Agriculture and estates in Scotland

Anderson Strathern

The ‘efficient, approachable, and very knowledgeable’ rural land and business team at Anderson Strathern sits at the top end of the market in Scotland, with the National Trust for Scotland and Crown Estate Scotland among its key clients. The firm has considerable experience of managing high-value transactions, notably having advised the Buccleuch Estate on the sale of the Evertown portfolio for well over its £19.5m guide price. Practice head John Mitchell and Adele Nicol advise on agricultural tenancies on behalf of both tenants and landlords, and offer significant transactional experience, while other key team members include Anne Chapman, Fiona Gibb, Sheonagh Richards and Robin Beattie .

Practice head(s):

John Mitchell

Testimonials

‘Offering a complete package of legal and financial advice under one roof. Experts in their field available throughout.’

‘A wealth of knowledge which they are happy to share. The really good trait is that straight answers are generally given to tricky questions, with other solicitors this is not always the case. The team is well informed and up to date with relevant legal matters.’

‘The depth of experience which the team at Anderson Strathern has gathered in working with rural estate clients allows them to seamlessly handle large, complex and high value transactions as well as supporting day to day operational matters and queries. The advice provided by the team is enhanced by experience in the forestry, energy and commercial sectors as well as in the agricultural sphere.’

‘Anderson Strathern is the “go to” firm, as far as I am concerned, for rural property issues. When I am asked for a recommendation it is always Anderson Strathern. The team is efficient; approachable and very knowledgeable in this complex area of law.’

‘John Mitchell provides measured legal advice in a manner which is reassuring to clients and respected when working with other solicitors. His exceptional experience of dealing with agricultural tenancy and rural property matters (and excellent memory!) makes navigating complicated arrangements much easier for clients.’

‘Kate Bond is very capable in dealing with the pressures of transactional work. Kate communicates extremely well with clients and always remains calm in a crisis.’

‘John Mitchell has an outstanding portfolio of clients. I have worked with him for about 30 years and particularly through all the legislative changes made by the Scottish Parliament to rural law which has raised complex issues. I have found him very knowledgeable and easy to get on with.’

‘Robin Beattie is pragmatic, sensible, and knowledgeable. He is always available to assist.’

Key clients

The Buccleuch Estates Limited

Crown Estate Scotland

Roxburghe Estates

The National Trust for Scotland

Dumfries Estate

Penicuik Estate Partnership

Castle Milk and Corrie Estates

Errol Estate

Aberchalder Estate

Carnbroe Estate

Elgin Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Buccleuch as selling solicitors of the Evertown Portfolio, comprising an extensive agricultural and forestry portfolio including equipped farms, productive farmland, commercial forestry and extensive planting opportunities.
  • Engaged with Buccleuch and Registers of Scotland relative to a phased voluntary registration of their Scottish landownership; working with landowners on voluntary registration of land in their ownership extending in area to several hundred square kilometres across the length and breadth of Scotland.
  • Advised Callendar Estate on the sale of agricultural land at Denny for housing development.

Brodies LLP

Known for their ‘can-do attitude and commitment to tight timescales’, the agriculture and estates team at Brodies LLP has particular expertise in negotiating contracts related to complex tenancy arrangements, having acted on behalf of both landlords and tenants. The firm is experienced in advising on high value agricultural land transactions, expertly handling the sale of both portfolios and of entire estates, including those with complexities related to crofting and Udal law. Practice head Clive Phillips is himself the owner of a family farm, while fellow senior partner Odell Milne brings decades of experience to bear. Mike Stephen and Graeme Leith handle forestry mandates, a growing area of activity in Scotland.

Practice head(s):

Clive Phillips

Testimonials

‘The team’s strength lies in the level of expertise, insight, availability and service which then delivers exceptional quality for the client. Brodies are not cheap, but you get top level service from a personable, dedicated and knowledgeable group of professionals. A strong team with an exceptional knowledge of the agricultural and rural market. They work closely with clients and understand the local market very well.’

‘Great sector knowledge and a diverse team if expert involvement is needed.’

