Agriculture and estates in Scotland

Anderson Strathern

Retained by an extensive and stellar roster of major estate owners and high-net-worth private individuals, Anderson Strathern's team has a strong focus on high-end rural transactions. In recent times, the group has earned a reputation for representing large landowners in alternative and renewable energy projects, chief among them wind farms, hydropower, solar, anaerobic digestion and biomass projects. A strong suit of department lead John Mitchell's personal practice is high-value estates mandates, which often hinge upon diversification issues. Accredited agricultural law specialist Adele Nicol, meanwhile, primarily deals with agricultural and residential tenancies. Crown Estate Scotland lead partner Anne Chapman, renewables expert Sheonagh Richards and Fiona Gibb are other key names to note. In April 2021, the team was boosted by the hire of Linsey Barclay-Smith, who previously led the agricultural and rural property team at Morton Fraser.

Practice head(s):

John Mitchell

Other key lawyers:

Adèle Nicol; Anne Chapman; Sheonagh Richards; Robin Beattie; Fiona Gibb; Linsey Barclay-Smith 

Testimonials

‘A robust practice with breadth and strength in depth. Contains some very sound professionals with an understated approach.’

‘Robin Beattie is robustly commercial but pragmatic, very ‘on it’ and confident in his abilities. Fiona Gibb is industrious, deeply professional and unflappable.’

‘Anderson Strathern are very approachable and have a very wide and deep knowledge of the industry.’

‘The Rural Land and Business team at Anderson Strathern are accustomed to working with rural landowners and their experience allows them to confidently handle large, complex and high value transactions as well as providing day to day support.’

‘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.

‘Adele Nicol provides quiet but determined professional support, being well capable of dealing with the unfortunate and increasingly commonplace fashion for grandstanding and aggressive opponents.’

‘The team brings great experience, knowledge, pragmatism, and understanding of us as a client.’

‘Robin Beattie, in particular, has a thorough knowledge of our needs as a client and is knowledgeable, reliable and pragmatic in all of his advice.’

Key clients

The Buccleuch Estates Limited

Crown Estate Scotland

Roxburghe Estates

The National Trust for Scotland

Dumfries Estate

Littlewood Estate

Castle Milk and Corrie Estates

Errol Estate

Aberchalder Estate

Carnbroe Estate

Elgin Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Buccleuch on sales of land to to two community bodies – Newcastleton and District Community Trust and The Langholm Initiative – both of which are among the largest sales to community bodies in southern Scotland following introduction of land reform legislation.
  • Acted for Blythswood Trusts in the sale of part of the historic Douglas Support Estate, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire to the Viewpark Conservation Group, a SCIO with support from the Scottish Land Fund, seeking to secure this green space for the local community.
  • Acting for Crown Estate Scotland in the purchase of their first major development site since being formed in 2017, leading the client through the purchase process from examining title to liaising with them on the collateral warranties to be transferred to them.

Brodies LLP

The ‘excellent rural team' at Brodies LLP represents a large client base of rural landed estates, farming and rural businesses, lenders, funders, developers and public sector organisations across Scotland. The practice also advises on a mixture of estate acquisitions and sales, commercial rural estates, forestry issues, and land registration. Celebrated for his ‘very detailed knowledge and understanding of rural property and agricultural issues’, practice head Clive Phillips heads up the group, which features a number of agriculture-savvy solicitors. Odell Milne, for her part, has a special emphasis on compulsory purchase, utilities and Udal Law issues, while Alex Buchan principally focuses on agricultural tenancies, sporting rights, renewable developments and minerals extraction. Forestry expert Graeme Leith and Kate McLeish, who was promoted to partner in 2020, are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Clive Phillips

Other key lawyers:

Odell Milne; Alex Buchan; Graeme Leith; Kate McLeish; Karren Smith; Lynne Murray; Andrew Askew Blain; Ryan Bowie; Scott Logan

Testimonials

‘A personal and high-quality service with the customer at the heart of everything.’

