The agile team at Boodle Hatfield LLP advises on the full array of issues from strategic tax advice to a myriad of property matters. Saskia Arthur is the head of agricultural property while Andrea Zavos leads the private client and tax offering. The group has a strong national presence and is known for its work with some of the largest estates in the country in addition to its expertise in all aspects of the sale and purchase of valuable residential property, farms and agricultural land. It is adept at advising on diversification, devolution and on the development of land and is skilled at handling disputes involving the modern family. Other core areas of expertise include providing rural business advice to clients in addition to advising on heritage property matters and on the management of valuable art collections. Sue Laing is another key figure. Hayden Bailey works closely with various entrepreneurial heirs and Natasha Hassall is also well-regarded.
Agriculture and estates in London
Saskia Arthur; Andrea Zavos
Other key lawyers:
Sue Laing; Hayden Bailey: Natasha Hassall
‘Very established landed estates team’.
‘Boodle Hatfield has taken a lot of time to understand our business and the requirements of the owners. The lawyers have adapted their approach to reflect how we work. Most importantly, they are very flexible and responsive and I completely trust the advice that they provide’.
‘Hayden Bailey is our lead contact. My view on Hayden is reflective of my overall view of the firm: fundamentally, I trust and value the advice that he gives. He has always been very supportive and responsive. He is forward looking and has made sure that we are more forward thinking and spend the right time considering future strategy’.
‘Hayden Bailey – one of the highest regarded lawyers in the landed estates world, rightly so. He is brilliant with clients and pragmatic too’.
‘Hayden Bailey – very good technically. Responsive. Prepared to work collaboratively which is great’.
Tom Hewitt leads the department at Burges Salmon LLP that has a deep bench of experienced practitioners who advise on the full range of agricultural and estates issues including subsidies, rural development and renewable energy schemes. The nimble team continues to act for many of the largest and most important institutional landowners, estates and agri-businesses nationally. Hewitt has a wealth of experience in succession and wealth planning and on all aspects of complex trusts, wills and probate matters in addition to capital tax issues. Kevin Kennedy advises on a myriad of high-level agricultural disputes. Sian Edmunds advises landowners, agri-businesses and producers on an array of contentious and regulatory issues. Ross Simpson receives plaudits for his work on diverse issues such as land reform, community rights to buy and Scottish agricultural holdings and crofting. At associate level Maddie Dunn, Peter Roberts and Tim Williams are all recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Kevin Kennedy; Sian Edmunds; Ross Simpson; Maddie Dunn; Peter Roberts; Tim Williams
‘Tom Hewitt, is a true gentleman who has the ability to explain the most complex matters in the simplest, practical form which is a true skill that cannot be taught‘.
‘The service I received was friendly and they were very approachable. They understood my needs and responded to them. They were very knowledgeable and efficient. Sian Edmunds was particularly good, I had confidence in her capabilities and she was very professional’.
‘Ross Simpson is incredibly dedicated and proactive and demonstrates an exceptionally high level of personal accountability’.
‘Ross Simpson – his involvement in a deal brings additional credibility, respect and quality throughout every aspect’.
‘Ross Simpson is knowledgeable and responds quickly to emails‘.
The Crown Estate
John Lewis Partnership/Waitrose – including the Leckford Estate
HSBC – on secured agricultural lending
Earl of Plymouth estates
South Yorkshire Pensions Authority
The Woodland Trust
Yeo Valley – including family farming business
- Advising the Church Commissioners for England on its extensive rural estate.
- Acting as the sole appointed lawyers providing agricultural and rural law advice to The Crown Estate in respect of its Rural and Windsor portfolios.
- Advised the trustees of a landed estate in the high-profile case of Earl of Plymouth v Rees. These cases have involved so far two arbitrations, two High Court claims, a further High Court trial starting in November 2021 and a Court of Appeal hearing.