‘Brodies manages to combine professionalism and delivery. It has strength in depth across all sectors that my business requires.’

‘The longevity of our relationship is evident with the way we are treated by Brodies, they go out of their way to ensure that we are dealt with quickly and efficiently.’

‘Brodies excels in all aspects of their support in our delivery of major infrastructure schemes. Uniquely, Brodies developed bespoke award winning database software to assist in tracking and notifying landowners.’

‘The agriculture and estates team, led by Odell Milne, has a knowledge of their field second to none and continuously provide first class services in a can do manner with a knowledge of applicable laws of particular strength. A well established practice with access to a wide base of expertise that can be called upon quickly and efficiently.’

‘Alex Buchan stands out given his thorough grasp of the law coupled with its practical application to real life situations – a crucial trait in a complex area. He also possess sound commercial acumen.’

‘Clive Phillips is a senior solicitor yet also a hands-on farmer, allowing practical knowledge and empathy to create a better understanding of client requirements.’

‘Graeme Leith has made a real effort to understand our business and get to know a wide number of staff.’

‘Odell Milne and Scott Logan are extremely friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and approachable. No issue is too great and their can-do attitude and commitment to deadlines – often very demanding – is hugely impressive.’

Key clients

Seafield & Reidhaven Estates

Dunecht Estates

2 Sisters Ltd (owner of 700 poultry farms in the UK).

Farmcare Ltd (part of The Wellcome Trust)

Scottish Woodlands

Marine Harvest/ Cooke Aquaculture

Scottish Land & Estates

Ben Alder Estate

Boralex Europe Sarl

Andrew Graham and Sons

Gladstone Family – Scottish Estates

Innes Estates/Innes Trading Company

Bagger-Sorensen Group

Estate Holdings Pte Limited

Innes Estate/Innes Trading Company Limited

Glen Tanar Estate/Michael Bruce

Savock Biogas Limited

Dallas Estate (Moray)

Valkenhorst Participatie VI BV

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

The team at Gillespie Macandrew LLP, which is led out of Edinburgh by the 'thoughtful and approachable' Robert Scott-Dempster, is continuing to grow, posting its seventh consecutive annual revenue rise in 2018-19. The practice handles the full range of land and rural business matters, advising on complex estate, farm and forestry transactions, as well as renewable energy projects. Key partners include Mike Blair, Alan White and Murray Soutar in Perth, as well as Fraser Leslie in Edinburgh, who has significant experience of onshore renewables projects. White oversees the firm's National Farmers' Union legal helpline, which generates a significant amount of business for the team.

Practice head(s):

Robert Scott-Dempster

Testimonials

‘The breadth of knowledge in the team is impressive, from the partners to the trainees – all instil confidence in the advice and guidance they provide.’

‘A very knowledgeable collection of specialists in the agriculture and estates field, who provide sound, practical advice, and a service tailored to the needs of clients.’

‘Murray Soutar is very personable and always provides timely and reasoned advice. Very knowledgeable in the property sector and in particular transactional and title registration instructions.’

‘Robert Scott-Dempster is thoughtful and detailed advice is always provided, that is robust and not easily challenged.  Very approachable and always willing to assist.’

‘Robert Scott-Dempster is able to provide succinct clear and precise advice in a field which sometimes can be quite murky in order for us to be able to make informed decisions. He is not afraid to say when he thinks our ideas are wrong and clearly explain why.’

‘Fraser Leslie has managed our first registration of our land title which has been an extremely complex operation and one which would not have been possible without his very clear, methodical and detailed management of the process.’

‘Murray Soutar provides good, sold, reasoned advice and an excellent level of service at good value.’

Shepherd and Wedderburn

The rural property and business team at Shepherd and Wedderburn - which is led by Hamish Lean and consultant Peter Misselbrook - aims to distinguish itself from its peers by taking a more business-focused approach, advising major rural clients on company formations and restructurings, as well as more traditional work such as the buying and selling of property. The team benefits from the wider firm's expertise in clean energy. The 'clever and bang up to date' Lean is head of rural property; he works alongside other key partners such as Richard Leslie and Stuart Greenwood.

