Agriculture and estates in North West

Aaron & Partners LLP

Aaron & Partners LLP advises clients including estates, family farms and businesses on agricultural property matters. The team's work encompasses advising on private client matters, such as succession arrangements and disputes involving estates, as well as providing assistance on the sale and acquisition of land. The practice is adept at advising on specialist issues, such as common land and working with the land registry. Practice head Simon Ellis specialises in commercial property matters, while David Harries is noted for his work on planning and environment issues, particularly in relation to the energy sector. Associate Ben Brassington is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Simon Ellis

Other key lawyers:

David Harries; Ben Brassington

Key clients

Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water)

Mostyn Estates

Denbighshire County Council

Chester Zoo

Chester Diocesan Board of Finance

John Holford Charity

Work highlights

  • Advised Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) on various rural property matters.
  • Advised the North of England Zoological Society – Chester Zoo on the purchase of a farmhouse, land and buildings.
  • Provided assistance to the John Holford Charity on various property interests.

Brabners LLP

With a client base including large landowners and landed estates, as well as businesses, Brabners LLP advises on a range of agricultural law matters. The team is particularly active in advising on transactions related to developments on rural land, such as land acquisitions and disposals as well as option agreements. The team also handles succession planning, tenancy issues, and advising landowners on granting access to their land to utilities operators. Rupert Jackson and Charles Hansford lead the team, both offering deep experience in advising on agricultural issues. Director Hannah Carter is noted for her work on contentious property matters.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Jackson; Charles Hansford

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Carter

Testimonials

‘Fantastic legal and sector knowledge and great working experience of real-world issues’

‘Charlie Hansford is a constant source of direction on legal matters providing advice in both strict legal and pragmatic terms that invariably delivers solutions. A ready willingness to engage and offer solutions is a constant source of assurance.’

‘I like their presence in the NW of England. A real regional firm. You feel that there is really someone “stood beside you”’

‘Rupert Jackson is very professional. Very good level of service. Expert in agricultural property matters. ’

‘Excellent specialist knowledge. ’

‘Rupert Jackson instils confidence.’

‘Brabners have a personable team who show an interest in the client’s business and always consider how individual cases may impact on the wider plans.’

Key clients

Associated British Foods plc

Peel Holdings plc

SED Recycling Limited

British Sugar Plc

AB Agri Limited

ABF Grain Products Limited

ABF Properties Limited

CNP Property (Wirral) Limited

T J Morris Limited

Countyroute (A130) plc

Many private individuals and companies.

Work highlights

  • Advised Peel Holdings Plc on a lease of right to install fibre optic cable across Manchester Ship Canal via Mode Wheel Lock.
  • Advised private individuals on HS2 effects, including the impact of HS2 on nearby family farming operations and specialist animal breeding facility.
  • Advising a private landowner on an option agreement with national housebuilder, worth £30,000,000

Butcher & Barlow LLP

Butcher & Barlow LLP's agricultural practice acts for a broad client base, stretching from Lancashire to North Wales, on a range of matters in this area. The team is frequently instructed on agricultural property transactions, and succession planning is also an area of focus. Practice head Mike Bracegirdle is deeply experienced in all areas of agricultural law, including tenancies, with Graham Gigg another key partner in the team. Rebecca Jepson is also noted for her experience in handling the sale of agricultural property for development.

Practice head(s):

Mike Bracegirdle

Other key lawyers:

Graham Gigg; Rebecca Jepson

Testimonials

‘We really appreciate that Butcher & Barlow have all the different specialists under one roof. All partners we are dealing with are approachable, personable, innovative & experienced. They have listened & questioned us to ensure we have considered all options.’

‘We have always received an excellent service from Butcher and Barlow and know that they are a highly regarded firm, from feedback from other clients that work with them. They are thorough, prompt and efficient.’

‘I mainly deal with the agricultural team around Wills, partnership agreements and land transactions. They are very approachable and I would consider one of their key strengths is that when advising they look at all aspects of the client’s affairs not just their specialist area of law which for farmers is key when their private and work affairs mix together. ’

‘Mike Bracegirdle provides practical and straight forward advice, he can cover a wide variety of the law whether looking at Wills, Partnership Agreements and Tenancies. This is valuable when advising a farming client that may need to ensure all these areas interlink to safeguard the farm.’

