Agriculture and estates in North West

Napthens LLP

Napthens' rural practice comprises five fee earners who dedicate 100% of their time to the sector, handling work relating to farms, land, property and estate planning. The team is complemented by lawyers from the firm's litigation, employment and wills and estate planning teams. Head of rural Andrew Holden, who has strong connections in the agricultural community, specialises in land and agricultural property transactions, while associate James Stocker has recently come to the fore as key contact for a number of established clients.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Holden

Other key lawyers:

James Stocker

Testimonials

‘The team has a good background knowledge of the agriculture industry and give confidence that they understand what you are asking.’

‘The team are also good at explaining things in plain English without complicated legal phrasing so that you are fully aware of the advice that is being given.’

‘The members of the team have been with the practice for a number of years and so build up relationships with their clients – they are willing to fit around your own schedules.’

‘The thing which stands out to me about Napthens is how efficient they are. They always return telephone calls to update you as to where things are up to. They provide straightforward advice to clients and guide them through legal matters which puts clients’ minds at ease.’

‘The individuals within the agriculture team are very knowledgeable – they take time to understand your requirements and to explain the advice they are giving simply an using straightforward language’

‘Andrew Holden is extremely good – we always go to him for advice in the first instance.’

‘Andrew Holden has a depth of knowledge in agricultural legal matters. He is thorough and provides excellent service. He produces work in a timely manner and is always willing to provide advice.’

‘James Stocker has recently excelled on a number of sales – he is thorough and always keeps clients up to date of how things are progressing.’

Aaron & Partners LLP

Aaron & Partners LLP acts for partners and shareholders in farming and other agriculture related businesses on partnership and shareholder disputes, while also advising on the development of agricultural land and the acquisition of land for utility projects. The practice is led by real estate head Simon Ellis, who works alongside planning, energy, environmental and regulatory head David Harries. One of the team's particular areas of expertise is the development of land for mineral exploitation and waste management, as well as renewable energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Simon Ellis

Other key lawyers:

David Harries

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 the proposed extension of water treatment works involving the development of land near Snowdonia National Park.
  • Advised The North of England Zoological Society on the purchase of farmhouse outbuildings and former council land.
  • Advising the John Holford Charity on mineral rights for sand extraction over the charity’s farmland in East Cheshire.
  • Acting for Welsh Water on a large-scale registration project involving voluntary registration of all Welsh Water assets and rights from North Wales to South Wales.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP advises some of the largest and most prestigious landowners in the UK, including a range of major corporates, with the firm's key clients overseeing a combined total of hundreds of thousands of acres of land. The firm also has sub-specialist expertise in areas such as minerals, equine, succession and family trusts. The team is led out Liverpool by agriculture and landed estates head Rupert Jackson, whose top 10 clients have assets in excess of £2bn, alongside the 'immensely practical and reassuring' Charles Hansford, whose clients include the largest landowner in Scotland. Other key members of the team include the 'thorough and meticulous' Helen Ryan and legal director Hannah Carter.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Jackson

Testimonials

‘Hardworking, conscientious and welcoming. The team provides a clear, concise and relevant service. You feel secure and can trust their judgement.’

‘Charles Hansford is fast, effective and importantly approachable throughout his handling of any matter. He has a broad range of experience which makes him a useful go-to contact for any legal query.’

‘Helen Ryan is thorough and meticulous in achieving the objective for the client and her persistence and attention to detail has paid dividends on various projects I have worked on with her.’

‘The team offers approachability, personal attention, availability and professionalism’

‘Great skill, technical ability and very personable’

‘The team at Brabners always find a way to work easily around the various legal matters which arise on our properties and provide, clear, concise advise. You never feel as though they are trying to make a matter more complicated than it needs to be, unlike some solicitors I have dealt with, and they do not lose sight of the overall objective for the client.’

‘Charles Hansford and Helen Ryan are reliable and good to deal with, providing timely professional advice representing good value for money’

‘Charles Hansford has a vast knowledge of commercial, residential, minerals, farming tenancies; he is a leader in his field, proactive and responsive. A calm voice giving balanced advice.’

‘Rupert Jackson is a pragmatic practical lawyer and will get deals done’

‘Rupert Jackson properly understands what makes a private client tick.’

‘Mark Feeney has a brilliant brain and understanding of the nuances of tax planning.’

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

Work highlights

  • Advised a private individual on the lease of a ten-acre site for a solar panel farm to supply a neighbouring industrial single user site with renewable energy, requiring sensitive discussions between the land owner, the developer, the occupier of the development site and the occupier of the industrial site.
  • Advised a private individual on the proposed development of a 38-acre site for a solar panel farm.

Butcher & Barlow LLP

Butcher & Barlow LLP's agricultural team provides a broad range of legal services, working in tandem with property, corporate and litigation colleagues based in the same office. The practice, which has particular expertise in succession planning and the sale of agricultural land for residential development, is headed up by the hugely experienced Mike Bracegirdle, who set up the Gadbrook Park office in 2014, since when it has enjoyed a year-on-year fee revenue increase of 20%.