With Paul Krafft at the helm at Farrer & Co the department has ‘an enviable breadth and depth of resources and know how to be able to address a plethora of challenges and needs‘. It continues to advise some of the UK’s largest and highest-profile institutional and private clients on all issues relating to their agricultural and rural landed estates. The first-class team also excels in advising on the sale and purchase of agricultural estates and substantial country houses as well as on other issues such as mineral matters. It has an established reputation for advising on high-quality residential schemes too. Edmund Fetherston-Dilke, James Maxwell and Simon Pring are all highly recommended. Tom Kirkman and Patrick Hammond were promoted to the partnership. The team garners praise for being ‘available, willing to provide opinions in almost all situations’ and for ‘its style of communication – making it a team that is a pleasure to work with’.
Other key lawyers:
Edmund Fetherston-Dilke; James Maxwell; Simon Pring; Tom Kirkman; Patrick Hammond; Emily Zethraeus
‘The availability and involvement of a partner whenever required is hugely impressive as is the oversight of associates and the fast turn around of work executed by both partners and associates. The expertise and knowledge displayed in this field of practice combined with extensive practical experience gives confidence that one is receiving the best possible advice and is in very safe hands‘.
‘Very client focused team working closely with institutional and high net worth families and individuals. Significant experience in property law relating to mines and minerals. Strong team with a good age and gender mix. James Maxwell is a very strong lead for the team’.
‘This team is technically very strong and from a sound foundation of experience and knowledge provides a unique solution focused service. The best I have come across in 25 years. Tom Kirkman and Edmund Fetherston-Dilke are both exceptional operators. The depth of knowledge on all rural landlord and tenant matters is second to none‘.
‘The lawyers offer a full service with all areas of law covered. They also look at things differently to ensure that the best service is offered. They are all very very good. They are also available to speak to when you need them and will go above and beyond for their clients’.
‘The team is exceptional with a breadth and depth of knowledge that is in my nearly 30 years experience, unparalleled.
‘Excellent practical and legal knowledge of their subject, depth of team for all matters rural and all matters that affect the purchase of a complex rural estate.’
‘Patrick Hammond and Edmund Fetherston Dilke, are both excellent in practical and legal terms, both highly likable, good with clients , approachable and helpful and very responsive’.
‘Associate Emily Zethraeus’ wise counsel and work are outstanding’.
Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Cornwall
Church Commissioners for England
The Crown Estate
Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited
All Souls College, Oxford
- Advising on the sale for c.£50M of a major East Anglia estate with farms, studs, commercial property and around 50 cottages.
- Advising the client on the grant of leases of quarries in Cornwall for the purpose of lithium extraction and processing.
- Advising the client on a development agreement for the promotion of 12 sites, including former coal mines, for the residential development for up to nearly 2,000 houses.
Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Matthew Woods co-head a thriving practice at Withers LLP that acts for over 130 landed estates across England and Wales. Clients include historic landowners and successful individuals from around the world. In addition it is regularly instructed by clients entering the rural UK property market for the first time. The group is skilled at handling all aspects of rural property transactions from advising on VAT and stamp duty land tax to advising on complex trusts, cross-border planning and succession issues. Hoskyns-Abrahall also advises forestry investors and increasingly clients who are looking at carbon capture opportunities as well as biodiversity offsetting. Woods is recommended for his advice to clients about how to retain the family assets and business and on their effective transfer to successive generations. Edward Jarron deals with a broad range of property matters including the buying and selling of country houses and agricultural estates as well as development sites and renewable projects.
Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall; Matthew Woods
Other key lawyers:
‘The strength and depth of the Withers team is particularly impressive. Other firms often have one or two stand out lawyers but when they are not available, the cracks start to appear. At Withers the whole team has very good operators, including Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Edward Jarron’.
‘Excellent resource across a number of areas. Clear aims and very responsive’.
‘Outstanding client focus’.
The London landed estates practice at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP excels at providing specialist tax, trust and tax planning advice for intergenerational succession. The team is ably led by Bart Peerless and Henry Fea who are highly regarded for their work with UHNW families and their businesses both in the UK and around the world. The group is also recommended for its work on all aspects of strategic land sales and purchases as well as excelling at advising on issues relating to art collections and the full array of heritage property matters. In addition it is skilled at handling a range of disputes relating to landed estates. Robert Blower acts for many well-known estate owning families advising them on a vast array of estate, tax and succession planning matters.
