Agriculture and estates in South East
The Oxford-based team at Boodle Hatfield LLP is well-regarded for its agricultural advice to heirs and owners of landed estates seeking to diversify their businesses. It has broad experience in areas such as art, renewable energy, viniculture, complex probate and intensive farming projects. Practice leader Natasha Hassell advises estates on complex tax planning and heritage property issues. Partner Fiona Graham works on private client matters, tax, and trust work for landed estates.
Other key lawyers:
The team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish advises large landed estates, working farms and vineyards on a broad range of matters, including the purchase and sales of farms, wealth and heritage planning, grazing agreements property disputes, and planning and development. Highly regarded practice leader Sally Firby specialises in the purchase and sale of estates, country houses,and farms. Private wealth head Kate Arnold is known for her work on structuring property ownership matters, while partner Paul Fairbairn is an expert on land tax issues.
‘Sally Firby has a virtually unique depth of knowledge of the farms and estates markets. She is always accessible and insightful, as well as being highly efficient.’
‘Sally Firby is the “must go to” person for all high-value agricultural property sales and purchases. Very adroit and clear thinking. She is without equal.’
Wayfarer Wines LLP
Evremond Estates Ltd.
Berry Garden Growers
- Advised Chapel Down on the lease of 388 acres to expand their vineyards.
- Advised on the structure of farming operations for Rauceby Farms following the owner’s death.
- Advised Berry Garden Growers on various commercial agreements.
Freeths LLP's agricultural team advises landed estates, farming families, educational institution, and charities on all matters of agricultural and property law, including agricultural tax, disputes, environmental law, and the acquisition and sale of listed buildings and high-value estates. Practice leader Iain Davis specialises in the development of greenfield land, while partner Samantha Leigh focuses on strategic estate management. Partner Sarah Duffy advises on agricultural property acquisitions and disposals. She works alongside partner Balvinder Jaj, who addresses secured lending and development at greenfield and brownfield sites. Senior associate Laura Czapski also comes recommended. Director Louise Lewis joined from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP in June 2019.
‘Sarah Duffy goes beyond her brief, is client-focused, commercial, and ultimately someone you want on your side.’
Robert Paul Camping
Tarmac Trading Ltd.
Tarmac Aggregates Ltd.
- Advised charity landowner client on £11m complex disposal of 35 acre development site.
- Development of holding for high-end residential units worth £3.8m.
- Responded to an application to register a woodland area of approximately 16 acres as a village green.
The rural businesses and estates team at Irwin Mitchell advises private, commercial, and educational clients on matters such as high-value tax planning advice, the development of land, transactional property work, agricultural tenancies, and property management work. Supplementing the Newbury office's work, the firm opened a new Reading base in 2019, increasing its national reach. Practice leader James Pavey advises on large rural landholdings, environmental issues, and property transactions, amongst other areas. Partner Andrew Parry specialises on inheritance issues, probates, and family trusts.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has a fine reputation for its strong brand of legal services. Having a number of offices means they are able to offer a wide-ranging service in convenient locations.‘
‘James Pavey is always totally committed to the clients and their needs. He goes the extra mile and has an outstanding knowledge of countryside law.’
Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement
- Represented Green lanes Environmental Action Movement in high-profile judicial review proceedings against Lake District National Park Authority.
The agriculture and estates team at Moore Barlow - the result of the recent merger of Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins - is known for its advice on private wealth, land development, litigation for landed estates, landowner sales to developers, and agricultural tax and trusts advice. Southampton-based practice leader Sarah Jordan acts for landed estates, race-horse trainers, property investors, and farmers on all aspects of rural property matters. Managing partner Edward Whittington advises farmers and landowners in the sale of land, while rural private wealth head Philip Whitcomb specialises in agricultural succession planning and asset protection. Well-regarded senior associate Charlotte Brackley joined the team as a result of the merger; she is based in the combined firm's Guildford office.