Practice head(s):

Mike Bracegirdle

Testimonials

‘Excellent to communicate with – if you do not understand anything, they explain; if you have concerns, they sort them out. They get on with the job, so much so you are made to feel like you are their only client, which is what everyone wants.’

‘Breadth of knowledge. Attention to detail. Local. Contactable.’

‘The agricultural team gets to understand you and your farming business. They work closely with other agri professionals in order to help you with a variety of your business needs.’

‘Very proactive in their approach to clients and getting matters satisfactorily completed.’

‘A very knowledgeable, professional & approachable practice. Above all, very efficient in their execution of tasks in comparison to other firms.’

‘The firm is effective in providing clear and helpful legal advice.’

‘The business has a strong reputation within the marketplace which continues to grow given their ability to deliver a cost-effective service.’

‘Specific areas of strength include communication, planning and organising and delivering work ahead of schedule deadlines.’

‘Very professional in dealing with questions – open, honest and always made us feel informed’

‘The team has a vast knowledge of a lot of different areas – they have very experienced solicitors who always pass their full knowledge to younger members of staff in the practice,’

‘Partners have experience and the ability to resolve issues and work to tight deadlines.’

‘Everything Mike Bracegirdle does for us is to the highest standard; done thoroughly but in the quickest time possible – we know he is working 100% for us. He treats you as an individual, not like any other client. He keeps you up to date without you even having to ask, so you know he is always doing his best for you.’

‘It has been a joy to work with Zoe Paton-Crockett on a number of matters. Zoe is knowledgeable and always thorough and thoughtful’

‘Mike Bracegirdle does not wait for things to happen and is not afraid to pick up the telephone to make sure cases are progressed.’

‘Jonathan Aldersley has great attention to detail and makes sure that matters are completed expeditiously.’

‘Mike Bracegirdle’s approachable nature and straightforward attitude have always stood out to me. The efficient manner in which he deals with queries is faultless.’

‘The team is professional and well-prepared, making for an excellent working relationship and for a high standard of service for the client or clients.’

‘John Hyatt and Graham Gigg both provide an extremely high level of service and professionalism.’

‘Mike Bracegirdle always goes the extra mile to get things sorted – he has a vast knowledge of agricultural property and always knows the best ways to deal with matters.’

‘Graham Gigg is a well liked, charismatic individual that clients like to deal with.’

Key clients

Booth Charities

Work highlights

  • Advised on complex negotiation of a farm purchase subject to existing Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy, to be tax efficient to both parties in the transaction.
  • Advised on sale of part of a charged farm in a short timescale to ensure client could qualify for tax relief.
  • Advised on succession planning and farming business structure on an estate valued at over £2m.
  • Advised on full review of land holdings and new business structure of a farming enterprise valued at over £10m.
  • Advised on negotiation of Agricultural Property Relief in a complex farming estate relating to three farms, all in the same ownership and subject to a Farm Business Tenancy.

Myerson Solicitors LLP

Myerson Solicitors LLP's practice comprises lawyers from the firm's family, commercial property, corporate commercial, wills, trusts and probate and construction departments. The agriculture department is led by private client head Amanda Freeman, who acts for rural clients and high net worth individuals across agriculture businesses. Key recent matters for the firm have included disputes over lease renewals, estate administrations, and family disputes involving farmland.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Freeman

Hibberts LLP

Hibberts advises farming and dairy businesses, handling complex succession cases for landlords and tenants, as well as farm sales and purchases. Its specialist skills include transactions involving unregistered title. Dispute resolution head Michael Ward leads the team while also handling the full range of agriculture-related litigation. Other work includes tax planning, tenancies, occupation agreements, easements and mineral issues.

Practice head(s):

Michael Ward

DTM Legal LLP

DTM Legal LLP's practice centres around advice to large landed estates, while the firm also acts for wind farms, gas storage facilities and other infrastructure developers, as well as high net worth individuals, for who it handles estate management and tenancy issues. The practice has secured a number of new clients over the past year, with much of the firm's key work handled by Paul Makison and Stephen Lunt.

Practice head(s):

Anna Duffy

Key clients

E A Reed & Sons (Cheshire)

T W Kinsey (Cheshire)

Kronospan (Chirk)

Stuart Roberts

ADAS (part of RSK Group)

Cheshire Young Farmers

SAS Daniels LLP

SAS Daniels LLP's agricultural team sits within the firm's private client practice, offering a range of legal services for farmers, including land sales, partnerships, renewable energy and tax and succession issues, as well as divorce and litigation matters. The team is led out of Chester by James Goddard, who made partner in late 2018, alongside estate administration and probate head Helen Gowin in Congleton.

Practice head(s):

Helen Gowin; James Goddard