Practice head(s):

Peter Misselbrook; Hamish Lean

Other key lawyers:

Richard Leslie; Stuart Greenwood

Testimonials

‘Shepherd and Wedderburn’s knowledge and experience in the rural section covering Farming has proven second to none for us. They are so, so, knowledgeable in so many farming/rural areas. Their expertise is nothing other than first class.’

‘Hamish Lean and his team should be warmly rewarded for their service. They are easy to locate at all times without one ever feeling they are being troubled by any queries. Great group to work with.’

‘A very well-known firm with a very experienced team.’

‘As with other sectors of this firm, there is considerable cross over between non-contentious and contentious practitioners. Therefore, there is an impressive blend of technical and strategic expertise.’

‘Hamish Lean is an extremely easy and straightforward gentleman to meet with. Always caring, considerate and very much ready to listen. Thinks things through very, very thoroughly and carefully before responding with a clear-cut response. Extremely knowledgeable, clever and bang up to date. How does he do it? A remarkable brain and encyclopaedia of knowledge and experience. He should be held in very high esteem. One of the best.’

‘Alexandra Smith is an absolute joy to work with. She could be an asset to any working environment. She is exceptional.’

‘Hamish Lean is the standout practitioner at this firm. Hugely knowledgeable, he has been one of the leading practitioners for many years.’

Key clients

The Woodland Trust

Invercauld Estate

Eskdalemuir Forestry Limited

Lothian Estates

Landmark Trust

Clan Donald Lands Trust

Duke of Westminster Trustees

Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

Electricity Supply Nominees (Forestry) Limited

Sutherland Estates

Agricultural Law Association

Work highlights

  • Advised on the re-negotiation of an option agreement over farmland belonging to a client, releasing a payment of £5.3m.
  • Advised on the re-organisation of a large Highland estate involving numerous property and agricultural tenancy aspects.
  • Acted for a large estate in Sutherland in a deal to create two option agreements for South Kilbraur wind farm, agreeing the terms of the deal, including separate documents for mineral extraction, exercising sporting rights and a tripartite agreement with crofters.

Turcan Connell

Turcan Connell has a large team of dedicated land and property lawyers; the practice includes a a specialist Land Registration Unit, which deals exclusively with applications for voluntary registration, with a focus on the rural sector. The team has recently seen an increase in work deriving from foreign investment into Scotland, while other areas of focus include renewable energy, forestry and land development options and promotion agreements. Practice head Jon Robertson is currently the sole Scottish lawyer on the UK Council of the Agricultural Law Association; he works in tandem with a strong bench of partners including Grierson Dunlop and Louise Johnston.

Practice head(s):

Jon Robertson

Testimonials

‘Knowledgeable, helpful and very efficient.’

‘They can work to extremely tight deadlines whilst still maintaining the care and attention to detail our industry requires.’

‘Strong team throughout with good personal skills.’

‘Grierson Dunlop, along with an exceptional team, gives us first class service.’

‘Grierson Dunlop has constantly provided clear, strong advice – he clearly identifies the nub of the issue.’

Key clients

RSPB

Children’s Hospice Association Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Children’s Hospice Association Scotland in relation to a substantial gift of heritable property and other assets from a supportive donor to this high-profile charity, running Scotland’s only children specific hospices.
  • Advised Entrepreneurs in Ayrshire on the property aspects of the sale of a company holding lease interests in a portfolio of wind energy developments to a Jersey buyer.
  • Advised a Swiss based ultra HNW individual on the purchase of a rural Scottish estate for over £3.5m and the purchase of associated carbon credits for over £1m with a view to rewilding.

Blackadders LLP

At Blackadders LLP, Petra Grunenberg heads the team, which is spread across Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen. The practice handles a wide range of work including land purchases and sales, renewable projects, agricultural tenancies, partnership issues and forestry sales, as well as banking matters. Ellen Eunson, who made partner in 2018, focuses on work in the Aberdeen region and further north, while well-regarded associate Hazel Anderson supports Grunenberg in Dundee.