‘Excellent rural team that has a fantastic knowledge of the sector. They are able to articulate the legal aspects of a transaction and what that means from a practical operating point of view. I find them diligent in making sure all aspects of a proposal is considered and they highlight the key concerns.’

‘Clive Phillips has an excellent knowledge of the rural sector. He fully understands the day to day challenges and how this is impacted by legal changes. This operating knowledge is a unique attribute and one valued by clients. ’

‘The rural teams strength is the commercial approach to rural land ownership. In particular is the strong planning and development specialists within the rural team.’

‘The key strength and capability is an unparalleled knowledge of the law associated with this practice coupled with a pragmatic attitude and approachable staff. ’

‘I would highlight two individuals: Odell Milne and Scott Logan. No problem is too big for them or timescale too short. They have an excellent can do attitude and the advice provided is always concise and accurate. Our team works with their team as one.’

‘Clive Phillips has very detailed knowledge and understanding of rural property and agricultural issues; which is put into practice with pragmatic and sensible advice and supported by his team with appropriate submissions and submissions.

‘Clive Phillips has very detailed knowledge and understanding of rural property and agricultural issues; which is put into practice with pragmatic and sensible advice and supported by his team with appropriate submissions and submissions.

Key clients

Gladstone Family

Innes Estates/Innes Trading Company Limited

Bagger-Sorensen Group

Estate Holdings Pte Limited

Glen Tanar Estate/Michael Bruce

Andrew Booth/Savock Farms

Dallas Estate (Moray)

Cooke Aquaculture

Ben Alder Estate

Friends of Ensie SCIO

Seafield & Reidhaven Estates

Dunecht Estates

2 Sisters Ltd

Co-op

Scottish Woodlands

Marine Harvest/ Cooke Aquaculture

Scottish Land & Estates

Ben Alder Estate

Boralex Europe Sarl

Andrew Graham and Sons

Work highlights

  • Advising a significant number of landowners affected by A9 dualling project, including providing advice on CPO and other statutory powers, and the negotiation of accommodation works and undertakings.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Robert Scott-Dempster's team at Gillespie Macandrew LLP displays extensive capabilities across the rural and agricultural space, most visibly in its handling of high-value estate, farm and forestry transactions, its provision of agricultural holdings law and crofting law advice, and its acting in high-value renewable energy projects. Other key practitioners include accredited agricultural law specialist Mike Blair, who is regularly instructed in forestry, tax and succession, and environmental issues, as well as Alan White, whose stewardship of the National Farmers’ Union Legal Helpline generates a steady stream of instructions for the group. Additionally, Murray Souter has expertise in sporting properties and salmon fishing right issues and Fraser Leslie shines in onshore renewable projects.

Practice head(s):

Robert Scott-Dempster

Other key lawyers:

Mike Blair; Alan White; Murray Soutar; Fraser Leslie

Testimonials

‘I feel that that the team itself gels very well together and they have all of their own individual strengths which collectively means that the sum of their parts is much greater than the individual’

‘Very knowledgeable in the subject they are dealing with, and a very good attention to detail in making sure that everything’

‘They are approachable and have some key experts in the team. Both in terms of rural property conveyancing and agricultural landlord and tenant. ’

‘I have worked with Mike Blair for many years and he is a recognised leader in the field of agricultural landlord and tenant and rural law. Mike is backed up by an excellent team.’

‘Gillespie Macandrew provide a strong comprehensive service across the board for private rural estate clients.’

‘All the partners we deal with are knowledgeable, effective in their specific areas of expertise and good people to deal with.’

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Geared towards the operations of large landowners and farmers, Shepherd and Wedderburn's rural property and business department excels in company formations, restructurings and succession planning, as well as advising on the buying and selling of rural properties. In addition, the group, which is headed up by Hamish Lean, offers expert advice to renewable energy developers, in turn aiding landowner clients with clean energy diversification strategies. Richard Leslie and Stuart Greenwood are key members of the team, which has a number of agriculture experts below partner level. In recent times, senior associate Emma Robertson, in particular, has routinely handled large forestry-related purchases and sales.

