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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 > West Midlands > Private client > Agriculture and estates > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Jennie Wheildon - Wright Hassall LLP

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP has a dedicated team, that advises on acquisitions, disposals and funding for agricultural land. It is also skilled at advising on a myriad of other issues, such as farm diversification, telecommunications, mineral and sporting rights. In addition it assists clients with alternative energy projects and has significant tax planning expertise. Sarah Baugh and Steven Corfield jointly head up the team.

Practice head(s):Sarah Baugh; Steven Corfield

Testimonials

'The team has an ability to deal with complex problems well and provide practical solutions'.

'The team adopts a collaborative and approachable culture for clients and with fellow professionals. It has a high level of experience of working for farming and land owning clients'.

'Steven Corfield - unrivalled technical knowledge and practical experience of dealing with agricultural tenancies and related issues'.

Lanyon Bowdler handles a broad range of issues for numerous large agricultural and horticultural clients, as well as various landed estates and significant country landowners. It is an NFU panel firm for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire, and works closely with the NFU regionally. Particular specialisms include advising on single payment appeals and property litigation as well as planning issues and private client matters. Brian Evans leads the team, which was strengthened by the arrival of Edward Nutting from Hibberts LLP.

Practice head(s):Brian Evans

Other key lawyers:Edward Nutting

Key Clients

Wynne Finch Farms

Ralph Tomley

PDM Produce (UK)

Country Fresh Pullets

W H Timber

Work highlights

  • Acting for the landowner in the sale of land for development.
  • Acting for a landowner in an option to sell land to Taylor Wimpey for residential development.
  • Acting for a client to lodge an appeal by written representations following a refusal of planning permission by the Council.
  • Advising Wynne Finch Farms on a lease with an option to purchase a commercial premises in Anglesey for a new dairy processing facility.
  • Acting in the administration of the estate of the late Elizabeth Brodie Ratclif.

James Spreckley heads up the multidisciplinary agriculture and rural affairs team at Lodders Solicitors LLP, which operates flexibly from offices in Stratford-upon-Avon, Cheltenham and Birmingham. It advises on a broad scope of matters, ranging from transactions and tenancy issues to planning and strategic land development, tax and succession matters.

Practice head(s):James Spreckley

Key Clients

Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers

The Roger and Douglas Turner Charitable Trust (Arley Estate)

Top Spec Feeds

Garden Organics (National Seed Bank)

Work highlights

  • Acted for a farming family in relation to the refinancing of the business.
  • Acting for the executors of the estate of a deceased farmer in connection with the sale of the farm.
  • Acting for the executors of a deceased landowner as the farm in question is currently let under an Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancy.
  • Acting for a landowner who owns a 3,500 acre estate in Oxfordshire in relation to land transfers linked to HS2.
  • Acting for a former farming client that has significantly diversified advising on restructuring the arrangements to facilitate the development of the businesses.

At Wright Hassall LLP, senior partner Paul Rice is knowledgeable about the CAP and the subsidy regime. Rice co-heads the practice with Alexandra Robinson, whose experience includes farms and estates transactions. Other areas of expertise for the team include the Agricultural Holdings Act, agricultural disputes, and estate and tax planning matters. The group also has experience of advising on disputed wills and, separately, the impact of HS2. Senior associate Jennie Wheildon is another key figure. Mercedes King-Jones joined Thursfields Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Alexandra Robinson; Paul Rice

Other key lawyers:Jennie Wheildon

Testimonials

'A first-class agricultural team'.

'Alexandra Robinson is superb. Her knowledge of her work area and client contact is excellent. I would highly recommend her to clients and regularly do'.

Key Clients

Royal Agricultural Society of England

Cotswold Farm Park

British Simmental Society

Berkswell Cheese

Warwickshire Young Farmers’ Federation

National Young Farmers’ Federation

Napton Water Buffalo

Arthur Rank Centre

Meadow Quality

Work highlights

  • Acting for two sisters who inherited their father’s share in a farming partnership, together with his part of two farms, owned jointly with his (surviving) brother and sister.
  • Advising the local authority landlord on an  AHA tenant attempt to (quietly) expand his shooting enterprise from a family and friends affair on land he owned adjacent to the holding, to a commercial shoot over part of the holding.
  • Advising the client who holds a long term farm business tenancy on land at the junction between the M42, M6 and M6 toll that will be affected by HS2.
  • Assisting with structuring the deal in a tax efficient way for a client who is in the process of selling land through a promotion agreement.
  • Advising on an assignable AHA on a farm in the South East of England.