‘This is a medium/large firm, but treats clients in a personal, non-corporate manner that the clients like and allows trust in the legal advice to grow. The quality of the legal work and document drafting is excellent. Their knowledge of the agricultural and rural world is also excellent as is their knowledge of the tax implications of the transactions/documents they are involved with.’
‘Philip Whitcomb’s knowledge of will, trust and partnerships as they relate to our agricultural clients makes him one of the top people on the country. His drafting of wills, deeds and particularly partnership agreements is exceptional and very much match the client’s requirement.’
‘Sarah Jordan’s expertise in rural property aligned to her ability to get property transactions completed provides a superb service.’
‘Charlotte Brackley provides a great service, delivers high quality work on time and has the ability to think outside of the box.’
‘All the professionals I have dealt with have been excellent. They have all been excellent and very approachable. Their depth of knowledge has been of a great help to me and they often have assisted me with questions that have arisen, in a clear and concise way.’
‘I have found the individuals at this firm to be particularly friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. The firm clearly has a good working environment.’
‘Charlotte Brackley is hardworking and highly competent and I particularly appreciate her approachability and dedication to her clients.’
‘Without question a pleasure to work with. Their client care is consistently of a very high standard. The team are always, informed and professional, along with being sensitive and intuitive. They work cohesively as a team and their support for each other is very evident.’
Tees Law is has a track record of advising both domestic and international clients on agricultural and estates matters, and in January 2019 the practice merged with Essex firm Wortley Byers, expanding its geographical reach. Practice leader David Miller has strong experience of dealing with complex energy projects and advising on strategic land transactions. Letty Glaister re-joined the partnership in April 2020 after a spell as a consultant, and was made head of agriculture and estates, while Charles Stevens is an expert in structuring complex transactions.
Other key lawyers:
‘This practice is expert in agricultural legal matters, which is the reason why I initially contacted them after recommendations by the National Farmers Union and a local landowner/farmer.’
‘I have found the staff at Tees to be responsive and to give sound advice. They always come back within a reasonable timescale if they cannot answer the call or email immediately. It makes a big difference to a busy professional not to have to chase them up.’
‘David Miller is known for his work and advice on Option for Lease of solar farms. His knowledge and experience in the sector makes working with him a pleasure.’
‘Tees Law support the agricultural industry by having partners and associates with good agricultural knowledge. They are a very professional practice which are both organised and flexible with the clients best interests at the forefront.‘
‘We would not hesitate in recommending Tees Law to any agricultural business. We always feel we get a personal service which is often missing from business dealings these days.’
Strutt & Parker (Farms) Ltd
The agricultural team at Warners Solicitors provides a wide range of services to clients, including non-contentious property work such as the buying and selling of farms and estates, landlord and tenant work, and estate tax planning. On the contentious side, the team has experience in criminal matters, as well as disputes over sporting rights, boundaries and wildlife issues. Practice leader Steve Colville focuses on the landed estates and agricultural sector. Michael McNally principally advises hunts, shoots, animal-related organisations and estates and farms on a broad range of matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Steve Colville is very proactive and keeps me informed.’
‘Steve Colville always keeps in touch to try to resolve matters.’
‘A strong team punching above their weight, with real empathy for the sector.‘
‘Michael McNally exhibits excellence in his area of expertise; he has deep involvement with and knowledge of the sector.‘
Oxney Organic Estate
William Powell Ltd.
J M Osborne & Co Ltd.
Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles
Masters of Foxhounds Association
The team at Birkett Long LLP advises landowners across the Essex and Suffolk regions on a wide range of matters, such as succession and tax planning, proprietary estoppel disputes and estate administration. Practice leader Caroline Dowding is experienced in matters such as succession planning, trusts, and partnership agreements. Associate Emma Coke is known for her work in complex farm and equestrian sales and acquisitions
Other key lawyers:
‘Queries are dealt with speedily and sympathetically. I have always been very satisfied with their work.’
