jane Oakland and Victoria Smyth, both from Clarke Willmott LLP.

Burges Salmon LLP has a ‘high-quality' team led by William Neville, and acts for high-profile large clients including National Trust, Openfield and The Crown Estate. The group draws on the firm’s wider strength in corporate matters to advise agribusiness clients on M&A matters. Tom Hewitt, Charles Wyld and Alastair Morrison are all highly recommended.

Christopher Page’s team at Charles Russell LLP has particular expertise in tax planning and wealth management. Christian Massey focuses on sales and purchases of major landed estates, and acts for a range of national and international clients. Since publication, Charles Russell LLP and Speechly Bircham LLP have merged to form Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Joel Woolf’s nine-partner team at Foot Anstey acts for a wide range of clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Richard Bagwell and Nigel Lyons are also names to note.

Specialist rural property firm Loxley Legal Services LLP has a four-partner team advising on a full range of matters for agricultural landowners and businesses.

Stephens Scown LLP has particular expertise in advising landowners on renewable energy projects and mining rights. Susie Murray focuses on agricultural property and rural land issues, and Phil Reed is recommended for private client work.

At Trethowans LLP, Marcus Thorpe has ‘good general rural knowledge', and acts for clients including Standard Chartered Bank and Clydesdale Bank.

Ashfords LLP assists landed estates in areas such as property, trusts, tax, succession planning, diversification and sporting rights. Darren Blackburn specialises in the sale, purchase and letting of agricultural properties.

At Battens Solicitors Limited, the ‘commercially minded' James Owen acts for local farmers and estates, and has particular expertise in advising landlords and tenants on agricultural tenancy matters.

Consultant John Fisher at Davies and Partners assists on the sale and purchase of farms, equestrian yards and land. The team is also active in restructurings and disputes.

The team at Mogers Drewett LLP has expertise in capital tax planning and succession planning for farmers and landowners. The highly regarded Nicola Owen is ‘efficient' and noted for her ‘excellent communication'. Jonathan Cheal and Richard Pinney advise on farm ownership and management matters, and also land issues. Tom Chiffers is a further name to note.

At Pardoes, Tim Howells advises on agricultural tenancy, arbitration and tribunal matters.

The ‘knowledgeable' and ‘pragmatic' Frank Smith at Willans LLP advises on the acquisition and sale of a wide range of rural property.

Wilsons acts on a broad spectrum of contentious and non-contentious issues for farmers and landowners.

Withy King advises agricultural clients on property and business issues, and tax and estate planning Angus Williams gives ‘good clear advice on complex issues'.

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Legal Developments in South West 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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  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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