Arnold Thomson's team possesses a high level of expertise in all matters relating to agriculture and estates. Its varied workload includes agricultural tenancy agreements, options and development work on farming property, partnership and promotional agreements. Solar and wind farms have become an increasingly key aspect of the firm. Practice head Matt Hawkins specialises in property matters impacting landowners and farmers. Director Kate Austin is also recommended. Mike Thomson is now a consultant.
Agriculture and estates in East Midlands
HCR Hewitsons' 'highly skilled' agriculture, food and rural business team acts for a national client base ranging from substantial landed estates and charities to major agricultural producers. The practice frequently handles high-value and complex land transactions, as well as development work, for farmers and landowners. The group is notably growing its presence in the renewable energy sector, and is increasingly involved in solar farm projects. Practice head Gareth Williams leads a 'highly competent team of property lawyers'. Associate Stephanie Dennis is another key individual.
Other key lawyers:
‘HCR Hewitsons have strength in depth, allowing them to provide a good level of advice to mutual clients in matters relating to agriculture as well as the promotion of land for development, subsequent sale and tax advice.’
‘Gareth Williams leads a highly competent team of property lawyers and achieves a good balance between delegation to colleagues and remaining personally available to provide clear advice direct to clients and fellow professionals concerning complicated property matters.’
‘A highly skilled team that works together providing a broad range of technical advice promptly and pro-actively. The team working and consistently high standard of service surpasses any other similar teams in other firms.’
‘My dealings were with Stephanie Dennis and she was always very professional. If I couldn’t speak to her she would always ring me straight back.’
Wistow Estate, Leicestershire
Bedford Estates (Woburn)
Compton Estates (Castle Ashby and Warwickshire)
Langleys Solicitors LLP
Langleys Solicitors LLP's wide-ranging expertise includes the sale and purchase of farms and agricultural land, and mineral extraction and mining. The firm has been active in renewables, handling work for both landowners and developers on solar energy and energy storage. Clients praise the 'approachable' team's 'innovative' approach. Practice head Françoise Vandale works with Amy Cowdell, who made partner in July 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘Francoise Vandale’s customer communication was excellent throughout. Work was carried out in an efficient and timely manner.’
‘They are innovative and keen to help support clients and their businesses, not only solve their legal problems. They have been great partners launching a network group for women. Helpful, efficient and down to earth.’
‘Amy Cowdell is a keen young progressive legal professional, who has climbed her career ladder quickly, to partner level. She is very committed, and whilst only being office based for 4 days a week I think, takes her work with her and responds to any matters very promptly at any time of the day, as well as having a young family to care for.’
‘Francoise Vandale as our main point of contact has always gone the extra mile to satisfy our often last minute requests for legal help. Her team also take a ‘can do’ approach to challenges we give them.’
- Advised two separate landowners affected by the National Grid Viking Link electricity cable to run from Denmark through Lincolnshire.
- Advising on surrender of Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy and purchasing of freehold.
- Assisted with the purchase of a 385 acre farm purchase.
Roythornes Solicitors has a strong focus on land, property and estates with a nationwide client base consisting of farm businesses and estates. The firm has strong experience in a range of land transactions, ranging from residential and small leasehold arrangements to sustainable energy and agricultural land sales. The team is jointly led by Julie Robinson, Tom Foottit, Simeon Disley, Edd Johnson and Emma Hill. Notable developments included Alan Plummer retiring from private practice and senior associate Claire Hindmarch joining from Wilkin Chapman LLP.
Other key lawyers:
The Woodland Trust
- Advising on the grant of shooting rights over a substantial estate in different ownerships.
- Advising on the implications of buying a company with the benefit of an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy of a fully equipped farm.
- Advising on the creation of a dedicated green burial site on farmland.
Wilkin Chapman LLP
Wilkin Chapman LLP acts for clients in complex agricultural disputes and on property transactions. It is notably active advising clients in the poultry business. The firm is the East Midlands representative on the National Farmers Union legal panel. Practice head Catherine Harris leads the team, which comprises of practitioners who are members of the Agricultural Law Association. James Lloyd and Flora Bennett are names to note.
‘If you want a big job getting over the line, in a tight timeframe then use Catherine Harris and her team.’
‘The practice work with professional competence, supplying legal assistance and solutions in a timely and competent way.’
‘James Lloyd is consistently excellent in the concise and thorough advice he gives on business set-ups.‘
‘A diverse, yet professional approach with a can-do attitude.’
- Acted for W N Farming Partnership on a major partnership reorganisation, and also advised on associated basic payment scheme and tenancy issues.
- Acted for a large number of landowners and occupiers affected by the laying of cables on farmland to bring electricity generated by offshore windfarms onshore.
- Represented landowner in the sale of three farms owned by different family entities to an investment purchaser within a tight time-scale.
Browne Jacobson LLP leverages its multidisciplinary strengths to advise clients in both the public and private sectors. The firm is recognised for its involvement in high-profile proprietary estoppel cases involving agricultural law. The practice is jointly led by Robert Wofinden and Lucy Worwood. Senior associate Georgina Euden is a key member of the team and recently became a Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association. The firm's recent work included acting for the Bridge Farm Group on the sale of the group to Canadian cannabis grower Sundial.
Other key lawyers:
‘Robert Wofinden is a very able partner in this team who understands the complex issues with regard to Rural Estates, and also has real knowledge in dealing with development deals, including options.’
‘Robert Wofinden is ably assisted by Georgina Euden, and their work is prompt, efficient and of a high quality.’
Aggregate Industries UK Limited
The National Trust
Peak District National Park Authority
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Natural Resources Body for Wales
British Trust for Ornithology
Northern Ireland Ombudsman
Marine Management Organisation
- Advised the Bridge Farm Group on the sale to Canadian cannabis producer Sundial Growers Inc.
- Advised Cheltenham Borough Council on the acquisition of agricultural land for the extension to its cyber-intelligence centre GCHQ for a purchase price £37.5m.
- Advised a client on the sale of agricultural land to create a new motorway service station in a deal worth approximately £50m.
Nigel Davis Solicitors
Nigel Davis Solicitors is a boutique agricultural firm with a sizeable client base of landowners. Clients praise the firm's 'complete understanding of the agricultural industry'. Its breadth of expertise is reflected by its varied workload, which includes large property transactions and development work, as well as disputes between landlords and tenants. The firm also offers private client advice, such as wills and estate planning for farmers and landowners. Matthew Elias, Liz Power and Vito Berzanskis jointly lead the team. Consultant Heather Drew is a key individual in the firm's regulatory practice.
‘This firm is unique in its field – its popularity is due to its complete understanding of the agricultural industry and compendious knowledge of the right solutions. It is the leader in the field.’
‘True specialisation in agriculture and estates, nothing token about this.’
‘Oliver Wilson brings a unique blend of knowledge, energy and a deep understanding of farming needs. He simply is the go-to man for farmers across the region.’
‘Great knowledge and understanding of agricultural matters, which few other firms offer.’
‘Oliver Wilson and Matthew Elias are one with the agricultural world and their clients put great store by this.’
Whitehouse Construction Co Ltd
McClure Timber Supplies Ltd
Greenwood Forest Products UK Ltd
Boden & Davies