Agriculture and estates in North


At Burnetts the practice frequently provides financial institutions with specialist expertise regarding secured lending on land and agribusiness assets. Other key clients include landowners, along with pension funds and their members. The firm is jointly led by Joanne McKenzie, a specialist in agricultural tenancy matters and the implications of the Agricultural Holdings Act, and Richard Miller, who advises on a wide range of property matters, including sale and purchase of farms, and structuring and strategic planning issues.

Practice head(s):

Richard Miller; Joanne McKenzie


Burnetts are a very forward thinking practice who are proactive with advice rather than reactive – they look at a client’s issues and give sensible, positive advice.

The solicitors, under the very good leadership of Richard Miller, provide specialist knowledge and a speedy response.

Richard Miller has a very can-do approach and unique ability to deliver every time in words which are easily understood, as opposed to using legal jargon.

Key clients

Lloyds Bank PLC

InvestAcc Pension Trustees Limited

The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC

Hopes Auction Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Lloyds Bank with various transactions.
  • Advised an agribusiness client on a £1.65m farm purchase with bank funding from a seller in liquidation.
  • Advised an agribusiness client on a £650,000 farm purchase, which was subject to an Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) Tenancy, and subsequently restructured the business by putting in place a partnership agreement.

Cartmell Shepherd

At Cartmell Shepherd, the team benefits from the presence of lawyers with public sector backgrounds, as well as those with specialist agricultural expertise. The firm takes on both advisory and contentious work, frequently representing clients in contested succession cases. As well as acting on behalf of a number of landed estates, practice head Jonathan Carroll also specialises in assisting with both the creation and dissolution of partnerships. Also notable are Mark Jackson and associate Katherine Pretswell-Walker, who have particular experience advising on the sale and acquisition of farms, estates, forestry, and complex rural residential property.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Carroll


Friendly, knowledgeable and practical, the team are reassuring and inspire confidence.

Jonathan Carroll and Mark Jackson stand out for their expert agricultural knowledge – authoritative and accessible.

Key clients

Persimmon PLC

Carlisle Diocese

Earl of Derby

The Official Solicitor & Public Trustee

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's team is regularly instructed by both local estate owners and national landowning organisations, as well as advising a number of public authorities across the country. The practice, led by Simon Kirkup, offers assistance with the full range of matters relating to agriculture and estates, including considerable experience advising on commercially workable mineral reserves. Also recommended  is managing associate Charlotte Patterson-Ryan, who focuses on rural and commercial sales and acquisitions, advising on landlord and tenant matters, first registrations, and a wide variety of estate management work.

Practice head(s):

Simon Kirkup

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Patterson-Ryan


Longstanding experience of agricultural landlord and tenant matters as well as detailed appreciation of the underlying commercial forces at play.

Simon Kirkup is respected throughout the region for his understanding of rural legal practice as it applies to his client base. He is commercially aware and skilled at seeing a way through a complex legal position.

Charlotte Patterson-Ryan stands out, for me, because she is manifestly passionate about her subject matter and properties. She listens, when given instructions, and thinks around the problem.

The global reach of the business also provided comfort – providing an understanding of the tax implications, the property elements and corporate structures under a single roof.

Simon Kirkup stands out because of his versatility and breadth of knowledge.

Charlotte is an absolute technical professional, but with emotional intelligence and common sense, who makes a point about understanding her clients’ perspectives.

The breadth of their knowledge on so many varied disciplines has always impressed us greatly.

Key clients

National Trust

Grainger PLC

Church Commissioners

English Heritage

Hay & Kilner

Hay & Kilner's team works with landed estates and farmers, and is known particularly for assisting with the sale and purchase of land, drafting overage agreements and pre-emption agreements, and advising on mineral rights and land development. Alison Hall, who heads the practice jointly with Richard Freeman-Wallace, has particular expertise advising on succession to farms, and drafting partnership agreements for farmers. For contentious matters, the key name to note is Lucy Gray, who acts in a wide range of disputes, including contractual disputes, professional negligence, and property claims.