Practice head(s):

Petra Grunenberg

Other key lawyers:

Ellen Eunson; Hazel Anderson

Testimonials

‘The team at Blackadders work collaboratively across a range of disciplines to provide clear, well informed advice to clients.’

‘The practice has put together a young team with strong industry experience keen to develop their business and reputation in the sector.’

‘The team always provides an excellent service. They have a wealth of agricultural and legal knowledge within the team, they are always on hand to support, and are personable as well as professional to the highest standard. I would happily recommend Blackadders to anyone, they represent excellent value for money without any compromise.’

‘They demonstrate a strong presence in the agricultural industry. The team is very settled, with minimal change in staff. The team specialises in agriculture and estates business as opposed to trying to deal in all industries.’

‘Very friendly team, easy to talk to and explanations are simple and easy to understand.’

‘Fees are very competitive and lower than many city-based firms which clients appreciate.’

‘Blackadders are experts in the agricultural industry, something that the farming community very much appreciate in their legal advisers. They have a depth of knowledge and approachable staff.’

‘Ellen Eunson has a breadth of experience and is excellent at communicating sometimes difficult legal concepts or processes to clients in clear, straightforward terms. Petra Grunenberg has established a very strong reputation in the agricultural sector. Together with Hazel Anderson they have a broad knowledge of the sector and are efficient in delivering the services provided.’

‘The team appreciates the agricultural sector is built around family businesses and while proactive in addressing matters such as succession planning. they have a clear understanding of the family dynamics surrounding this.’

Petra Grunenberg is extremely knowledgeable in her field, you can always rely on Petra’s advice and candour, Petra heads up a great team of solicitors.’

‘Hazel Anderson is organised and efficient but also very personable and can put one at ease in a stressful situation, has practical as well as professional knowledge of the agricultural sector, always delivers.’

‘Hazel Anderson offers me very clear and concise advice and has led me through the sale of my farm and subsequent buying of another house with huge confidence. She has been very thorough and patient in dealing with some very complicated issues in both the sale of farm and purchase of house. Hazel is very easy to communicate with and always available to give any advice when required.’

‘Hazel Anderson is exceptionally hardworking and diligent in dealing with matters. She is practical and experienced in rural and agricultural matters which serves farming clients well. I would be happy to recommend Hazel to other farming and land owning clients.’ 

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP recently completed the acquisition of Wink & Mackenzie, expanding its presence into Elgin, the firm's sixth office. The rural team has a notable relationship with Forestry and Land Scotland, which it has advised since 2008. Team head Graeme Nisbet leads on that relationship, as well as with a number of other key clients, such as Scottish Natural Heritage. He works alongside Calum Macleod, who has significant expertise in crofting law, particularly in relation to renewable energy developments

Practice head(s):

Graeme Nisbet

Testimonials

‘I found the practice very helpful and prompt and customer orientated.’

‘The team treat you as an individual and have a team of different resources on hand to deal with any other needs.’

‘All members of the team are very approachable and personable, which allows friendly relationships to be developed, which in turn makes conversations easier when looking to resolve issues.’

‘A lot of agriculture experts are small firms. The unique selling point of this team is they are able to combine specialist knowledge with big-firm resources. This makes them appropriate for truly large and significant litigation in this area.’

‘The team deliver a high quality, attentive service and provide excellent value for money.’

‘Graeme Nisbet is quick to respond as well as considered in his advice.’

‘Graeme Nisbet is very approachable and practical.’

Key clients

Forestry and Land Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage

The Office of Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer

Accountant in Bankruptcy

Historic Environment Scotland

Craignathro Farms Limited

Kincardine Castle Estate

The Firm of Home Farms

Woodland Creation UK Limited

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Registers of Scotland

Moray Council

Highland Council

Water Industry Commission for Scotland

Scottish Government

Work highlights

  • Completed the £8million sale of parts of South Shields and Benthall Farms near East Kilbride to a national house builder.
  • Advised Forsa Energy and successfully obtained s.19A consent in the Scottish Land Court for development of the £50m Druim Leathann Windfarm development on crofting common grazings in the Western Isles.
  • Acted for the Forestry and Land Scotland in the acquisition of 686 hectares of land at Ponesk and Spireslack consisting of various former surface mines to enable carbon sequestration through tree planting.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP

The practice at Ledingham Chalmers LLP handles farming business restructurings, agricultural tenancy matters, farm and estate sales, while also acting for lenders on high-value security transactions. Key members of the team include Hazel Moir, who has decades of transactional experience; Linda Tinson, who draws on her experience as a partner in a farming business; and Jim Drysdale, a Law Society accredited specialist in agricultural law.