‘Emma Coke has always dealt with my problems with great efficiency. We have an excellent working relationship.’
‘The team clearly care about the individuals they are working for and think about practical, personal matters, as well as the legal aspects. They keep other third party advisers informed of progress so that they all can all be seen as one team working in the best interest of the client.’
‘Caroline Dowding is very personable, showing a caring and understanding nature, which alongside her experience and professionalism is a true asset to any team.
‘I have always found Birkett & Long to be very professional and approachable. It really helps to know that Birkett & Long can call on advice from such a large team of professionals covering a wide range of expertise. I was recommended Birkett & Long because my need for advice was both family and business law, and I am very pleased with their advice so far.’
‘They are proactive with advice and regular work. They are transparent with fees and always helpful.’
‘Caroline Dowding is very personable; she replies promptly to any enquiries, and is knowledgeable about her subjects.’
Birketts LLP advises private families, utility companies, government agencies, on matters such as structuring family successions and taxation as well as property and agriculture law regarding sales, purchases and tenancies, and renewable energy matters. Based in Norwich, practice head Jack Royall advises on buying and selling farms and estates. Senior associate Annabelle Rout and associate Leo McMahon come recommended.
‘They get things done quickly and efficiently. Annabelle Rout gives good advice.’
‘One of East Anglia’s principal law firms, and a firm of choice for handling estate and farm brokerage. This comes from a long history of capable professionals and the present team is strong.’
‘I have every confidence in the team here: their collective knowledge enables us to deal with all sorts of obstacles in the conveyancing process. I like the accessibility they give you, their efficiency, and experience. Other firms do not offer such a specialised service, or if they claim to, frankly it’s not a patch on what Birketts do!‘
‘Annabelle Rout is my go-to contact: she is available when we need her, and has consistently been one of the finest solicitors in the firm. I have no hesitation in recommending her to other clients looking for excellent, efficient service. Annabelle goes out of her way to help, often updating us without having to – this helps keep everyone involved in a conveyance (rural sales in particular) happy and informed. Birketts have a true asset here!‘
‘The agricultural team has great communication and know what they are doing.‘
Operating out of Southampton, the team at Blake Morgan LLP provides advise on a diverse range of matters for families with landed estates, farmers, and agricultural businesses, covering complex tax and trust advice. Practice leader Oliver Sowton is known for his work on business park infrastructure and renewable energy projects. Senior associate Caroline Lindon-Morris comes recommended. Partner Paula Shea joined from Lester Aldridge LLP in April 2019; Zoe Wright joined from Shoosmiths LLP as a property litigation partner in the summer of 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘This team has been helpful, available, and quickly understood our complex family structure.’
‘Despite the fact that Blake Morgan is a large organisation it always felt that our business was important to them and we were receiving the best possible service.’
Brachers acts for landed estates, landowners, and farming families throughout the South East, providing advice on complex commercial and property disputes, development opportunities, and planning and environmental matters. Practice leader Sarah Webster advises on sales and purchases, option and promotion agreements, and property-related recycling and energy matters. Private client head Christopher Eriksson-Lee advises on personal estate planning matters for farmers and members of the aristocracy, while the contentious trusts and probate head Deborah Cain, is experienced in litigation and mediation connected to complex estates and trusts.
‘The team are always professional and efficient. I never hesitate in referring clients to them and feedback that follows is always complimentary.’
‘As a fellow professional they are always incredibly generous with their time in providing assistance and advice, even when it does not concern a mutual client. This regularly extends to outside of the usual hours of business.’
‘Brachers also offer a comprehensive programme of CPD which is always relevant and often ahead of the curve.’
‘All individuals give very freely their time to take calls and answer emails in order to assist me regarding queries I may have either regarding work concerning mutual clients, but more importantly, more generally.’
East Malling Trust
Kent County Agricultural Society
Alan Firmin Ltd.