Practice head(s):

Hamish Lean

Other key lawyers:

Richard Leslie; Stuart Greenwood; Emma Robertson; Alexandra Smith

Testimonials

‘I was impressed by Emma Robertson’s work ethic. We were involved in a tricky deal which went on for a while, but just before the deal was to be signed, we noticed a snag, Emma worked hard to resolve the issue, which we achieved.’

‘The team conducted a protracted legal case on my behalf in a most efficient, sensitive and friendly manner resulting in a fair and just outcome for all concerned.

‘The practices uniqueness and strength is being headed up by Hamish Lean, who is a industry-recognised and respected specialist in his field, who is supported by a team with a depth of knowledge in rural affairs.’

‘Alex Smith has been very easy to work with and is always happy to explain something further when necessary. She is very good at picking up on things that I probably have missed and is very professional while being easy to get along with.’

‘Hamish Lean has handled our case to a wonderful result, one which we hoped for but one I am sure we would not have obtained without his diligence.’ 

‘Emma Robertson deserves particular recognition. The manner in which she accomplished this work is, without doubt, the best execution of a brief that I have experienced. An approachable, engaging, highly efficient, and clear-thinking person who managed the various parties effectively with excellent communication skills.’

‘Richard Leslie managed to unravel a complicated three-way lease in a timely and effective manner meeting our deadline in the process and without it costing a fortune.

‘Hamish Lean really is the go to lawyer for agricultural law. He provides clear advice, and is able to see a problem solved rather than maintain a legal dispute.’

Work highlights

  • Advising the Scottish Government on the simplification of rural funding schemes.
  • Acting for national charity The Landmark Trust in securing and triggering an option agreement over Fairburn Tower, near Beauly Inverness-shire.
  • Acting jointly for Wallace Land and George Hutchison, an East Renfrewshire farmer, in a multi-million pound deal to sell farmland at Barrhead to a national house builder.

Harper Macleod LLP

The rural economy team at Harper Macleod LLP handles a range of crofting, farming and land registration matters, but has also recently seen an uptick in community ownership and forestry-related transactions. The firm has acted for Forestry and Land Scotland for many years, but also continues to build its private forestry client base. The department is led by Graeme Nisbet, whose personal practice revolves around purchases, sales and general estate management issues, diversification strategies, agricultural tenancies, biomass plants, and sale and option agreements. Also adept in this space is Calum MacLeod, a crofting law expert with a reputation for handling renewable energy developments.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Nisbet

Other key lawyers:

Calum Macleod; Lynne Stevenson; Tom Gray

Testimonials

‘The firm’s geographical spread, including a presence in the North of Scotland, means that this firm is both local and national. This provides them with a unique ability to deal with the sensitivities and difficulties involved in agricultural estates issues. They have particular experience in handling large and complex agricultural disputes.’

‘A very professional attitude with exceptional knowledge of specific sectors, in my case, agricultural law.’

‘We have been very impressed with this law firm, specifically Tom Gray, who has performed beyond our expectations in negotiating on our behalf with a national company with massive resources at their disposal.’

‘Harper Macleod have an excellent multi-disciplinary team who work well together to deliver results for clients.’

‘Tom Gray has been extremely helpful with a recent complex commercial deal. He has provided excellent advice in an extremely pressured situation.’

‘Tom Gray was very professional throughout the full process from start to finish, in every way possible. Nothing was too much bother for Tom. He made himself available at all times, even out of hours I ever had any trouble contacting him.’

