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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 > London > Private client > Agriculture and estates > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Boodle Hatfield LLP has a national reach with offices in Oxford and London. The skilled team continues to act for over 80 landed estates under the leadership of Saskia Arthur and Andrea Zavos. It regularly assists wealthy individuals investing in landed estates, country houses and farms in addition to acting as trustee for a number of major estates. Sue Laing and Fiona Graham are also key figures. Other key areas of expertise lie in advising young entrepreneurial heirs/owners of landed estates on setting up business ventures as well as advising significant estates on issues relating to tax migration and the management of substantial capital tax charges.

Practice head(s):Saskia Arthur; Andrea Zavos

Other key lawyers:Fiona Graham; Sue Laing; Hayden Bailey

Testimonials

'The team provides an outstanding service. Always dealing with matters promptly and pragmatically with a commercial focus at the heart of all decision making'.

'The superb Fiona Graham is thoroughly recommended'.

'Fiona Graham is outstanding, superb people skills and technical ability'.

'The team understands the problems of managing a rural estate and completes instructions with a minimum of fuss and invariably on time'.

'A traditional firm that puts the interests of its clients at the forefront of everything that it does and it has a real strength in depth in terms of having experts in a number of fields that mirror the needs of a private client'.

'Hayden Bailey is a dynamic yet thoughtful lawyer. He will always look at the bigger picture rather than just the single issue often looking at a solution that works around the problem.'

Key Clients

Grosvenor Estates

Bedford Estate

Radnor/Folkestone Estate

Burges Salmon LLP continues to act for many of the largest and most important institutional landowners, estates and agri-businesses nationally on substantial and complex matters. The group advises on the full array of matters from estate management, subsidies and tenancies, through to the sale and purchase of agricultural property and substantial estates, as well as on rural development. Other areas of expertise include assisting farmers and agri-business clients on regulatory issues affecting the food supply chain. Tom Hewitt heads the team and Jim Aveline acts for a sizeable client base of diversified farms and landed estates in relation to their tax, estate and succession issues.

Practice head(s):Tom Hewitt

Other key lawyers:Jim Aveline; Sian Edmunds; Peter Roberts; Maddie Dunn

Testimonials

'Has a practical and intelligent approach based on much experience and a genuine understanding of agriculture and estates. Easily said but not so easily done and Burges Salmon really delivers on this'.

'Any farmer wants Burges Salmon's pink notepaper on their side. Immense knowledge of the market - simply unrivalled'.

'Tom Hewitt is excellent'.

'Tom Hewitt has a national reputation as a trusted advisor to estate owners and other substantial landowners'.

'Sian Edmunds has unrivalled experience in agriculture and food'.

'Sian Edmunds is highly experienced in farming and agri-business'.

'Jim Aveline is friendly, responsive, sensitive and intelligent'.

'Peter Roberts has a balanced and measured approach'.

'Maddie Dunn is much in demand'.

Key Clients

The Crown Estate

National Trust

John Lewis Partnership (Leckford Estate)

HSBC

Defence Infrastructure Organisation

South Yorkshire Pensions Authority

The Woodland Trust

Yeo Valley

Gea Farm Technologies

Work highlights

  • Representing the Crown Estate in taking action against a farming tenant for bringing unauthorised waste onto the holding.
  • Acting for an international manufacturer in defending claims relating to robotic milking parlours.
  • Acted for a family selling a castle which had been owned for generations along with a wedding business as a going concern.
  • Acted for the buyers of two separate country houses (combined value over £14m).
  • Acted for an egg producing group on the corporate restructuring of its property ownerships and subsequent refinancing.

Farrer & Co is well known for its advice to land-owning institutions, large estates, rural businesses and individual landowners. The large team continues to advise some of the UK’s biggest and highest-profile institutional and private clients in this area, on all issues relating to their agricultural and rural land/estates. It advises on the full spectrum of matters such as the sale and purchase of agricultural estates and substantial country houses as well as other areas such as the exploitation of sporting and mineral interests. Other specialisms include advising on rural development opportunities arising out of renewable energy schemes. Simon Pring is well regarded for his advice on all aspects of property law with particular expertise in advising on development opportunities and strategic estate planning, and is head of the team which includes: Edmund Fetherston-Dilke, the 'exceptional' Paul Krafft and the 'efficient, effective and thoughtful' James Maxwell.