Kent Farmers Benevolent Society
Located in Canterbury, Furley Page Solicitors is best known for advising a number of local landowning families spanning generations, as well as farmers and other landowners regarding matters such as the sale or purchase of agricultural land, tax planning, and agricultural tenancies. Recently, the team has seen an increase in development and agricultural diversification work. 'Commercially minded' department head Ethan Desai has expertise in renewable energy and development matters. Darren Philpot advises high-net-worth individuals and landed estates on property issues such as right of way, overage agreements, and stamp duty land tax.
Other key lawyers:
‘Furley Page is very easy to deal with. They provide good advice in a straight forward and prompt manner at a good value for money.‘
‘Ethan Desai provides good advice in a straightforward manner. He is a problem-solver.’
‘Based on my experience of the practice, Furley Page has a good understanding of the sector and similar farming businesses. This quickly allows a trusting relationship to develop. The team members are knowledgeable, personable, efficient, and I enjoy working with them.’
‘Ethan Desai iquickly grasped what we were looking to achieve generally and on particular transactions. He stands his ground to achieve the right outcome and is commercially minded. Ethan is also sympathetic to the nuisances of family-run farming businesses and draws on the experiences of other clients. As a result, Ethan has a good reputation in the sector. Ethan also thinks to bring in the expertise of other colleagues to cover different aspects of family-run, farming businesses.’
‘Working with Furley Page, they provided a prompt and efficient service, we were able to make contact when we needed, and the work was carried out to conclusion without fuss. They even discovered some contract alterations that improved our security. Very impressed. We will use them again.’
‘Having used competitors in Kent before we can confirm Furley Page are a few steps above the others in our experience. We would highly recommend Furley Page.’
‘As well as for the sale of agricultural land I have used Furley Page for the purchase of a house. Being fairly new to both of these ventures I found them knowledgable and competent in their fields and keen to help and guide me.’
‘Ethan Desai was most helpful in our recent sales of land. He guided us in an uncomplicated manner and was always patient.’
‘The team demonstrate a very good knowledge of agricultural land transactions and act in a very professional manner, paying very close attention to important details.’
‘Ethan Desai is highly capable and demonstrated his skills in dealing with a fairly complex transaction. Ethan is very approachable and a very clear communicator. He clearly understands the principles of farming and has a very good knowledge of the convincing process. It was refreshing to witness such a young man dealing with such complex matters in a thorough manner. I would definitely use this firm again.’
‘A regional firm with a genuine spread of expertise from corporate to private client to litigation. Furley Page genuinely offers a one-stop-shop for all our legal needs across a spectrum of business and private activities. they are big enough to specialise but without losing that personal touch that individuals value.’
‘Ethan Desai is a breath of fresh air, confident, intelligent, and always responsive and pragmatic. He gets the deal done and knows where to give and where to stand his ground.’
GH Dean & Co Ltd.
Edward Vinson Ltd.
H Mount & Sons Ltd.
HW Snape & Sons
Street End Estate
SW Mount & Sons
Wakely Brothers (Rainham, Kent) Ltd.
- Acted for a local farming company in the sale of over 50 acres of land in East Kent to a leading international wine producer.
- Advised Simon Langton Schools Trust on the £500,000 purchase of an agricultural holding in Wales
Knights is known in the South East for its litigation work on a broad spectrum of contentious matters regarding agriculture and estates, including environmental,, real estate and rural sport issues. Practice leader Matthew Knight is an expert litigator in a wide range of matters, frequently working alongside Simon Bell. Jonathan Manser was promoted to partner in August 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice has a very good understanding of the rural community and the associated issues that are presented to it.’
‘Matthew Knight has a very sound understanding of the industry and the approaches that can be made to somewhat challenging and complex situations.’
‘Knights have a very in-depth knowledge of the shooting world. They were also very well informed and prepared for dealing with our problem. The team worked extremely well together and all members of staff were ready to help me on a daily basis and when it was coming towards the end on an hourly basis. To have this kind of strength from a team of people was superb.’
