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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South West > Private client > Agriculture and estates > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The 'highly skilled' team at Burges Salmon LLP  handles the sale and purchase of agricultural property and landed estates, assists with subsidies and tenancy issues, advises on agricultural development and also has expertise in tax and succession planning. The firm also focuses on advising on regulatory issues regarding the food supply chain. The 'excellentSian Edmunds has experience as a litigator and arbitrator, including the handling of contractual and partnership disputes. Emma Folkes acts for farmers and investors on the restructuring of agricultural estate portfolios.

Practice head(s):Tom Hewitt

Other key lawyers:Sian Edmunds; Emma Folkes

Testimonials

The team is sensitive to clients’ issues, making communication of those ambitions a vital part of early planning

The team is highly skilled and committed to the needs of private clients

Genuinely nice people to work with

A team with considerable experience of rural matters delivered through specialist lawyers

Burges Salmon has exceptional knowledge and skill in agriculture and estates. It is second to none. The team is easy to work with, helpful and reliable

The firm has a great understanding of land ownership and food production

The firm’s experience really sets it apart from its competitors

A well-established and highly effective private client firm for the South West region and beyond

Richard Owen is a powerful lawyer who combines pragmatism with a deep understanding of the law

Emma Folkes is highly experienced and always puts clients first

Sian Edmunds is extremely knowledgeable and approachable

Sian Edmunds is a really excellent litigator

Tom exhibits deep knowledge that is second to none

Key Clients

Environment Agency

The Crown Estate

National Trust

John Lewis Partnership and Waitrose

HSBC

South Yorkshire Pensions Authority

The Woodland Trust

Yeo Valley

Gea Farm Technologies

Work highlights

  • Representing The Crown Estate in taking action against a farming tenant for bringing unauthorised waste onto the holding.
  • Defending an international manufacturer of robotic milking parlours in a £6m dispute against contractual claims alleging that supplied manufactured milking parlours were defective.
  • Advising the trustee of landed estates on receiving planning permissions for the development of a 7000-home extension worth £200m.
  • Advising a Landed estate in South Wales on the selling of a £3m castle and wedding business.
  • Acting for a group of private individuals on a £10m corporate restructuring of property ownership and subsequent refinancing.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP covers tax and real estate planning in the context of land sales and purchases. The firm also advises on succession planning, ownership structuring and regulations concerning residential development. Senior associate Tristam van Lawick is experienced in the negotiation of tenancy and partnership agreements. Practice co-head Christopher Page advises estate and private land owners on the legal aspects of strategic investments in the agricultural sector. Clients also include trustees, charities and financial institutions.

Practice head(s):Christopher Page; Christian Massey

Other key lawyers:Tristam van Lawick

Testimonials

The team has a depth of experience

The firm is thoroughly professional and a real expert in the country house, farm and estate market

The practice is efficient and communicative with a strong and high-quality work ethic

A great with great all-round knowledge

The team consists of excellent problem solvers

Exceptionally user-friendly, knowledgeable and prepared to go the extra mile

Christian Massey is always available for clients and able to move quickly when required. He is respected by buying and selling agents which is crucial on complex transactions and gives clients very sensible advice without overcomplicating matters

Work highlights

  • Acting on contentious sale of a country estate on behalf of will trustees.
  • Advising on extracting interests in family farming partnership and advising on the creation of a family-owned investment company.
  • Advising on the sale of a Grade 1 Georgian Mansion House property to a charitable trust.
  • Providing tax and estate planning advice to family estate in light of a sale of an extremely valuable painting.
  • Providing estate and trust administration advice to a large estate and family trust.

Thrings LLP handles family disputes on land and real estates in the agricultural sector, and also assists with advise on real estate developments, land sales and purchases and labour disputes. The practice acts for tenants with regards to tenancy matters including the negotiation of tenancy agreements. Bristol-based Russell Reeves is the key litigation specialist in the team.