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Gray

Latimer Hinks Solicitors

The team at Latimer Hinks Solicitors assists clients with a wide range of agricultural issues, including leasing of mineral rights, sales and purchases of farms, and renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms. Jointly heading up the practice are estate administration expert Elizabeth Armstrong and Adam Wood, who focuses on assisting with acquisitions and disposals of farms and bare agricultural land and deeds of grant. Also key within the team is Anne Elliott, who is frequently instructed by farm owners to advise on succession and inheritance tax planning.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Armstrong; Adam Wood

Other key lawyers:

Anne Elliott

Sintons LLP

Sintons LLP works with a large number of local farmers, rural businesses, estates, landowners, and investors on a wide range of matters. Through its strong links with land agents, accountants and agricultural banking teams, the practice is able to advise on the acquisition and disposal of large farming ventures, agricultural holdings and significant development projects. Tom Wills leads a team that includes Paul Liddle, a specialist in assisting developers and landowners in the energy, waste and renewables sectors, with a particular focus on coal and wind farms.

Practice head(s):

Tom Wills

Other key lawyers:

Paul Liddle


Tom Wills and his team made every effort to get a gift of land transferred to Historic England.

Associate Saffron Sinclair was very helpful, and I would thank her for her work.


Work highlights

  • Assisted a landowning family with the disposal of two major farms to multiple purchasers for approximately £8m.
  • Assisted the client with the process of gifting a historic fort on Hadrian’s Wall to English Heritage.
  • Advised a landed estate on multiple matters including new partnership agreements, land disposals, tenancy issues and telecom lease issues.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd

With a number of farmers, including commercial property partner Harry Chrisp , in its team,  Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd is able to provide insight into the unique issues facing farmers and landowners. As well as advising on the acquisition and sales of farms and estates, the firm also assists clients with issues relating to manorial and mineral rights.

Other key lawyers:

Harry Chrisp


Traditional values and a focus on the client and service, whilst remaining responsive to the demands of the modern working environment.

The firm demonstrates a thorough understanding of the client and their needs, offering a comprehensive service which is adaptable to changing circumstances in a fast-paced world.

Muckle LLP

Key areas of expertise for the team at Muckle LLP include dealing with historic property ownership issues concerning reserved minerals and manorial rights, and acting for landed estates in their rural portfolio management. On the contentious side, the firm handles agricultural property disputes, and contested tenancy successions. David Towns heads up the team, which also includes associate Elizabeth Earle, known for leading on residential rural property and secured lending work.

Practice head(s):

David Towns

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Earle


Recognised strength in mineral rights; they are recognised specialists in the law in this area.

David Towns is intelligent and approachable, with a wide breath of knowledge and good business judgement.

They respond promptly, deal with instructions effectively and efficiently, and deliver within the timescales set.

We have been impressed by the knowledge and expertise of the estates team that we have used.

David Towns consistently provides intelligent and high quality advice.

Excellent local knowledge.

Key clients

Lonsdale Settled Estates

Persimmon PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising a client, owner of a variety of severed minerals and freehold land interests affecting a proposed new deep coal mine site, on commercial arrangements between the mine operator and the client.
  • Assisted a client with the grant of an option for a new quarrying lease.
  • Advised a client wishing to redevelop and sell a residential property in light of issues with an adjoining owner who sought to enforce a pre-1926 restrictive covenant against new buildings.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine

At Tilly Bailey & Irvine, the team is able to call on expertise from the corporate and commercial department to advise on farming structures and partnerships, while the private client department advises on estate planning and taxation matters. Estate administration specialist Helen Dexter heads up the practice, which also includes property expert Andrew Beattie, and solicitors Jessica Morton and Rhiannon Melrose.

Practice head(s):

Helen Dexter

Ward Hadaway LLP

Understanding the particular needs of private landowners, farmers, rural businesses, and financial organisations is a key strength of the team at Ward Hadaway. The firm also frequently assists land agents with taxation advice. Jointly heading up the practice are transactional expert Alex CoxStefan Bainbridge , who frequently acts for mineral owners in the negotiation of prospecting and option agreements, and the grant of leases; land use and planning adviser Neil Robson; and Andrew Facer, who deals with trust and asset protection issues.  


Ward Hadaway offers a diverse range of professional skills.

Stefan Bainbridge is a highly skilled agricultural solicitor.

Key clients

Northumberland National Park Authority

University of Newcastle

The Banks Group

Woodland Trust

Welbeck Estates

Canal & River Trust

Land Trust