‘Matthew Knight and Simon Bell are two extremely professional people who we will never forget as long as we live. They supported us and guided us and gave us the confidence to keep going to the end. They kept us fully aware of the situation at all times especially when court times and places were changing on an hourly basis. It would have been so easy to have given up had it just been left to the police and CPS.’
‘The team have always been courteous, extremely helpful, and understanding. They have a wide understanding of knowledge, ranging from agricultural law to business law. From my own experience, I have not dealt with another firm with such a broad and extensive knowledge base.’
‘Simon Bell has gone above and beyond what I expected. Without his help and extensive knowledge, I would not have been able to carry my claim forward. Nothing is too much trouble for them; other competitors tend to specialise in certain fields, whereas Simon and his firm have a broader knowledge.‘
Paul Rackham Ltd.
FGS Agri Ltd.
Richard Barnes Farms Ltd.
Chevening Shoot Syndicate
Trevor Heathcote llp
- Acted for Paul Packham Ltd, accused of breaching the environmental permitting regime by the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
- Acted for a farmer accused of being involved in a multi-million-pound VAT fraud.
- Acted for Trevor Heathcote LPP in respect of a prospective claim for breach of contract and negligence resulting in substantial damage and loss to a solar energy company.
Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP advises farming families across the South East on complex real estate transactions and commercial diversification, estate planning, and matters relating to succession. Managing partner Richard Cripps is located in Sevenoaks and manages rural property interests such as land development projects.
Park Property Group
- Acted for Park Property Group to purchase a large estate with a view to development.
- Took new instructions from the landowners of a significant site in Sayers Common.
- Acted for the landowner of a significant site in Lewes.
The agricultural team at Thompson Smith and Puxon advises clients on commercial and property issues, alongside tax and estate planning. The team has additional specialisms in land and property acquisitions, option agreements, refinancing, and development transactions and disposals. Practice head Stephen Firmin has expertise in strategic land planning, property portfolios, and the acquisition and disposal of high-value farming estates. Kerry Addison comes highly recommended.
‘The agriculture and estates team are able to draw on real life experience of running a farm, which is invaluable when dealing with very personal matters.’
‘The team are all incredibly personable and wonderful to work with. They are all incredibly experienced agricultural solicitors and have a fantastic breadth of knowledge across this area of practice.’
‘Extensive knowledge of rural law. Legal matters carried out in meticulous detail in a discreet, approachable and extremely professional manner. We have always felt that our business has been important to the team, who always have time for our queries. We have never been made to feel that we have been put to the bottom of the pile.’
‘Honest, available, concise, and good value. Kerry Addison gets the points instantly and is not afraid of giving her opinion straightaway.’
‘The team provides an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge and is able to provide a cost effective service by blending different members of the team for each client.’
‘Kerry Addison is dynamic and incisive. She is particularly competent at closing out a commercial opportunity quickly.’
‘A team of highly professional practitioners who are able to provide strength in depth with considerable experience and expertise in all the fields they profess to serve.’
‘Kerry Addison has demonstrated a keen eye for detail combined with an outstanding appreciation of the bigger picture. While acting for us in a land promotion agreement, no effort has been spared in resolutely protecting our interests. I have experience of many legal firms and her clarity, pragmatism and professionalism is reassuring while we are involved in complex and challenging negotiations. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone looking for legal support in her field.’
‘A very strong local firm dealing with all matters of real estate including commercial and agricultural property. A substantial increase number of staff in the last few years have enabled the firm to increase its wide coverage of professional advice to a strong local client base.’
‘Kerry Addison has a strong team of professionals dealing with all aspects of commercial property. Always willing to discuss matters on an open basis and to understand clients’ requirements.’
‘An excellent practice – working with them has been a fantastic experience; they take a proactive and collaborative approach.‘
‘The team is extremely professional and attentive.’