The agricultural team at Hatchers Solicitors LLP is led by Valerie Edwards. It regularly advises on farm sales and purchases, auctions and single farm payments, as well as farm business tenancies and Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies. Clients include private individuals, trustees, farming companies and landed estates. The group is also adept at advising on agricultural disputes, such as farming partnership disputes and proprietary estoppel claims.

Practice head(s):Valerie Edwards

Work highlights

  • Advised on the sale of a fishing lake and on the lease of the adjoining lake by a landed estate.
  • Represented a newly formed farming company in the acquisition of two separate farms in mid-Wales
  • Advised on the refinancing of a farm in Cheshire to raise bank finance of over £3m to fund ongoing farming projects and growth opportunities for the business.
  • Advised on the purchase of a farm in south Wales enabling a local farming family to relocate to that area.
  • Advised on the transfer of farms and cottages to beneficiaries on a landed estate with complex indemnities to the outgoing trustees.

MFG Solictors LLP has a key focus on succession planning advice to estate owners and farmers. It is also skilled at advising on agricultural property relief and on the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. The group often works with a number of agricultural agents to advise on high-value and complex farming estate sales and purchases. Team head Iain Morrison undertakes a wide range of sector-specific matters for farmers, landowners, banks, local authorities and parish councils.

Practice head(s):Iain Morrison

Key Clients

Whitbourne Estate

Orgee

Work highlights

  • Advising on a complex refinancing of part of the estate, identifying issues regarding a timber extraction agreement and liaising with the solicitors representing the Forestry Commission to rectify the Agreement.
  • Advising on the rules relating to a Young Farmer Payment Application.
  • Advisinng on the sale of a large working farm with many interesting and complex aspects such as a private water supply to the village.
  • Acting on behalf of a farming partnership in relation to the dissolution of the partnership which had been trading for over 50 years.
  • Advising on the refinancing of estate land and buildings.

The agriculture team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP spans its offices in Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham and Solihull. Knowledgeable about the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters, it has particular expertise in secure tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. It is an NFU legal panel firm for Warwickshire and Worcestershire. Peter Snodgrass and Richard Thorpe co-head the team.

Practice head(s):Peter Snodgrass; Richard Thorpe

Key Clients

National Grid Electricity Transmission

National Farmers Union

Work highlights

  • Advising on the purchase of farmland for development, but there was a tenant who claimed security under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 on the land.
  • Advising on the purchase of a farm where there were  issues with an inheritance of part of the farm.
  • Advising on the purchase of a large farm in Warwickshire, which included a large modern farmhouse, cottage, buildings for agriculture .
  • Advised on the administration an estate against a backdrop of a discretionary trust and one of three children being the principal farmer of the farm and resident there, but there being a requirement for equitable and fair distribution of shares in the farm.
  • Representing the defendant in a claim for breach of contract and misrepresentation in relation to the sale of a second hand piece of agricultural machinery.

The team at Ansons, which is led by consultant Simon James, advises on all aspects of agricultural law. Its client base includes farm and estate owners, tenants and managers. It also acts for other clients closely linked to farming, including contractors, vets, professional advisers, estate planners and agricultural land agents. It has recently been advising on a number of diversification projects, including woodland acquisitions and the conversion of agricultural buildings for office and light industrial use.

Practice head(s):Simon James

Thursfields Solicitors advises on all aspects of rural property, including the buying and selling of farms, estate management and diversification projects (ranging from renewable energy schemes to strategic land development). Team head Sarah Denney-Richards specialises in advising client on agricultural tenancies, and also has expertise in business partnerships, succession planning and business re-organisation. Family law specialist Mercedes King-Jones, who joined the team from Wright Hassall LLP, is knowledgeable about farming-related divorces.

Practice head(s):Sarah Denney-Richards

Other key lawyers:Mercedes King-Jones

Testimonials

'Sarah Denney-Richards has been intelligent and proactive. Her approach to her clients is exemplary; she manages to balance perfect knowledge with honest care for her clients and a human touch'.

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