Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Agriculture and estates

Recommended by the NFU, Josiah Hincks Solicitors advises across the full range of farming law and agricultural matters. Key specialisms include milk contracts, livestock and poultry claims, renewable energy projects, footpath and bridleway disputes and RPA claims. Andrew Eagle is the lead partner. 

Agriculture and estates in East Midlands

HCR Hewitsons

Gareth Williams, ‘a leader in his field’, and the ‘exceptionalStephanie Dennis are the main figures at HCR Hewitsons‘ top-tier agricultural practice; both have a well-earned reputation advising farmers, farming companies and rural estate owners on sale, dispositions, land developments, regulatory matters and tax planning. Dennis is a name to note for agricultural tenancies, in particular the intricacies surrounding Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, succession and tax.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Williams

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Dennis


‘Gareth Williams- The service he provided was business-like, timely, cost efficient, focused, effective, courteous and fit for purpose. Advice communicated with conviction inspiring confidence.’

‘Gareth Williams was meticulous and thorough and endeavoured to answer our queries in layman’s terms for better understanding. Gareth is clearly a knowledgeable experienced professional. He remained calm under pressure and was prepared to go the extra mile to ensure a successful outcome for all parties.’

‘The knowledge and experience of the staff at HCR makes the firm exceptional.’

‘Stephanie Dennis at HCR was exceptional in dealing with our case. Her experience, knowledge, and expertise really made a big difference in our case. I personally do not believe that our case would have been successful without these individuals.’

‘The team, under Gareth Williams’ guidance, provides a great breadth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm in the farms and estates sector. They remain on top of the ever-changing legislation and it never feels that anybody is stretching beyond their scope.’

‘Gareth Williams is a leader in his field. His technical knowledge is second to none, but what makes him stand out is his ability to handle delicate situations with a combination of tact and authority. A difficult situation can be made doubly difficult by such matters and Gareth’s ability to steer a safe course through the rocks is much valued.’

Nigel Davis Solicitors

Nigel Davis Solicitors is a specialists rural and agricultural law boutique, housing lawyers with experience across the full breadth of agricultural issues, both advisory and contentious. Key lawyers in the Ashbourne office include Matthew Elias, who advises farmers and landowners on taxation, estate planning issues, agricultural tenancies and, more generally, on the operation of farming businesses. Oliver Wilson is the lead litigator, and Vito Berzanskis is the main figure for property-related mandates.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Elias

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Wilson; Vito Berzanskis

Roythornes Solicitors

Julie Robinson , Simeon Disley , Edd Johnson and Tim Russ are all key figures at Roythornes Solicitors‘ ‘highly organised and well-led’ practice. The team takes on a wide range of rural and agricultural law instructions, and is particularly noted for its work in agricultural holding act tenancies. A further key pillar of the offering is the group’s advice to landowners who are supplying land for large solar developments, battery storage and anaerobic digestion projects.

Practice head(s):

Julie Robinson; Simeon Disley; Edd Johnson; Emma Cook

Other key lawyers:

Tim Russ


‘Highly organised, well led team. Able to respond promptly appropriately and efficiently using zoom for client contact.’

‘Julie Robinson is outstanding; extremely able and wise in her leadership on a complex matter with significant detail and nuance to grasp which she dealt with promptly and effectively with an informed approach to the direction of an area of law in flux. Julie quickly built a strong rapport with us as clients and made it feel very much like a team effort.’

Work highlights

  • Advised members of a farming co-operative on the implications of a natural capital agreement funded by a consortium of food chain companies.
  • Acted in the purchase of a 400-acre arable farm in Nottinghamshire
  • Acted in an agreement to surrender parcels of Agricultural Holdings Act tenanted land for development and biodiversity net gain.

Wilkin Chapman LLP

As one of Lincolnshire’s premier agricultural departments, lawyers of Wilkin Chapman LLP 'most certainly excel in their areas of expertise’ ; the team continues to handle instructions ranging from partnership succession advice and related property transactions to renewable energy collaborations and tenancies. Lisa-Jane Howes has specialist knowledge of inheritance tax, agricultural and business property relief, which is complemented with head of practice’s Catherine Harris‘ transactional experience on farming subsidies and environmental schemes. Roly Freeman and associate Sophie Barwood are also central figures in the team.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Harris; Lisa-Jane Howes

Other key lawyers:

Roly Freeman; Sophie Barwood


‘Lisa-Jane Howes is very responsive. She is able to break down complicated matters into bite sized chunks for clients to understand so that they can make an informed decision.’

‘Personable, experienced and professional. Very knowledgeable about agricultural tenancies’

‘Sophie Barwood – extremely knowledgeable in the area of agriculture. Always extremely professional.’

‘Experience in relevant field and willing to collaborate and or take advice with industry experts.’

‘Any practice is only as good as its staff, and the Wilkin Chapman staff who we deal with, most certainly excel in their areas of expertise. No matter what legal assistance we require, there is someone with reliable knowledge to assist us in a timely manner. Invoicing is also very considerate, and discounts are given to good customers.’

‘Roly Freeman’s vast experience, knowledge and ability to think outside the box is second to none.’

Key clients

Blue Anchor Leisure

Work highlights

  • Advised Blue Anchor Leisure Ltd on the commercial agreements for a £60m development of 200 acres of land

Arnold Thomson

Arnold Thomson is a prominent choice for all matters relating to agricultural property, development work, promotional agreements for farmers and landowners, and other related agricultural commercial matters. Matthew Hawkins is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Hawkins

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP has recently expanded its inheritance tax, agricultural estate and succession planning capabilities with the hire of partner Imogen Holmes from Wilkin Chapman LLP in June 2021, in addition to a number of experienced associate arrivals. Robert Wofinden deals with property development and strategic land transactions, while Lucy Worwood, head of the private client unit, focuses on tax, estate and succession planning.

Practice head(s):

Robert Wofinden; Lucy Worwood

Other key lawyers:

Imogen Holmes


‘Great practice with stand out individuals.’

‘Rob Wofenden stands out as a great solicitor with great communication skills and a willingness to go above and beyond.’

Key clients

Canal and River Trust

Coal Authority

Covanta Energy Limited

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Aggregate Industries UK Limited

The National Trust

Environment Agency

Natural England

Homes England

Peak District National Park Authority

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Natural Resources Body for Wales

British Trust for Ornithology

Welsh Government

Northern Ireland Ombudsman

Marine Management Organisation [Environment]

Belvoir Estate

Work highlights

  • Acted on the refinance of the lending for the Bridge Farm Group.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP‘s property expert Paul Sabin  enjoys a notable reputation for farm and estate transactions, as well as in diversification of renewable energy work. The practice further leverages the expertise of Claire Rudkin and William Harper in inheritance tax and succession planning affairs, including agricultural property relief.

Practice head(s):

Paul Sabin

Other key lawyers:

Claire Rudkin; William Harper


‘Paul Sabin is approachable and available at every turn. His manner and knowledge was immensely reassuring.’

Work highlights

  • We are acting on behalf of the Executors in the administration of a farming estate valued at £1.3m which includes a farmhouse, land (including agricultural land), commercial premises and a farming partnership.
  • Acting in the preparation of mirror Wills for clients with interests in two separate farming partnerships with a total estate value of £5.7m. Part of the advice given will relate to Inheritance Tax advice and in particular the application of Agricultural Property Relief and Business Property Relief to the client’s particular circumstances.
  • Acting for an adult child of the deceased who left his entire farming estate worth c£2m+ to his widow excluding our client who had relied on promises made to him by the deceased. The matter involves issues of proprietory estoppel, trust arguments and financial provision.