‘The members of staff at Butcher and Barlow are well informed, up to date in their knowledge and approachable in their dealings with clients. Mike Bracegirdle, a senior partner, has always been available for advice and information and has been particularly helpful when dealing with other professionals from other disciplines. His personal understanding of the world of farming and how this business impacts on those involved, and on the wider family, is second to none. We have great faith in not only his abilities, but also in his wise and informed advice. ’

‘I would happily recommend Graham Gigg to my clients and would be confident that he will service their needs very well. Mike Bracegirdle is similarly well regarded and very well connected in the agricultural sector in the North West. ’

‘Mike Bracegirdle is excellent. He is attentive and helpful and efficient. He has helped me with numerous problems successfully. ’

‘Specialist team involved with agriculture and rural industry. Efficient and up to date with current issues within the industry.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on the retirement of partner from diversified estate in North Wales with a value in excess of £6m.
  • Handling the purchase of dairy farm for £3.8m to form a substantial new dairy unit.
  • Advising on the purchase of farmhouse, building and land subject to overage provisions for £900K.

Myerson Solicitors LLP

Myerson Solicitors LLP provides advice on a broad range of matters to clients from the agricultural sector. The practice includes lawyers from across the firm's different teams, with contentious probate, property transactions and farming divorces particular areas of focus. Mark Gillies and Joanne Perritt are the key figures in the area of real estate, handling acquisitions and disposals as well as option and promotion agreements. Elsewhere, Clara Staunton provides advice on estate planning, such as the establishment of trusts and the drafting of wills, and Andrew Brown focuses on corporate and commercial work including farming partnerships and joint ventures. Jane Tenquist leads the team's family law work.

Practice head(s):

Clara Staunton; Andrew Brown; Mark Gillies

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Perritt; Jane Tenquist; Seán Hackett

Testimonials

‘An all-encompassing legal service provider, based out-of-town with both a compelling offering and competitive fees.’

‘Clara Staunton is proactive, diligent and displays exception professionalism at all times. I have the upmost confidence when referring my clients to her.’

Key clients

Hall Wood Forest Developments

O’Gara Developments

Napthens LLP

Napthens LLP provides advice on a range of agricultural law matters to clients from across Cumbria and Lancashire. In addition to advising on land purchases and disposals, the practice assists clients with the establishment and partition of farming partnerships. Andrew Holden leads the practice, with broad expertise in this area. The team also boasts a strong bench of associates, including James Stocker, Melissa Haigh and Diane France, and draws on the experience of other departments in the firm such as the private client team.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Holden

Other key lawyers:

James Stocker; Melissa Haigh; Diane France

Testimonials

‘The team has always proved very efficient in everything they have done for us. If the member of the team that is dealing with our project is not available there is always someone else that understands the case you are talking about. They have a very clear billing system, that is easy to follow. They are always pleased to hear from you and very courteous. ’

‘Andrew Holden and his team offer a friendly efficient and knowledgable service to their rural clients.’

‘Very knowledgeable agricultural department, each individual member with their own specialism so together they form a strong team. More specialist than other firms who simply pass agricultural work to general practitioners. The firm has introduced farm futures service which looks at the three important issues of Business, Property and Family. Examples include Wills, land ownership and Partnership agreements. They offer this for a fixed price to avoid surprises. This has been well received by clients. ’

‘I have found the individuals to be knowledgeable not just in law but also practical experience of agriculture which is so important to instil confidence with clients and avoid missing aspects of transactions. The individuals I have dealt with have always been particularly quick to respond (which is not the case with all solicitors across the profession).’

‘Levels of communication are good and timely. Too many firms we work with have little consideration for any timescales other than their own.’