Bart Peerless; Henry Fea
Other key lawyers:
Robert Blower; James Trafford; Charles Hutton; William Begley; Sarah Wray
‘CRS has a deep knowledge of Rural Estates, family related law, tax, including for clients living abroad, and issues such as succession‘.
‘First class lawyers – partners, senior associates and associates. Friendly, knowledgeable and very discreet. Bart Peerless, Henry Fea, James Trafford Charles Hutton are all excellent’.
‘Good advice well presented, friendly approachable team. Very knowledgeable. Bart Peerless- the name says it all! He is excellent. Sarah Wray – efficient friendly extremely good. Innovative ideas’.
‘The firm has a lawyer who can help with anything, incredibly valuable to multi-generational families and their businesses’.
‘William Begley – a very good lawyer who is collaborative and works well with other advisors. Happy to take control, but is equally happy to play the supporting role‘.
‘Sarah Wray is one of the brightest associates around. Her knowledge and analysis is exceptional and she is a delightful person into the bargain‘.
Under the leadership of Michael Aubrey and Tim Ryan the large team at Mills & Reeve LLP deals with a complete range of matters relating to rural land. In addition to acting for numerous traditional farming clients, it also acts for several of the landowning Cambridge and Oxford colleges, various pension funds, prestigious landed estates and many substantial national farming businesses. Amanda Tagg is recommended for her advice to institutional investors on all aspects of their agricultural property portfolios and for her experience in the food and agribusiness sector. The practice is also adept at advising on large scale renewable energy projects.
Michael Aubrey; Tim Ryan
Other key lawyers:
Amanda Tagg; Dawn Chapman
‘Mill & Reeve was recommended to us for advice on business and estate planning for a farming family partnership. The firm gave us sound advice at the time and has subsequently acted for us on many levels’.
‘Dawn Chapman first acted for us when we decided to dissolve our partnership and sell the farm. She has always been very approachable and efficient in all our dealings‘.
The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford of the Foundation of King Henry the Eighth
Albanwise Limited and Albanwise Synergy Limited
- Advised the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford of the Foundation of King Henry the Eighth on the purchase of approximately 775 acres of land on the periphery of north Oxford.
- Advising Albanwise Limited and Albanwise Synergy Limited on the grant to Orsted Hornsea Project Four Limited (Orsted) of an option to call for the grant of leases (compound, project and network operator) in connection with the Hornsea Project Four offshore windfarm to be constructed by Orsted in the North Sea.
- Acted for G’s Group, on the implementation of a complex reorganisation which saw their corporate group divided into two separate groups but each owned by the same shareholders.
The ‘incredibly efficient’ team at Payne Hicks Beach LLP works for the owners of over 50 landed estates varying in size from 750 acres to well over 30,000 acres many of which include houses and grounds that are open to the public. Head of department Simon Blackburn regularly advises on the sale of land for development and helps clients deal with manorial rights and rural rights of way. Robert Brodrick acts for the trustees and owners of landed estates on tax and estate planning matters primarily, while Rosamond McDowell’s practice spans both contentious and non-contentious estate planning, trust and probate work.
Other key lawyers:
Rosamond McDowell; Robert Brodrick; Michael Parkinson; Scott Goldstein; Bethany Milchem
‘Responsive, a pleasure to deal with and willing to give real advice’.
‘A very knowledgeable and conscientious team that always strives to go the extra mile to assist us, and make us feel valued and important. The team collaborates well, so nothing is missed, but yet, no unnecessary overlap. Very clear and concise billing. Technology excellent, particularly useful of late with online meetings’.
‘Fantastic love of all things Rights of Way! What more could you ask for. Simon Blackburn has been a detail-driven and supportive lawyer who has allowed us to get to effective results’.
‘Simon Blackburn is one of the best landed estates lawyer of his generation; very experienced, very commercial and very personable. Bethany Milchem is relatively junior but is excellent at dealing with clients and a cheerful soul’.