Practice head(s):Simon Pring

Other key lawyers:Edmund Fetherston-Dilke; Paul Krafft; Patrick Hammond; James Maxwell

Testimonials

'The team is refreshingly different as while identifying any problems it always identifies solutions too. The team is both great fun to work with while providing the reassurance and attention to detail you expect from a top quality law firm'.

'Simon Pring has a good knowledge of mineral rights'.

'Simon Pring - plenty of cerebral horsepower and a good bedside manner. James Maxwell - efficient, effective and thoughtful'.

'Paul Krafft is exceptional'.

'Patrick Hammond is very competent'.

Key Clients

Duchy of Lancaster

Duchy of Cornwall

Church Commissioners for England

Burghley House Preservation Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising the trustees of a private estate on the high profile sale of the 2,600 acre Langley Estate in County Durham for around £10m.
  • Advising the trustees of a private estate on an option and lease for a 35MW solar farm on a private estate in Leicestershire.
  • Acted for the Church Commissioners for England in connection with the purchase of a large block of high-quality agricultural land and associated buildings in East Anglia for £4.1m.
  • Acted for two agri-businesses on their purchase of two farms for a total of over £5m.
  • Acted for a private landowner in relation to a new lease for a currently defunct quarry in Wales.

Forsters LLP has a sophisticated client base which includes a blend of traditional landowners across multiple generations of a family, ultra-high-net-worth individuals and, increasingly, overseas investors and purchasers with Andrew Lane at the helm. Lane acts for private and commercial investors purchasing farms and estates and Penny Elliott acts for a wide range of private and institutional owners of rural property. The team, which also includes Rupert Mead, is skilled at advising the owners of landed estates on tax planning and succession issues and on the preservation of heritage property. It is also recommended for its work on substantial development transactions. The team was pleased to add Henry Cecil and Christopher Findley to its ranks from BDB Pitmans.

Practice head(s):Andrew Lane

Other key lawyers:Penny Elliott: Henry Cecil: Andrew Lane; Rupert Mead; Christopher Findley

Testimonials

'The team has a detailed knowledge and a commercial approach '.

'Highly capable and able to deliver results in tight timelines, which is essential when purchasing or refinancing property. Forsters really cares about its clients'.

'Henry Cecil and Christopher Findley combine considerable experience and knowledge with a great understanding of the client's needs and a rarely found ability to help their clients focus on the key issues for them'.

'Christopher Findley has a huge depth of knowledge which can be brought to the fore when dealing with the most complex of legal matters relating to farms and estates including all tenancy related issues'.

'Henry Cecil - an outstanding agricultural property lawyer'.

'Penny Elliott ensured that the technical legal work was done in a thorough and timely manner. She was helpful in so many ways'.

'Andrew Lane is very experienced and knowledgeable in all fields, and is also very practical'.

Withers LLP acts for over 130 landed estates across England and Wales on all aspects of rural property transactions. The department is regularly instructed by clients who are entering the rural UK property market for the first time and also has a number of clients who are resident or domiciled abroad. Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall co-heads the landed estate group and focuses on advising landowners and estates on a wide variety of management and succession issues. Matthew Woods also heads the group and is skilled at providing tax and succession planning advice to the owners of rural property. The team is also well-placed to advise on all aspects of trusts and cross-border planning.

Practice head(s):Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall; Matthew Woods

Other key lawyers:Christopher Groves

Testimonials

'The team has a great understanding of all aspects of landed estates'.

'Matthew Woods is a great person to have in trustees meeting and in client meetings. Always providing reassuring and considered guidance'.

Through its offices in Cheltenham, London and Guildford, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP represents some of the UK’s leading landed estates. The multi-disciplinary group advises on a myriad of issues from tax and estate planning on land sales/transfers, to providing agricultural law advice to land agents in relation to farms and rural businesses. The team also advises on family law matters as well as on all aspects of heritage assets and valuable art works. Henry Fea heads the rural businesses and landed estates team and specialises in heritage property taxation advice for the owners of landed estates and the administration of complex estates. Bart Peerless is another key member of the team who is well-regarded for his succession and estate planning advice for substantial landowners.