Key clients

Forestry and Land Scotland

NatureScot

Blackwood Community SCIO

Craignathro Farms limited

The Partnership of Tambowie Farm

Moll Estate

Tomkrasky Estate

HSBC Bank UK plc

Broadford and Strath Community Company

The Langholm Initiative

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of the Langholm Initiative in the community buyout of over 2,000 hectares of the Tarras Valley from Buccleuch Estate, with the creation of a nature reserve at the heart of its plans.
  • Acted for Forestry and Land Scotland in the acquisition of 200 hectares of land of former open cast coal mine at Damside, Shotts to restore to productive woodland.
  • Acted in the sale of over 200 hectares of commercial forest block at Camps Forest, Biggar on behalf of a private individual.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP

Praised for its 'practical, pragmatic and personable approach', Ledingham Chalmers LLP assists clients across the length and breadth of Scotland with a variety of agriculture and estate mandates. Group co-head Hazel Moir shines in property purchases and sales, while fellow group lead Linda Tinson focuses on succession planning, diversification, family business and structure, agricultural holdings and general tenancy matters. Meanwhile, the practice of Jim Drysdale, an accredited agricultural law specialist, revolves around complex crofting and environmental law issues. In April 2020, Gary Webster joined as a partner from Macleod & MacCallum.

Practice head(s):

Hazel Moir; Linda Tinson; Gary Webster

Other key lawyers:

Jim Drysdale; Emily Horne

Testimonials

‘Very approachable team and with extensive legal and commercial knowledge. They always contactable and were determined to get the best result for me.’

‘A small team with unique rural law specialisms which were invaluable in the understanding of the work they carried out for me.’

‘I find all of the team exceptional to deal with. Their practical, pragmatic and personable approach is excellent and their knowledge and ability to ‘get things done’ is fantastic.’

‘Jim Drysdale’s technical knowledge within the agricultural sector is exceptional – for me, he is the ‘go to’ person for legal technicalities, especially with regards to leases.’

‘An expanding team with both experience and diversity of approaches. Has a positive approach to conflict resolution when required, notably in agricultural landlord/tenant work.’

‘Efficient, prompt and friendly service. It was easy to get advice, even during these difficult times.’

‘The team’s strengths are a combination of its members having considerable experience and knowledge, combined with a realistic and practical approach.’

‘Linda Tinson and Jim Drysdale both have very good legal knowledge and a good grasp of the how their clients live and work. They have excellent communication skills and can explain matters to clients clearly so that the client understands what is being said.’

Lindsays

Assisting a wide-ranging client roster, Lindsays concentrates its efforts on rural property matters, handling mandates related to large landed estates, the acquisition and sale of agricultural land, and agricultural tenancy and farming transactions. Viewed by some as ‘Scotland’s top practitioner in Barony purchases and sales’, practice head Michael Yellowlees also distinguishes the group by dint of his niche expertise in feudal dignities, Heraldic law and Clan law. Elsewhere in the group, Susan Law has a focus on renewable energy projects for both landowner and developer clients, especially onshore windfarms, while associate Tim Macdonald advises on agricultural tenancies and partnership issues.

Practice head(s):

Michael Yellowlees

Other key lawyers:

Susan Law; Tim Macdonald

Testimonials

‘The team has strong agricultural estates knowledge and insight and has been invaluable to us in handling the legal affairs of a small rural estate.’

‘Their strength in this area of the law, their responsiveness and their collaborative approach are much appreciated. ’

‘The Rural and Agriculture team at Lindsays are all strong technically, covering a wide range of issues. What sets them apart from some other firms is that they are all just really nice, normal people who are able to engage with their clients in a professional but personable manner, giving the client confidence that they are in good hands.’

‘Susan Law is very approachable and easy to talk to. She is always available when needed which is refreshing at partner level. She is committed to her clients and takes a pragmatic approach to solving legal problems.’

‘Lindsays advise us on complex historical legal matters and their expertise has resulted in significant added value being derived from their research on our behalf. Their knowledge of property records in Scotland has been combined with a commercial ability to great effect and this could not have been achieved without their wide range of experience. ’

‘Our main point of contact is Michael Yellowlees, who is always available to assist us and ensure that the optimum outcome is delivered for each case. He utilises many years of valuable experience to the benefit of clients like ourselves, aligned with a commercial approach that delivers beneficial financial results. ’

‘Michael Yellowlees is the gold standard in the market for Scottish Baronies and representation before the Court of the Lord Lyon. In addition to being especially well connected, his background as a historian positions him well beyond the competition. He s also extremely responsive and is willing to take the time to explain complicated aspects of Scottish property law.’