Practice head(s):

Hazel Moir; Linda Tinson

Other key lawyers:

Jim Drysdale

Testimonials

‘Extremely knowledgeable team with a friendly and professional approach.’

‘A very strong team of agricultural law specialists with in-depth knowledge and bags of experience.’

‘Friendly and approachable. Strength in depth so it is always possible to get advice when needed.’

‘Expanding rural team with a good mix of youthful energy and more experienced practitioners. Good core of fundamental rural solicitors familiar with rural legal issues rather than more general practitioners who can be unfamiliar with the uniqueness of rural clients and their issues in some other firms.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable, passionate and care about the agriculture sector and their clients.’

‘Hazel Moir is approachable and efficient and ably assisted by Catherine Bury and Lois Craig.’

‘Hazel Moir and associate Lois Craig are both friendly and approachable working well as a team.’

‘Linda Tinson has a natural understanding of our interests and is adept at bringing perspectives that often emotions can obfuscate. She is engaged and empathetic; she is good at proactively identifying support we might need and facilitating any connections.’

‘Very passionate, responsive and caring about clients.’

Lindsays

The practice at Lindsays stands out for its expertise in feudal dignities and Heraldic law - team head Michael Yellowlees is described as 'uniquely qualified' to advise on such matters, and the team's client roster includes an impressive array of dignitaries from across the country. Yellowlees is supported by Susan Law, who recently moved over from the firm's commercial property team to focus on rural matters; she has recently handled work for Scottish Water. Other work of note has included demergers of farming partnerships and significant sales and purchases of farms and estates.

Practice head(s):

Michael Yellowlees

Other key lawyers:

Susan Law

Testimonials

‘We have a very longstanding relationship with Lindsays. This continues to work well as we have clear and open lines of communications at all times. With a longer-term relationship, there can be positives and well as potential negatives. In our relationship, due to the way we communicate and both sides feel able to speak openly and candidly, we have ensured that only the positive elements of the relationship thrive.’

‘Excellent quality partners provide a “white shoe” corporate level of service to individuals. Exceptional expertise in the area.’

‘Michael Yellowlees and Susan Law have together been a very straightforward team to work with. Advice is clear and given the very wide range of topics required to be covered by the range of our business, they have always had someone with the skills required to address the matters in hand.’

‘Michael Yellowlees is an outstanding lawyer who is uniquely qualified to represent clients in the sale and purchase of Scottish feudal titles. He is impressively intellectual and has a Ph.D. in history which positions him well to understand his client’s non-economic motivations concerning purchases of feudal titles and dealings on heraldic matters.’

‘Exceptional expertise in the area, very responsive. Michael Yellowlees particularly exemplifies these qualities and is a pleasure to work with on an interpersonal level.’

Key clients

His Grace, Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell, Argyll Estates

William Astor, 4th Viscount Astor, Tarbert Estate

Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Lord of Lochaber, Chief of the Clan Cameron, Achnacarry and Lochiel Estates

British Wool Marketing Board

Alex Howard, 5th Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, Colonsay Estate

Robin Maclean of Ardgour, 18th Laird and Chief of Clan Maclean, Ardgour Estate

The Christie Family, Lochdochart Estate, Crianlarich, Perthshire

Fothringham Estate Company Limited, Fothringham Estate

Thomas Steuart Fothringham, Baron Murthly, Murthly and Strathbraan Estates

CWL Energy Limited

Scottish Water

The Pairc Trust, Pairc Estate, Isle of Lewis

Lord Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, Chief of Clan Macdonald

Work highlights

  • Advised windfarm developer CWL Energy Limited in relation to 45 turbine development in the Scottish Borders.
  • Dealing with agricultural succession planning for retiring high net worth individual.
  • Purchase of a large landed estate in Perthshire on behalf of a significant London-based client.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser advises on the full spectrum of rural matters, working with an impressive roster of clients on issues relating to renewable energy developments, farm and estate sales and land registration of large estates. The well-regarded Linsey Barclay-Smith (described as 'a breath of fresh air') is an accredited specialist and works with many of the team's key clients.