‘It is rare to find a strong rural team in London and whilst the cost associated with procuring legal services in the capital can sometimes put off clients who would otherwise source their advice locally, there are times when quality of expertise and speed of response justifies the extra outlay, as here’.
‘This practice stands out for me because the personnel involved were always available, they stuck to their estimate despite the work being significantly more complex than initially anticipated and Simon Blackburn ensured that the various aspects of the trust and property work were marshalled and delivered on time to ensure a satisfactory conclusion‘.
‘Simon Blackburn – where Simon’s approach really stands out is in the care and effort that he takes to build relationships both with the other professionals involved and in this case with the counterparty to a divorce who sought to frustrate the legal process in train. Suffice it to say that his good bedside manner and diplomacy prevented on several occasions a difficult situation from escalating‘.
‘Simon Blackburn and Michael Parkinson are highly intelligent individuals and men of sound judgement. Their advice is invariably good and perceptive‘.
Tristan Ward and Paddy Lynam lead the department at BDB Pitmans that acts for various high-profile landowning families and international clients some of whom are successful entrepreneurs who invest for pleasure and profit. It also regularly advises agricultural members’ organisations on matters related to property and taxation and helps landowners to realise development opportunities. Hugo Smith specialises in estate and tax planning with a particular specialism in landed estates and heritage assets.
Tristan Ward; Paddy Lynam
Other key lawyers:
‘Flexible and responsive team with specialist experience of landed estates and development work including option and promotion agreements. Paddy Lynham is a stand-out partner for landed estates covering purchases, sales and development work with particular experience of options, promotions and overage agreements. He takes an analytical yet commercial approach to achieve the best outcome for his clients‘.
‘Straightforward and pragmatic advice. Accessible partners. Patrick Lynam. Excellent property transactional knowledge – safe pair of hands’.
‘Well thought out practical advice. Tristan Ward – thoughtful and considered advice with the landowner at its heart’.
‘Very strong on both the overview and the attention to detail with the ability to recognise and adhere to meeting the clients’ needs and requirements. Tristan Ward is one of the best solicitors I have worked with for over twenty years; always thinking of the client and what they need to achieve and often going above and beyond what the clients think they need, but he is able to guide and advise to an exceptional standard’.
‘Tristan Ward – outstanding knowledge of issues arising on the purchase and sale of landed estates. Gives practical advice and support throughout the process. Very good support on the issues that come up on estates on a regular basis’.
‘Professional and experienced yet modern, approachable and quick to respond. Paddy Lynam – looks for solutions, doesn’t dwell on issues, works effectively to make clients’ objectives and wishes happen. Straightforward, straight talking advice. Tristan Ward – very experienced and one of the most knowledgeable solicitors I have come across’.
‘Great practical knowledge of their subject, agricultural estates, a depth of knowledge and ability to deal with all matters that arise in this complex field. Tristan Ward and Paddy Lynam are both incredibly experienced with a deep understanding of practical matters of farming and rural matters coupled with an excellent understanding of the law’.
A charity with a focus on agricultural enterprise
Michelmores LLP is praised for its ‘absolute commitment to the client and doing whatever is needed to get the deal done’. London-based Ben Sharples and Bristol-based Vivienne Williams co-head the department that includes Cheltenham-based Christian Massey who is praised for his ‘"can do" attitude’. The team is strong on traditional agricultural matters including contentious issues but also works closely with its renewable energy, tax planning and environmental departments as well as its private client and regulatory practices.
Ben Sharples; Vivienne Williams
Other key lawyers:
Christian Massey; Adam Corbin; Charlotte Razay; Josie Edwards; Rachel O’Connor
‘Michelmores has the most capable and experienced Agriculture team that I know of in the UK. Its involvement with leading and ground breaking cases gives it a strategic advantage over its competitors and enables it to advise on litigation in a more commercial and enlightened manner‘.
‘Dual qualification as rural surveyors and solicitors gives it a unique edge. Ben Sharples and Adam Corbin stand out in this regard, carrying an understanding of the client’s position and that of their agent, enabling them to apply advice in a more pragmatic and cost effective fashion’.
