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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Yorkshire and the Humber > Private client > Agriculture and estates > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Wrigleys Solicitors LLP’s agriculture and rural property team consists of 12 fee-earners with extensive track records in the region for delivering ‘in-depth knowledge of legal matters affecting landed estates efficiently and promptly’. Working in close conjunction with the firm’s market-leading tax and trusts team, the practice acts for more than 130 landed estates as well as a growing number of farmers and entrepreneurs looking to invest in farmland, woodland and sporting properties. Recent highlights include advising several estates along the proposed HS2 route on compulsory purchase matters and associated tax implications. Jonathan Attey heads the practice and is a leading light in agricultural and rural property matters; he is ably assisted by Andrew Wriglesworth, who is singled out for his tax planning expertise, Julia Boyes, who regularly acts for large estate and entrepreneurial clients, and Angus Hunter Smart. The practice was joined in 2016 by Maria Graylen from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

The agriculture and estates practice at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP attracts praise for its ‘detailed knowledge of all aspects of agricultural law, which it marries to clear, commercial advice’. Martin Whitehead heads the practice, which acts on a range of matters for landed estates, landowning farmers and tenant farmers throughout the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regions. The firm is well placed to benefit from an uptick in renewable energy-related investments: Stephen Unwin and Janice Rawlings have assisted the firm’s landowner clients with several windfarm investments, while Martin Collingwood brings more than 30 years of experience handling the construction aspects of wind farms. The firm also advises its bank clients on lending facilities secured on agricultural land. Helen Mellors and Janice Rawlings handle sales and purchases of farm and agricultural land, as well as issues relating to options and overage agreements. Jonathan Dale, Kevin Webster and Peter Duffus, who regularly handles agricultural disputes, are also recommended. Christopher Harrison joined the firm to establish the Scarborough office in 2016.

Grays handles the full range of agricultural law matters, from land and farm acquisitions and disposals, to agricultural tenancy matters. Lyn Rickatson is highly regarded for her rural property expertise.

The agricultural practice at Harrowells Solicitors is noted for its ‘high-quality, prompt advice’. Headed by Paul Burkinshaw, the practice covers a wide range of agricultural issues for landowners, with particular emphasis on specialist farming sectors such as pig, cattle and sheep rearing. The practice also acts for high street lenders on agricultural lending issues, regularly advises landowners on agricultural property acquisitions and disposals, including negotiating wind turbine, solar panel and other infrastructure agreements, and handles issues arising from livestock auctions. Burkinshaw also heads the firm’s dedicated equine unit, which handles work for trainers, breeders and owners as well as other equine-related businesses, and is highly active in disputes; he is currently advising several farming clients on issues arising from alleged mis-selling of farm refinancing. Other highlights included advising a landowner on the negotiation of mineral leases and related documentation with various national aggregates companies. Stephen Proctor is also recommended.

Langleys Solicitors LLP handles a range of agricultural matters, with a particular specialism in succession issues arising from the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, as well as matters concerning gravel extraction and potash mining. The practice has been especially active in renewable energy matters involving solar panel arrays, wind turbines and anaerobic digesters. Andrew Fearn regularly handles sales and purchases of high-value farms and estates, and assists farming businesses with partnership matters, formations, disputes and exits. Other key figures include David Wood, who is noted for his expertise in agricultural property relief for inheritance tax purposes, and Françoise Vandale, who has a notable focus on agricultural, renewables and minerals related property work.

Lupton Fawcett LLP fields a ‘very professional’ agriculture team led by the ‘faultless’ Johanne Spittle, whose ‘invaluable advice and quiet, polite and authoritative manner’ puts her ‘always one step ahead of the game’. She focuses on property-related disputes for agricultural and ecclesiastical clients, as well as landed estates, and also assists agricultural clients with issues arising from their dealings with banks. The practice’s other key areas of strength include advising on land use issues related to the sale and purchase of agricultural land and farms, as well as Agricultural Holding Act 1986 tenancies; assisting with option, promotion and equalisation agreements related to land development; and advising agricultural clients on renewable energy projects. It also works closely with the firm’s wider private client department to provide succession, inheritance tax, agricultural property relief and business property relief to high-net-worth individuals and rural business owners. Julian Rowden is noted for his handling of sales and purchases of quarries and former gravel pits as well as associated mineral rights issues. Also recommended are Kirsty Barsby, who regularly acts for lenders and borrowers on agricultural land and property refinancings; Hannah Farmer, who, in addition to handling acquisitions and disposals, has particular strength in equine law; and Jessica Richardson.

McCormicks is ‘an excellent firm that punches well above its weight’ and its agriculture and estates team attracts praise for being ‘pleasant to deal with and willing to consider fee structures to suit its clients’ needs’. Peter McCormick heads the practice and is singled out for his charity expertise; he regularly acts on agricultural law matters for charities including the Royal Horticultural Society, which recently instructed the firm on its acquisition of land and buildings for the development of its northern garden. Other key figures include newly promoted partners Heather Roberts, who advises the firm’s agricultural clients on property issues; Elaine Lightfoot, whose clients include the estate of the late John Strutt and its associated charities and trusts; Philip Edmondson, who handles a variety of litigation for the firm’s estates clients; and Lewis Goodwin, who has notable expertise in issues concerning shooting estates.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s agriculture practice demonstrates ‘impressive range and depth of expertise in the area; it is well placed to advise on potentially complex structural issues which arise for estates’. The Leeds-based Julia Rangecroft is highlighted for her ‘exceptional grasp of relevant issues and in-depth understanding of clients’ varying objectives and priorities’. She has expertise in tax planning related to agricultural assets and heritage property, complementing the firm’s national reputation for agricultural law matters and agricultural property in particular.

Raworths’ ‘extremely knowledgeable’ agricultural department attracts praise for its ability to provide ‘extensive, comprehensive and practical knowledge’ to a client base of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as high-growth owner-managed SME business clients. David Garfitt heads the team; in addition to handling trust, inheritance tax matters and related property work, Garfitt also acts as the trustee of the Nunnington Estate in North Yorkshire, which comprises 2,000 acres and has an estimated value in the region of £25m. Garfitt is ably assisted by Matthew Hill, who combines ‘a knowledgeable and professional manner with a personable attitude’, William Kinread, who ‘stands out a mile as far as agricultural property is concerned’, and Christopher Butterworth, who is ‘a top-notch mediator for anything rural’. Other clients include the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Rollits LLP’s private wealth team regularly handles farm and land acquisitions and disposals, Agricultural Holding Act 1986 tenancy matters and secured lending work for farm owners, estates and banks in the rural sector. Neil Franklin heads the team and assisted with the agricultural property aspects of Cranswick Plc’s multimillion-pound purchase of Crown Chicken.

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Legal Developments in Yorkshire and the Humber for Agriculture and estates

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