Testimonials

‘Great communicators of technical issues and went the extra mile to ensure situations were thoroughly covered.’

‘The team worked tirelessly through complex issues with multiple agencies on our behalf. Information sharing was excellent throughout.’

‘Linsey Barclay-Smith handled the sale of our family home and business and has also advised us on related matters. Also to be praised are her very swift responses to communications. I personally found working with Linsey a breath of fresh air: we had great communication and I had complete trust in her ability to look after our interests and see us through a tricky process and, thanks to her, a successful conclusion.’

‘Linsey Barclay-Smith is a very “client friendly” partner to work with and you know that in the unlikely event you cannot contact her, Matthew Barclay who works with her will be able to keep things moving with a detailed knowledge of your case. Linsey is able to handle difficult solicitors on the other side in a firm and professional manner and will do her best to cut through any waffle and nonsense that comes her way.’

Key clients

BTO Solicitors LLP

Dorothy Fleming

Forth Resource Management Limited

Lesley and Dario Negri

Orkney Islands Council

Scottish Mines Restoration Trust Limited

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Stenton Estate

The Scottish Ministers

Volunteer Development East Lothian

Work highlights

  • Advised Stenton Estate on the preparation for and subsequent £6m+ sale of a mixed landed estate in various lots over an extended time scale.
  • Advised The Scottish Ministers on renewable developments, sale of land to crofting community body and voluntary registration of titles.
  • Acting for Scottish Mines Restoration Trust Limited in a number of matters concerning the remediation of former open cast coal mines.

Thorntons Law LLP

Thorntons Law LLP prides itself on providing a 'big firm' service at more cost-effective prices than its Central Belt competitors. The team, which operates across four offices in Cupar, Edinburgh, Forfar and Perth, is led by the well-regarded Kenneth Mackay. He works alongside Christopher Lindley, who heads up the firm's group dealing with agricultural security work. Lesley Mearns is another key member of the team. The practice's major recent work has included advising on farm purchases, property sales and agricultural tenancies.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Mackay

Testimonials

‘Very helpful and knowledgeable about specific landed estate/trust issues. We had an unusual situation and the firm was able to advise of what action we could take to obtain the desired outcome.

‘We found it very refreshing that Chris Lindley took the time to visit us at the farm and introduce himself personally and get a feel of the place and our history there. Through the whole process either himself or his colleague Zoe Irving answered our queries promptly and clearly, and this was very reassuring for us. They also liaised with our accountant and our land agent on our behalf and we were delighted with their service.’

‘Robin Dunlop is very approachable and he has great knowledge of the farming sector.’

‘Kenneth Mackay is always available to chat over various different scenarios and explain the pros and cons of each action – this way, I felt, we were able to fully assess all options and decide on the best course of action.’

‘I cannot speak highly enough of Kenneth Mackay. He was readily available.  His communication with us was always excellent.’

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's agricultural offering is focused on property - the key lawyers are Peter Smith and director Colin Brown, both of who have many years of experience advising on transactions, regularly working with clients operating in the agricultural and rural sector. Recent work of note has included advising on significant sales of estates and farmland, while rural clients can also draw on the wider firm's significant capabilities across a range of other practice areas.