Practice head(s):Henry Fea

Other key lawyers:Bart Peerless

Testimonials

'Bart Peerless is very well regarded and experienced in advising on major landed estates'.

Alexandra Sarkis and Peter Robinson lead the team at Hunters Law LLP that advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious rural and agricultural business and property matters. The group acts for some 90 landed estates which include a mix of tenanted and ‘in hand’ farms that are spread across the country from Northumberland to Wales. A number of these clients have heritage properties that are open to the public. The team has particular expertise in advising on the structuring of the ownership of these estates through partnerships, companies and trusts, and has significant expertise in complex generation and succession planning issues. In addition, the department works regularly with its art practice to provide contentious and non-contentious advice on matters ranging from provenance disputes and heritage property tax matters, through to the movement of fine art and chattels. James Vernor-Miles is another recommended member of the team.

Practice head(s):Alexandra Sarkis; Peter Robinson

Other key lawyers:James Vernor-Miles; Jonathan Thompson

Testimonials

'The team provides good and clear advice and has the ability to look at complicated issues with an open mind and then come up with logical and practical solutions'.

'The team provided practical and reasonable solutions to an extremely complex case and managed the time between partner lead input and that of an associate very well'.

'Jonathan Thompson is extremely knowledgeable. During an extremely complex issue he guided us and made us aware of the issues and pitfalls that no other professional had raised'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for one of two agricultural tenancy landlords, that enabled a split of the freehold reversion tenancy to be varied, so as to enable both landlords to manage their land without having to refer to one another.
  • Advised on the grant of a gas easement to gas distribution companies.
  • Advising on the strategic future of a third generation landed estate.
  • Advising on the gift of land to a son where there was a risk of undue influence.
  • Advising on development property work for a landed estate client.

With its national reach, Mills & Reeve LLP acts for traditional farming clients as well as several of the landowning Cambridge and Oxford colleges. Other clients include a number of pension funds, prestigious landed estates and many substantial national farming businesses. Michael Aubrey is a key member of the firm’s food and agribusiness practice, while Tim Ryan advises a range of landowner clients on a myriad of complex issues including significant acquisitions and disposals of land. Amanda Tagg has considerable experience of agricultural land diversification.

Practice head(s):Michael Aubrey

Other key lawyers:Tim Ryan; Amanda Tagg

Key Clients

Barclays Bank

Strutt and Parker Farms

John Innes Foundation

Christ Church Oxford

Trinity College Cambridge

Greenyard Farmcare

The Countryside Restoration Trust

Albanwise Limited

Northumbrian Water

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders on the sale of Strutt and Parker Farms Limited which farms 30,000 acres in the South East, has two AD plants, a natural burial ground and various wind and solar farms.
  • Advised on the restructuring of Farmcare's trading operation to exit direct farming on 25,000 acres to setting up seven contract farming arrangements with six large independent farming businesses.
  • Advised Christ Church Oxford on the sale of a spa farm in Lincolnshire.
  • Advised Trinity College, Cambridgeon the purchase and leaseback of a complex agricultural estate in Nottinghamshire.

Payne Hicks Beach works with the owners of over 50 landed estates ranging in size from 750 acres to over 30,000 acres. Some of these estates include houses and grounds that are open to the public. The team routinely advises on diverse issues such as the buying and selling of farmland across the country through to advising on the protection of mineral rights. Other work highlights include advising on diversification schemes and alternative energy systems as well as succession planning and the tax issues surrounding agricultural/business property relief and entrepreneurs’ relief. Simon Blackburn joined from Macfarlanes LLP. Robert Brodrick is also recommended for his work on tax and estate planning.

Practice head(s):Simon Blackburn

Other key lawyers:Robert Brodrick

Testimonials

'A first-class private client and landed estates team that specialises in trust and family constitution'.

'Robert Brodrick is very responsive, effective and empathetic to the family requirements of a landed estate. He is able to delegate work appropriately to his wider support network whilst being fully informed and available to his clients'.

'Rapid personal attention and the team is always available'.

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