Adams & Remers advises owners of landed estates and farms on legal issues relating to refinancing, option agreements, property disputes and tax. Practice head Katherine Haslam advises on investment property and planning and development issues. Head of property Robin Illingworth is known for his work in the viticulture sector in the South East, while partner James Turner specialises in strategic land arrangements.
The farming and estates team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP is experienced in advising landed estates, trusts, and farming partnerships on issues such as sales and acquisitions, renewable energy projects, and succession planning, amongst others. Head of the team Hazel Eccles is known for her work on acquisitions, tenancies, and the grant of ancillary rights, while the Reading-based James Burgess advises on agricultural property and rural development matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Well resourced team with accessible partners and concise, objective advice.’
‘Kelsie Essenhigh has a straightforward and friendly approach backed by a wealth of experience.’
‘Rob Crowther has a detailed and effective manner and well prepared to advise accordingly.’
‘Established a good working relationship. Very approachable.’
With offices in Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, Spratt Endicott is known for advising farmers, rural businesses, and country estates on the sale and purchase of farms, agricultural estates, and the sale of rural properties for property development. Associate Jennie Loynes is a key contact in the practice and has experience in overage agreements, sales to HS2, and advising farms and estates. Managing director Andrew Woods is another name of note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Astute, considered and practical lawyers – quite unflappable.’
‘Jennie Loynes provides calm and measured advice. She is an extremely personable and highly competent agricultural law specialist.’
‘Spratt Endicott are well ahead of the game when it comes to queries about land registry and trusts. The team provided prompt and joined-up advice to the whole of my family and interacted incredibly promptly to a never-ending stream of queries across a diverse set of legal subjects. We, as a family, felt that we were in good hands as we were able to to talk to a single person who handled the whole situation extremely calmly and with great confidence. Great value too. As a family of three generations, we were incredibly reassured by the all-round legal capability that Spratt Endicott demonstrated when compared to other firms.’
‘Jennie Loynes was exceptional; even when faced with the most minute and excruciating details, she remained calm and measured and helped us all through. She was superb at explaining and attempting to buffer the family from the exceptional minutiae that we were being asked to deliver.’
Thomson Snell & Passmore
Thomson Snell & Passmore acts for landowners, trusts, developers, and famers regarding land sales and purchases, sporting rights, renewable energy matters, and developments, as well as providing related advice on supplier contracts and IP rights. Head of agriculture and rural affairs Sue Lister deals with large estate portfolios, farm tenancies, mineral and borehole leases, and property sales and purchases.
‘Work is carried out in a fast and efficient manner with excellent communication and updates, resulting in a service that is not only excellent, but good value for money.’
Woodfines LLP is known for advising clients in the South East region on a range of issues relating to farming business, including estate planning, diversification, and planning and environmental enforcement notices. Notably, the firm has niche expertise for clients who have diversified into haulage and transport. Head of the agriculture team Charlotte Benjamin deals with all non-contentious landlord and tenant issues, farming partnership agreements, sporting rights, and the sale and acquisition of farmland.
‘Woodfines is made up of a team of specialists giving coverage of key areas required by us. They have good working relationships with other parties such as banks and accountants.’
‘Charlotte Benjamin has the ability to handle and juggle a wide range of client engagements to deadlines.’
‘Good understanding of the industry. They always ensure that they understand the needs of the business and me as an individual. Professional and friendly and keen to help. I feel like a customer not a number. Fast acting and rarely have to wait for a call to be returned in an acceptable timescale.‘
‘A reliable and highly knowledgeable team. It strengths are its knowledge and understanding of agriculture and the related law which is a skill lacking in other firms and its ability to communicate in what ever manner needed is also a key strength.’
‘Knowledgeable and a professional approach to all jobs and clients. I undertake a wide range of work with Charlotte Benjamin on a wide range of agricultural matters and land transactions dealt with by Charlotte and her team are always dealt with efficiently and promptly again something competitors lack.’
‘I have used this firm for many years and they know what my needs are.’
‘Extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. They were always ready to go the extra mile.’