Practice head(s):

Peter Smith; Colin Brown

Key clients

Farmcare Trading Limited

Blackford Farms Limited

The Forbes Estate

The firm of W & D Dunnett

Greenshields Estates Limited

Balnacoil Farming Limited

Mark Ogg (Arnhall)

C & E Ingram

Ballathie Estate Limited

The Grandhome Trust

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

The rural business team at Davidson Chalmers Stewart has a focus on the regulatory issues related to farm and estate diversification; the practice also works with investors and funders, and advises on renewable energy projects. The team features the 'impressive double act' of team head Andy Drane and director of rural business Louise Jones. Recent work of note has included acting for a group of tenant farmers in a high-profile judicial review relating to the introduction of legislation affecting property rights in farming partnerships, a case which has been the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):

Andy Drane

Other key lawyers:

Louise Jones

Testimonials

‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart provide a comprehensive agriculture and estates service, truly working together as a team to maintain momentum and keep pressure on other legal firms who may not be as responsive.’

‘Davidson Chalmers Stewart provide a legal service which feels as though one is working with friends. They listen to requirements and, after discussion, will implement the instructions of the client. My opinion is that too many legal practices feel the need to complicate transactions – Davidson Chalmers Stewart will get it done.’

‘The team at Davidson Chalmers is relatively small but this works in the client’s favour as the attention to detail and personal approach is very powerful. You feel “known” to your legal advisers and valued accordingly. High knowledge and experts in their fields.’ 

‘Andy Drane and Louise Jones are an impressive double act, each fully briefed on each other’s workload and hence able to seamlessly step in when one is not available. Advice is concise, clear and readily given, even following short notice instructions.’

‘Louise Jones and Andy Drane are attentive and focused in regard to the work we have been undertaking and their calm and concentrated approach is really helpful when the pressure is on.’

Key clients

John P Gray & Son

Rodger Brothers Partnership

RT Overseas Settlement

Balbie Farm Partnership

Brewster Bros Limited

Wallets Marts PLC

Dunrobin Highland Distillery Limited

Tartan Leisure Limited

Borderlink Broadband Limited

Story Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a group of farmers in a test case against the Scottish Government relating to its implementation of Agricultural Holdings Legislation. In 2019 the case reached the Supreme Court.
  • Advised the Brewster Brothers partnership, a large estate client with an estate in central Scotland, on the risks involved with a disused quarry on the estate including environmental liabilities and providing commercial support in connection with its future development for leisure uses.
  • Advised Highlands of Scotland Sporting Estates Partnership, a Jersey-based trust, on the acquisition of a substantial grouse moor in the north of Scotland.

Murray Beith Murray

The team at Murray Beith Murray is led by Andrew Linehan, who joined from Lindsays in late 2019; clients say his arrival has helped to 'reinvigorate the level of service provided' by the practice. He has a particular focus on the tax implications of rural instructions, and works closely with the wider firm's private client team on such matters. The practice also includes senior partner Hugh Younger, who is well-regarded for his understanding of the issues affecting rural and farming clients.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Linehan

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Younger

Testimonials

‘The team gives clear, well reasoned advice. The firm has a wealth of experience when dealing with private client affairs such as wills, estates and inheritance planning. They have a very good knowledge of estates and agricultural land ownership and the issues surrounding these areas.’

‘The team is accessible, knowledgeable and have a track record of giving solid, practical advice.’

‘Very experienced team with loyal and longstanding client base – majority of work handled by senior staff not juniors who work part-time – therefore provide a better more responsive service for their client base.’

‘Andrew Linehan has joined MBM and has reinvigorated the level of service provided.’

‘Andrew Linehan has given considered and clear advice on complicated legal matters, enabling us to advise our clients accordingly.’

‘Hugh Younger who has many years’ first-hand knowledge of all rural issues including inheritance tax planning,estate management, fishery management and land ownership. He comes from a farming background and understands all rural issues thereby enabling him to give good quality advice and understand the sector and the issues that it will face in the future. He has a loyal and experienced team of associates who provide excellent advice and service.’

‘Hugh Younger is well connected with a broad and longstanding client base who value his counsel.’

Key clients

Mansfield Estates (8th Earl of Mansfield and family trusts)

Work highlights

  • Advised on the £6m+ sale of a section of the Mansfield Estates as part of a strategic rebalancing of their land portfolio. The land in question covered over 5,000 acres, and was sold in three lots.
  • Advising a range of landlords and tenants on the amnesty on tenants’ improvements for let farms.