Practice head(s):Duncan Sigournay

Other key lawyers:Neil Barbour; Mark Charter

Key Clients

National Farmers Union (NFU)

The Badminton Estate

Country Land and Business Association (CLA)

EU Plants

Denhay Farms

Work highlights

  • Advising a litigation friend on an £11m farm partnership and inheritance dispute between a father and a son.
  • Advising a claimant on a £10m proprietary estoppel claim.
  • Acting for Houghton Catching Services Ltd as the defendant with regards to the first-ever High Court claim against a British company in relation to modern slavery.
  • Representing a breeder of pedigree Holstein dairy cows in a dispute with a genetics laboratory with respect to a mistaken in vitro fertilisation.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s agriculture and estate practice advises on the structuring of agri-businesses, lifetime tax planning, and the sale and purchase of agricultural land, as well as on the negotiation of tenancy agreements and contentious tenancy disputes. The firm also handles succession planning matters and acts for banks on secured lending transactions undertaken by agricultural borrowers. Senior partner Tim Hayden leads the team, which includes the 'meticulous' Rod Lloyd-Jones.

Practice head(s):Tim Hayden

Testimonials

A well-respected firm with a great reputation that the practice easily lives up to

Very happy with the depth of knowledge shown

Rod Lloyd-Jones is very thorough in his title investigations, making sure that the lender’s interests are protected throughout. His practical no-nonsense stance is most welcome!

Rod Lloyd-Jones is diligent and meticulous, whilst also working at pace

Key Clients

The National Farmers’ Union

The Masters of Foxhounds Association

Lloyds Banking Group

HSBC Bank

The Countryside Alliance

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £3.3m proprietary estoppel claim brought against the client's parents.
  • Advising a bank on the re-mortgaging of an agri-business.
  • Advising on succession planning in relation to a family-owned agri-business
  • Acting for Fitzwilliam Land Company, Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company, Sir Philip Vyvian Naylor-Leyland BT and Highwood Farms Limited in a trespassing injunction against hunt saboteurs who disrupted a hunt on the claimants' land and chattels.
  • Advising on the purchase of land from an institutional landowner

Michelmores LLP handles litigations and arbitration in the agricultural sector, including disputes in regards to landowners, tenants and trusts. The practice is also experienced in covering estoppel claims and is active for both claimants and defendants. Practice co-head Ben Sharples handles contractual disputes and is also involved in professional negligence matters as well as on contentious and non-contentious subsidy claims.

Practice head(s):Ben Sharples; Vivienne Williams

Testimonials

'Wide ranging breadth of experience including key partners who have a land agency background providing a balanced professional view on issues and means of resolution for their client's benefit.'

'We have worked regularly with Peter Williams, Vivienne Williams, Tom Hyde, Ben Sharples, Adam Corbin - their knowledge, attention to detail and practical case management capabilities are second to none.'

'They are very good technically, yet down to earth and get the job done.'

'Exceptional experience and depth and breadth of knowledge concerning agricultural law.'

Key Clients

Clinton Devon Estates

The Wasing Estate

Dorset County Council

West Sussex County Council

The Trustees of the Savile Trust 2008

Staffordshire County Council

Powys County Council

Graham, Michael and Elaine Auliffe

Stephen Moore

James Read

Work highlights

  • Advising on an application against a landlord for a succession tenancy under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.
  • Advising on a tenancy dispute with the landlord involving arbitrations concerning land worth £100m+.
  • Defending against a £1.5m estoppel claim brought by the client’s son.
  • Acting in a rent arbitration regarding a property worth £1m and where the terms of the tenancy were unknown.
  • Drafting and negotiating a farm management agreement related to several hundred hectares.

Stephens Scown LLP provides commercial advice to leisure, tourism and agri-businesses, and assist with sale and purchase agreements. Kate Theophilus has particular expertise in converting Agricultural Holding Act tenancies (AHA) to Full Agricultural Tenancies (FAT). The firm also covers niche areas such as leases of gallops and equestrian facilities, as well as the acquisition and disposal of fishing and shooting rights.