‘Very knowledgeable & willing to offer advice. Highly supportive of both the agri/rural sector and local environment Are able to produce work within realistic/tight timescales ’

‘All individuals within the Agri/Rural team have a ‘can-do’ attitude and provide the Bank with significant help & support. Andrew Holden leads the team well and is well known within the industry/region. All team members just do what they say they will.’

Key clients

NFU

Farmers Guardian Legal Hub

HSBC

Yorkshire Bank

DTM Legal LLP

DTM Legal LLP provides a comprehensive service to its client base of landed estates, family-owned farms and farming partnerships on a broad range of agricultural law matters. The team provides advice to its clients on day-to-day issues as well as transactions, such as acquisitions and disposals, option agreements and promotion agreements. Anna  Duffy leads the overall property team, while Stephen  Lunt and Paul  Makinson are the key specialists in agricultural property. The practice also aids clients with succession planning, with Amanda  Bailey focusing on this area. Helen Nash joined the firm in January 2020 from Knights plc, and brings to the team experience in handling transactions and promotion agreements, particularly involving the use of agricultural land for energy and utilities purposes.

Practice head(s):

Anna Duffy

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Lunt; Paul Makinson; Amanda Bailey; Helen Nash

Testimonials

‘Helen Nash has been very efficient, quick to respond to emails and phone calls. She has given good advice.’

‘How can I describe the amazing Amanda Bailey? My father, a farmer in his early 70’s, had put off making a will for such a long time because he had not found anybody (not even those with decades of experience in the field of agricultural law) who had been able to help him. My dad owns a farm and land and had felt so let down by past attempts to get something organised that he had given up trying to get his affairs in order. After the very first meeting with Amanda Bailey I could see my dad physically relax, (which is very rare!) because she not only listened to what he was saying but she knew exactly what she was talking about and explained everything to him in layman’s terms. Which was most appreciated by us all!’

‘I can’t recommend Amanda Bailey highly enough, nothing is too much trouble and she really understands what will work and what won’t especially, it seems when the situations with estates and land are not particularly straightforward.’

‘A can do attitude and ability to get on with the instruction’

‘Helen Nash – ability to contact easily and willing to work as a team.’

Key clients

E A Reed & Sons (Cheshire)

T W Kinsey (Cheshire)

Kronospan (Chirk)

Stuart Roberts

ADAS (part of RSK Group)

Cheshire Young Farmers

W Fair and Son

Work highlights

  • Advising a farming partnership on succession planning including the capital gains tax and inheritance tax implications of the prospective sale of land for the development of circa 500 houses.
  • Estate and planning for a farming family owning c.1000 acres including detailed tax advice on succession planning strategies.

Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand

Lancaster-based Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand routinely handles the acquisition and disposal of agricultural property, as well as option agreements. The practice has a particular focus on transactions for the purposes of development. Many of its transactions involve complicating aspects, such as mineral rights, complex title issues and rights of common. John Myers leads on transactions and tenancy work, while Clare Love handles tax and estate planning for agricultural clients.

Practice head(s):

John Myers; Clare Love

Testimonials

‘Our family and business have dealt with OSG for over 4 generations. With their local knowledge, accessibility and continuity of individuals within the firm we have built up an excellent working relationship which we can rely upon.’

‘Oglethorpe, Sturton and Gillibrand (OSG) are highly regarded solicitors who specialise in Rural/Agricultural law and I have enjoyed a relationship with the firm for over eight years. My dealings with the firm have been carried out diligently and professionally.’

‘I have worked mainly with John Myers over the past 10 years or so covering a wide range of areas from agricultural land and property sales to a wide variety of renewable projects. He is a fount of knowledge on the legal issues and his constant caseload is an indication of his popularity and skill in this area.’

‘With regard to Clare Love, it is her professionalism, attention to detail, timeliness in responding to you and I would say the friendship that has grown during the last 12 months whilst she has been dealing with my father’s estate. With regard to John Myers, again it is the professionalism, attention to detail and in particular his willingness to talk to you rather than resort to emails all the time. This leads to a much better understanding of the matter in hand.’

‘John Myers is very knowledgeable and an effective communicator. A real breath of fresh air.’