‘Mike Yellowlees is Scotland’s top practitioner in Barony purchases and sales. ’

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

Lt Colonel Titus Brown, retired US Army

Fothringham Estate Company Limited – Fothringham Estate

Thomas Steuart Fothringham, Baron of Murthly – Murthly and Strathbraan Estates

CWL Energy Limited/Community Windpower Limited

Scottish Water

The Pairc Trust – Pairc Estate, Isle of Lewis

Lord Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, Chief of Clan Macdonald

R Whiteford & Son/Robin Whiteford – farmer and entrepreneur

Work highlights

  • Assisted Aikengall IIA Community Wind Company Limited with the completion of three leases for the extension of the Aikengall Windfarm in East Lothian.
  • Assisted Argyll Estates with the complex voluntary registration of the various estates comprising His Grace, the Duke of Argyll’s various mainland and island estates.
  • Acted for co-owners of a family farm in contentious tenancy termination and Land Court litigation.  

Thorntons Law LLP

Overseen by Kenneth Mackay, Thorntons Law LLP advises on the many issues facing rural landowners, occupiers, businesses, trusts, not-for-profit organisations and lending institutions. Key areas of strength include estate and farm purchases and sales, renewables projects and development work, but the department has also seen an upsurge in instructions related to agricultural tenancies, succession planning and forestries. Christopher Lindley, who leads the agricultural security sub-group, deals with the panoply of security transactions in the rural sector. Another name to note is Susan Duff, whose advice is also sought after in relation to business structures, reorganisations and partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Mackay

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Lindley; Lesley Mearns; Susan Duff; Robin Dunlop; Debbie Dewar

Testimonials

‘Kenneth Mackay is very helpful, efficient and thorough.’

‘They have all worked as a good team, and been able to describe the processes and actions in layman’s terms so we could understand the processes we have been going through.’

‘Debbie Dewar’s knowledge of all aspects of the issues and challenges we faced during this process was excellent.’

‘Debbie Dewar had an excellent range of knowledge across all the issues we encountered, the advice given was clear and avoided the use of unnecessary jargon. Debbie was responsive and available when needed.’

‘Good knowledge across the broad range of issues that we face as a rural agribusiness.’

‘Robin Dunlop is very knowledgeable in various areas and has been easy and straightforward to deal with.’

‘Chris Lindley’s knowledge of agricultural law is exceptional and gives reassurance to clients that matters will always be handled correctly. ’

‘A rural estate business like ours doesn’t just involve farming, forestry, hunting, shooting and fishing – it is for more diversified than most people realise. Whatever we throw at Thorntons on whatever subject they have the expertise to deal with it.’

‘Lesley Mearns is someone of the utmost integrity, which is why we continue to use Thorntons’.

Blackadders LLP

Blackadders LLP has earned a strong reputation for advising clients on land purchases and sales, agricultural tenancies and succession advice; in recent times the firm has increased its focus on forestry work, debt reorganisation and secured lending matters, as well as renewable developments. Led by Petra Grunenberg, the group typically acts for landowners, tenants, developers, property investors and lending institutions. Ellen Eunson continues to win new clients in Aberdeen and the Northern regions of Scotland while director Hazel Anderson regularly provides key transactional support to Grunenberg in Dundee. In October 2020, the group welcomed Philip Buchan from Anderson Strathern.

Practice head(s):

Petra Grunenberg

Other key lawyers:

Ellen Eunson; Hazel Anderson

Testimonials

‘This practice has an in-depth knowledge of the agricultural sector which allows it to move forward quickly and efficiently with any business that we give it. They are prepared to work with our teams and do so well giving ourselves and our customers the confidence that deals are completed on time.’

‘They have proved to be practical, unflappable and have the ability to always find a solution to problems that arise.’

‘Blackadders are a knowledgeable team who give clear and practical advice on complicated legal matters. The team have excellent in-depth knowledge of agriculture and rural matters.’