Practice head(s):Phil Reed; Susie Murray

Other key lawyers:Kate Theophilus

Testimonials

The team has a very strong agricultural and estates practice, which is knowledgeable and extremely thorough when handling sales of agricultural property

Stephens Scown LLP meets needs perfectly

The team care for the quality of advice it gives

Key Clients

Eversfield Organic Limited

Trethowans LLP assists with transactional work relating to the sale and purchase of farms and estates. The team also advises banks on secured lending to agri- businesses, acts on farming partnerships and is also experienced in assisting landowners with inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning. The firm also advises on agricultural and equestrian tenancies as well as on rural and country house transactions. The ‘extremely efficientMarcus Thorpe heads the practice and has expertise on lease agreements, including on the extraction of minerals from farmland within a given lease period.

Practice head(s):Marcus Thorpe

Testimonials

Trethowans is very helpful with regards to providing comprehensive legal advice. The team ensures the client gets a clear understanding of the relevant information.

‘Trethowans is a highly professional and highly responsive firm

Marcus Thrope is experienced, professional, thorough and courteous

Marcus Thorpe is prepared to go the extra mile for his clients to find the optimal solution

Key Clients

Agricultural Mortgage Corporation

Clydesdale Bank

Lloyds Bank

Svenska Handelsbanken

James Hay Pension Trustees

Rowanmoor Pension Trusts

Belport Investments

The Bossington Estate

Cornish Mutual

Farm and General Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advising Agricultural Mortgage Corporation on applications for the disposal of any legal interests in a specific property.
  • Advising a high-net-worth individual on the purchase of two separate farms worth £7.7m.
  • Advising National Westminster Bank on secured lending worth £3m over two adjoining farms.
  • Advising on the acquisition of a racehorse trainer’s house and racing stables.
  • Providing regulatory advice on tax planning and responsibilities for a life interest trust.

The ‘experienced, agile and very brightPeter Bourke heads the practice at Wilsons and advises farmers and landowners on the sale and purchase of agricultural land, assists with the division of assets on divorce, and represents landowning clients in boundary disputes. The firm also provides tax and trust advice. Other specialisms involve the structuring of farms and landed estates, agricultural succession planning, as well as rent reviews, dilapidations and the leasing of renewable energy sites.

Practice head(s):Peter Bourke; Robert Swift; Alison Bailey; Jonathan Stephens

Testimonials

A practical and quick firm that possesses real knowledge of the dynamics of farms and estates

Wilsons has a helpful approach, seeking clients’ objectives and delivers objectives in the most straightforward manner and in plain English

Wilsons has a strong reputation among rural clients

Alison Bailey is exceptionally helpful, diligent and accommodating. Her breadth of expertise is remarkable and her attention to detail is superb

Work highlights

  • Negotiating a development option agreement.
  • Advising on the negotiation of a promotion agreement.
  • Advised on the sale of a listed farmhouse.
  • Advised on the purchase of a strategically important site with unregistered title.
  • Providing tax advice relating to the sale of development land.

Ashfords LLP advises on succession planning and farm management, the financing of land sales and purchases, the development of farm-based energy projects, as well as on the drafting and negotiation of contract farming and partnership agreements. The firm also assists with the drafting and amendment of feedstock supply contracts. Other areas of expertise include advice on planning issues, including planning enforcement and certificates of lawfulness. The 'outstanding' Darren Blackburn heads the practice.

Practice head(s):Darren Blackburn

Testimonials

A friendly and personable practice.

The team is technically strong with depth and high servicing standards

Ashfords has a knowledgeable, friendly and approachable team with good local knowledge of the agricultural property sector. The team is always willing to help and provide sound reasoned advice to clients

Darren Blackburn is outstanding

Work highlights

  • Advising on contentious intestate estate involving a deathbed gift claim and an application for contempt of court with potential criminal sanctions
  • Administering a £1.45m estate involving legacy payments and deed of variations
  • Made a successful challenge to Ofgem on behalf of Struss & Parker (Farms), around the applicability of renewable heat incentives for Proflo feedstock
  • Advising on the purchase of a £7m property holding from the Crown

Blanchards Bailey LLP advises clients on agricultural business law, land development and renewable energy investments. The practice also drafts and negotiates tenancy and partnership agreements, which involves assistance with the establishment and dissolution of farm partnerships and trust. The firm is also experienced in handling contractual disputes. Key clients involve farming individuals and families, rural business and landowners.