‘There are no egos at OSG. it does not matter how big or small the job may be the client is treated the same which is so refreshing. the work ethic is tremendous, the partners lead by example.’

‘Down to earth, pragmatic and efficient. Good team players.’

‘The team are extremely experienced with a wide range of knowledge in the sector. They are happy to meet clients on farms and at local shows which I think people respect as they can approach them and retain good relations. They are certainly not a firm who remain in their offices 24/7 and I think the clients really appreciate that. ‘

SAS Daniels LLP

SAS Daniels LLP is routinely instructed by agricultural clients on issues related to rural estates, including tenancies, option agreements and transactions. The team is active in growing areas in this sector, such as the development of agricultural land for renewable energy. The practice is jointly led by Helen Gowin in Congleton and James Goddard in Chester; Gowin specialises in private client work, such as estate administration, while Goddard leads on real estate matters.

Practice head(s):

Helen Gowin; James Goddard

Testimonials

‘SAS has proved to provide a first class service which is highly commendable given the pandemic. They have reacted to restrictions quickly and efficiently whilst still delivering a first class service. ’

‘James Goddard has been one step ahead of our needs.’

‘Proper agricultural specialists which is a rarity these days.’

‘James Goddard has wide ranging technical knowledge and expertise.’

‘I would recommend James Goddard to all my professional clients. ’

‘The team has provided and supplied an all embracing legal service which despite having many legal avenues works cohesively together. Personal engagement is a focus of the team which is more like the traditional client / family solicitor role.’

‘James Goddard is my main contact. He is always accessible on a range of matters and now that he is fully aware of all the issues surrounding my affairs gives clear and concise advice.’

Temple Heelis

Temple Heelis handles a wide range of rural and agricultural matters, including property transactions, succession and tax planning, and issues around land law. The Cumbria-based team counts high-net-worth individuals, charities, trusts and developers amongst its clients. The practice is well-versed in niche areas of rural law, such as fishing rights, drainage agreements, rights of common and boundary disputes. Peter Dodd leads the practice, and is highly experienced in rural land and property transactions. James Hamilton provides tax and succession planning advice to landed families, farmers and business owners, and solicitor Yasmine Blamire is also praised by clients.

Practice head(s):

Peter Dodd

Other key lawyers:

James Hamilton; Laura Priestley; Robert Kornas; Yasmin Blamire

Testimonials

‘Successful and well-regarded team offering specialist and trusted work in this area.’

‘Peter Dodd is always available to speak with and is open to resolving complex issues where many rivals simply hide away and aren’t prepared to discuss a situation. Peter consistently looks in client best interests.’

‘The team assist in a friendly manner and in basic English putting you at ease. Other firms of solicitors I deal with are not always as easy to understand/work with.’

‘The personal approach is key. It’s easy to say but hard to achieve and this firm/team mange this very well. It’s the little things that matter but it starts with knowing what a client needs and then helping them through the legal maze.’

‘An extremely efficient team with excellent communication. They kept me informed through the process.’

‘Peter Dodd gave really good advice from the start. He was extremely thorough, to the extent that he picked up what other solicitors involved with the process had completely missed. He was also good at keeping things level and professional. Peter talked through the legal stuff in plain language comprehensible to a lay person. ’

‘Yasmin Blamire has acted for us for the last few years. She has been exceptional – always responding to enquiries quickly and efficiently. She is happy to deal with ad hoc and difficulty enquiries, often going ‘above and beyond’ to find an effective solution. I have no hesitation in saying that Yasmin Blamire is the most efficient and ‘user friendly’ solicitor that I have ever dealt with.’

‘Yasmin Blamire is an excellent communicator. We work with several solicitors and different practices and she is heads and shoulders above the others for keeping us in formed and getting the work done.’

Work highlights

  • Advised on one of the first UK applications to the National Trust for a new lease extension to be granted following the recent Law Commission recommendations on leasehold reform.
  • Advised on complex commercial lease renewals for lake jetties in the Lake District National Park.
  • Advised on the complex administration of the estate of a deceased farmer where the assets in the estate included a farmhouse, a share in the partnership business, livestock and farmland.