‘Hazel Anderson has been very helpful dealing with a number of complex finance security cases.

‘Ellen Eunson is excellent at communicating legal processes to clients.’

‘Petra Grunenberg has never disappointed with good solid advice and a wealth of knowledge in many situations.’

‘I have been dealing with Petra Grunenberg for just over three years and throughout this time I have found her to be highly professional with wide knowledge in her field. She is also extremely approachable and clearly has her client’s interest as her priority.’

‘Great knowledge and expertise in the agricultural sector. Fast and efficient communication which is a novelty in this sector as I have found dealing with other companies. The advice given has been accurate and clear and not tied up in legal jargon.’

Davidson Chalmers Stewart

Davidson Chalmers Stewart has, in recent years, placed a premium on diversification projects but also continues to be engaged in traditional sales and purchases, renewable energy projects, property and partnership disputes, and regulatory issues. The team, led by Andy Drane, acts for a diverse range of farmers, rural businesses, institutional investors, estate owners, and food producers and processors. Rural business directo Louise Jones excels in secured lending matters, the creation and enforcement of title conditions, and agricultural leases.

Practice head(s):

Andy Drane

Other key lawyers:

Louise Jones

Testimonials

‘An excellent team, with Andrew Drane at the head.’

‘Sound practical advice promptly provided and based upon an in-depth knowledge of the law. An enormous help in every way and reasonable, flexible arrangements in regard to fees. A delight to work with.’

Key clients

Alex Brewster & Sons Limited

Balbie Farm

Breacais Ard Common Graziers, Skye

Caverton Mains Farm

John P Gray & Sons, Auchrennie Farm

Kenneth Greenland, Cambusmore Estate

Leo Group

Mar Estate Trustees

McMaster Consortium

RT Overseas Settlement, Torbreck Estate

Work highlights

  • Advising a Guernsey based trust on promoting Highland Estate through the planning process and subsequent disposal in tranches for residential development.
  • Advising a group of tenant farmers in challenging validity of Agricultural Holdings legislation to the Supreme Court.
  • Advising a family-owned Central Scotland Estate on remediation of historic minerals workings and strategic estate development opportunities.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser advises on the full gamut of legal issues affecting rural Scotland. In particular, it receives a steady flow of instructions relating to farm and estate sales, large estate registrations, renewable energy projects and agricultural tenancies. In April 2021, former practice head Linsey Barclay-Smith departed to join Anderson Strathern. Rural property specialist Matthew Barclay was subsequently promoted to partner in July 2021, with Gail Watt promoted to legal director - she has extensive experience acting for crofting landlords and tenants. Crofting specialist Martin Minton also recently joined the team as a senior solicitor.

Other key lawyers:

Gail Watt; Matthew Barclay; Martin Minton

Testimonials

 

Key clients

W Limited

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Mines Restoration Trust

X Limited

Y Limited

Ministry of Defence

Orkney Islands Council

The Scottish Ministers

Z Partnership

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Swiss clients in the purchase of two adjacent properties comprising an active farming business and B&B accommodation respectively, with the intention of further developing and diversifying the properties.
  • Advised on the restructuring of a farming partnership into a limited company following the death of two partners and the resignation of another; and the consequent amendment of a Contract of Limited Partnership.
  • Advised clients on a landed estate sale and subsequent acquisition of properties in Scotland.

Murray Beith Murray

The practice at Murray Beith Murray works in close conjunction with the firm’s wider private client department, specialising in the tax planning and succession aspects of rural instructions. It is presided over by Andrew Linehan, an 'authority on rural and agricultural matters'. Rural property acquisitions and disposals, rural land planning mandates, land diversification strategies, renewables projects, environmental issues, agricultural tenancy issues, security work, and rural property disputes form the bedrock of Linehan's offering. Hugh Younger’s personal practice, meanwhile, centres on the purchase and sale of farms and estates, as well as farming partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Linehan

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Younger

Testimonials

‘Murray Beith Murray have an excellent knowledge of rural matters and have provided clear advice to a client on agricultural tenancies.’