‘The Agriculture and Estates team at Michelmores are genuine specialists. They have a wealth of experience in agriculture both in terms of the law and the way the industry works. They operate at a very high level in terms of the work that they do but I have been very impressed by their ability to work in a cost-efficient way. Because they are so specialist they have a very good working relationship with all of the key expert witnesses that might be required for litigation in this field’.
‘Adam Corbin is excellent. He is exceptionally knowledgeable in the area of agriculture and works extremely hard to achieve the best result for his clients. I would highly recommend senior associate Charlotte Razay. She is very focused on achieving success for her client whilst also remaining careful to ensure that costs remain as low as possible. She is also approachable and easy to work with’.
‘One of the leading firms in this practice area, with a number of very experienced solicitors who know a great deal about agricultural disputes. Ben Sharples: an outstandingly good solicitor, with an excellent grasp of the law and of the technical aspects of agriculture and property, and an outstanding tactician. The best there is. Charlotte Razay: a rising star; very thorough, diligent and reliable, an excellent team player’.
‘A terrific team, working at the top of their game. Very responsive and client focused. They are top-notch litigators – with a good eye for the detail, as well as the broader commercial imperatives’.
‘Very approachable team, the majority of whom have significant rural experience, including rural surveying and valuation qualifications. They are responsive and great at sharing knowledge and keeping clients up to date with developments in the rural world. Ben Sharples, Adam Corbin and Josie Edwards embody the qualities described above. As a client, we are very grateful for their support and care of our business needs’
‘Excellent depth and breadth of knowledge in that field, and a reliable and expert service for clients. Vivienne Williams, Ben Sharples. Very expert and knowledgeable, enthusiastic, commercially sensible, and also agreeable to work with’.
Clinton Devon Estates
WWF/ Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS)
The Environment Bank Limited
Hertfordshire County Council
Hestercombe Garden Trust Limited
Pontypool Park Estate
Nijjar Group Holdings Acton Limited
Landsec Easton Park Investments Limited
- Advised on an innovative partnership between Environment Bank Ltd and specialist alternative asset manager Gresham House to introduce a first-to-market compliance solution driving biodiversity net gain.
- Prepared for the Forestry Commission an entirely new and bespoke suite of agreements for a key matter and is dealing with the related planning issues.
- Acting for Clinton Devon Estates in structuring and drafting a partnership agreement with the Environment Agency to deliver the £15 million Lower Otter Restoration Project.
The large team at Moore Barlow works with a variety of landed estates, farmers, private landowners and equestrian businesses. With Sarah Jordan and Philip Whitcomb at the helm, the team advises on diverse issues relating to agricultural property, land development and high-value residential property. Edward Whittington is a Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association. Jordan has extensive experience in all aspects of rural property. Whitcomb specialises in agricultural succession planning, asset protection, farming partnerships and heritage law. Consultant Anita Symington is also well-regarded.
Sarah Jordan; Philip Whitcomb
Other key lawyers:
Edward Whittington; Anita Symington; Charlotte Brackley
‘The lawyers have given excellent advice with great diplomacy and understanding’.
‘A strong understanding of both the industry and the client’s businesses. Always keen to understand their clients’ businesses and objectives. Attentive and responsive. A true personal relationship and they feel part of our wider team’.
‘We have dealt almost entirely with Edward Whittington. He has given us exceptional advice and support dealing with potentially combustible family relationships‘.
‘Anita Symington. She is the perfect, rounded, solicitor for this type of work. Approachable, can explain the most technical points in plain English, focused on outcomes. She has unparalleled experience in agricultural work‘.
‘I have used the team for a number of property purchases and disposals. Their communication and availability around some fairly nuanced issues were exemplary’.
‘They have been excellent in listening to the challenges faced and respond to the actual question with great clarity and transparency of the options with great summaries of the advantages and risks of each path. It has been a refreshing experience as this has kept timeframes manageable and rework to a minimum‘.
The Grange Estate Hampshire
- Advised Cowdray Estate – providing rural asset management legal support.
- Advised The Grange Estate Hampshire – providing rural asset management support.