Practice head(s):Paul Dunlop

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £1m claim of donation mortis causa.
  • Advised on estate planning, including on succession planning, the sale of land and making gifts to charity.
  • Advising on the dissolution of farm partnership and trust deed dispute.
  • Advised in respect to agricultural land sold for redevelopment to a housebuilder subject to significant overage
  • Advised on the refinancing of a farm

Coodes Solicitors has expertise in the sale and purchase of farms, the transfer of Single Farm Payment entitlements, and the property aspects of rural business transfers. The firm is also involved in estate and succession planning, trust-related tax planning and estate administration. Another key aspect of the firm’s work is the drafting and negotiation of tenancy agreements. The firm typically advises high-net-worth landowning individuals and families.

Practice head(s):Pam Johns

Testimonials

The team is stable with longstanding serving solicitors who all possess strong local knowledge and understanding of the agricultural sector

Work highlights

  • Advising on estate and succession planning, as well as on setting up a farm partnership agreement.

Foot Anstey’s expertise encompasses contentious disputes, including estoppel claims as well as tenancy, partnership, will land and property disputes and non-contentious activities involving the drafting and negotiation of sale and purchase agreements. The practice also provides regulatory advice on subsidies, environmental issues and health and safety. Clients include high-net-worth farming families and individuals, business owners, trustees, charities and beneficiaries.

Practice head(s):Edward Venmore

Key Clients

Lloyds Banking Group

The Bolitho Estate

NFU

HSBC Bank

NatWest

St. Aubyn Estates

Santander Bank

Tregothnan

Work highlights

  • Providing advice to HSBC in respect of the restructuring of the borrower’s £30m dairy business.
  • Advising on a missed extension of tenancy arrangement after death of the main land tenant.
  • Advising on an agricultural Holdings Act dispute ending in arbitration and court proceedings.
  • Advising on a dispute regarding the lease for a telecoms mast with Vodafone on the client's property. 
  • Advising on a police, HMRC and HSE investigation regarding alleged modern slavery.

Mogers Drewett LLP advises agricultural clients, business owners and landowning clients on succession planning and the formulation of wills, the sale and acquisition of farmland, as well as on licensing matters. The firm also handles litigations in the agricultural sector, which involves advice on farm tenancy, partnership and registration disputes. Other areas of expertise include advising agricultural borrowers on the refinancing of farms. Jonathan Cheal is an expert on property transactions.

Practice head(s):Frank Collins

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Cheal

Testimonials

The hardworking and diligent team is able to advise on all aspects of property transactions

Frank Collins is an excellent first port of call for advice and always instantly understands the problems and comes up with a solution straight away

The practice keeps appraised of the situation at regular intervals and ensures the client needs are met

Willans LLP assists with the sale and purchase of land and properties, advises on succession planning for rural businesses and has experience in the drafting and negotiation of option agreements. Practice head Robin Beckley also has expertise in the de-registration of common land and carries out map modification orders. The firm acts on behalf of high-net-worth landowners and farming families as well as for sellers and buyers of properties.

Practice head(s):Robin Beckley

Testimonials

Robin Beckley has an excellent understanding of the problems clients face and solves them readily

Work highlights

  • Advised in connection with the granting of an option to a housebuilder of over 140 acres of strategic land.
  • Advised on the sale of a farm with farmhouse and entitlement to single farm payment with overage imposed.
  • Advising on negotiations with other family members concerning the purchase of the family member’s share in a 276-acre farm.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s practice has experience in advising on the sale and purchase of agricultural land and properties, the negotiation and protection of agricultural tenancies, and land development as well as on leases and easements. Other key areas of expertise involve residential conveyancing and the negotiation of lending arrangements. The firm acts for public institutions, banks, charities, and high-net-worth individuals and families.

Practice head(s):Robert Drewett

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