‘Andrew Linehan has always acted in a professional matter and brought an unrivalled wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussions. He is an authority on rural and agricultural matters.’

‘Andrew Linehan’s knowledge, understanding and interpretation of the various Agricultural Holdings Acts is second to none and he is very adept at tuning into the practical issues associated with farm tenancies and other contracting arrangements.’

‘A small but highly effective team with considerable experience in dealing with the myriad of complex challenges associated with owning and managing Scottish farms and estates.’

‘Andrew Linehan has a real understanding of Scottish agricultural tenancies and has proven to be a considerable help in recent times, using his proactive approach and excellent subject matter to complete on one particular job against a tight deadline. ’

‘All members of the team are very approachable and display a sound knowledge of their areas of expertise.’

‘I have dealt with the team at MBM on a number of complex agricultural and residential sales and always received clear, concise advice and quick responses where necessary. Their knowledge of agricultural tenancy legislation is excellent and coupled with practical understanding is a great combination.’

‘Andrew Linehan is not afraid to give clear, concise advice. He has an excellent understanding of the law and enjoyable to work with.’

Key clients

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

Work highlights

  • Advising a range of landlords and tenants on the amnesty on tenants’ improvements for let farms.
  • Acted on the sale of a Perthshire forestry estate to an institutional investment fund.
  • Acting for two adjacent agricultural tenants on a major landed estate, negotiating tripartite agreements with the landlord and a windfarm developer in relation to a proposed windfarm in south Scotland.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's team, which is led by commercial property specialist Peter Smith, predominantly acts for wealthy individuals and companies in the sale of estates and farmland, both for commercial or natural capital purposes. It also advises on diversification, particularly in relation to renewables and other commercial developments. Providing key support in this area is Colin Brown.

Practice head(s):

Peter Smith

Other key lawyers:

Colin Brown

Testimonials

‘Very strong technically and commercially.’

‘Peter Smith has strong client management skills – technical expertise with commercial clarity.’

‘Solid and reliable work and knowledge in the agricultural field.’

‘No-nonsense practical approach. Colin Brown provides a safe pair of hands.’

MacRoberts LLP

The rural offering at MacRoberts LLP, which trades as Murray Snell WS, specialises in the purchase and sale of agricultural and rural property, in addition to complex option agreements. Ian Bowie and Gillian Campbell share responsibilities for the group, which includes John Macleod, 'in a class of his own when it comes to rural landowner sale and lease agreements'. Macleod also has extensive experience assisting clients with renewable energy developments.  

Practice head(s):

Ian Bowie; Gillian Campbell

Other key lawyers:

John Macleod

Testimonials

‘John Macleod is in a class of his own when it comes to rural landowner sale and lease agreements.’

‘John MacLeod has assisted us for almost eight years, dealing with a wide variety of issues including the negotiation and drafting of multiple option and lease agreements for renewable energy projects (wind and hydro), negotiating wayleave agreements, resolving boundary disputes, as well as general day-to-day business. John’s advice, based on his deep understanding of the rural economy and years of experience is invaluable for our business.’

Key clients

Chirmorie Wind Farm Limited (an SPV owned jointly by Coriolis Energy Limited and ESB)

Wm Hamilton & Sons Limited

Scottish Canals

Noble Foods Limited

Breedon Aggregates plc

Tillicoultry Quarries Limited

The Tomatin Trading Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Act for Chirmorie Wind Farm Limited (an SPV owned jointly by Coriolis Energy Limited and ESB) in the site assembly of numerous land, access and cabling agreements for leases and servitudes.
  • Advised Wm Hamilton & Sons Limited on an option for the disposal of land at Overwood Farm, Carlisle Road, Stonehouse by way of ground lease to Viridor Waste Management Limited for the provision of an energy recovery facility.
  • Advising Scottish Canals on historic surface water and wastewater discharges into their canals across their network of canals in Scotland.