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Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, London

Tom Hewitt

Work 0117 902 2717
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department

Private client wealth structuring.


Head of Burges Salmon's food and farming team. Advises on tax and estate planning for individuals, business structures, including partnership; landlord and tenant issues; complex variation of trust actions; complex probates and trust matters. Particular focus on clients who own land. Frequently lectures on capital tax issues and particularly inheritance tax reliefs for farmers and landowners.


Trained Burges Salmon, qualified 1997; land agent Savills 1988-92; self-employed consultant 1993; Partner 2004.


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS); PAIAM (Professional Advisors to the International Art Market); CLA (Country Land and Business Organisation).


Attended Reading University/Royal Agricultural College (1985-88); Bournemouth University (1994 CPE); College of Law, Chester (1995 LPC).

London: Private client

Agriculture and estates

Within: Agriculture and estates

Burges Salmon LLP  ‘has a long tradition of working in this area', and acts for a wide range of clients, from institutions to private individuals. Tom Hewitt leads the food and farming team and Alastair Morrison is particularly skilled on the transactional side. Hewitt has ‘many years of experience of dealing with complex sales and purchases in a very efficient way’. Jim Aveline  advises a number of farms and landed estates on tax, estates and succession issues. Sian Edmunds acts for various agribusinesses and Kevin Kennedy has a particular focus on agricultural tenancy advice, real property disputes, trust-related disputes as well as contract and tort claims. Emma Folkes leads on a diverse range of transactions involving rural land for institutional investors, registered charities and high-net-worth individuals. The ‘very impressive’ group acts for major clients such as the National Trust, the Crown Estate, the John Lewis Partnership as well as the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

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Personal tax, trusts and probate

Within: Personal tax, trusts and probate

Burges Salmon LLP provides ‘commercial, practical and sound advice’. The ‘switched-on and practicalJohn Barnett is a ‘leading technical boffin with a great affable manner’. Barnett provides tax advice to a wide range of high-net-worth individuals and many leading banks and other financial institutions. He has a particular focus on entrepreneurial clients many of whom are not domiciled in the UK or have businesses or other interests abroad. The ‘practical, very bright and technical’ Suzanna Harvey  is ‘able to explain complicated issues in simple language’ and Beatrice Puoti has ‘great commercial awareness’. Another key member of the ‘very strong’ team is the ‘professionalTom Hewitt  who is ‘empathetic and wise’. Highlights included advising an ultra-high-net-worth individual on a wide ranging HMRC enquiry.

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South West: Private client

Agriculture and estates

Within: Agriculture and estates

Burges Salmon LLP is ‘excellent, with extensive and wide-ranging experience in this area'. Recent highlights include two major transactions in the national land market - sales from The Crown Estate at Dunster (comprising some 9,900 acres) and Gopsall.  Sian Edmunds is a ‘first-rate lawyer and litigator’, who is ‘very client focused, hugely experienced and tenacious’. Edmunds specialises in food regulation, but also handles farming and agribusiness contractual disputes, partnership disputes and agricultural tenancy issues; she acts for John Lewis Partnership/Waitrose, The Crown Estate, Gea Farm Technologies, Ornua Foods and Humphreys Feed. Kevin Kennedy has a national reputation for agricultural and private client advice and litigation, with a particular focus on tenancy advice, real property disputes, trust-related disputes and contract and tort claims; his clients include The Crown Estate, The National Trust, and Peel Group. Jim Aveline is a ‘brilliant private client and trust specialist’, and recently advised on a £30m succession plan for a 3,000-cow Dorset dairy farm. The ‘enormously bright’ associate Maddie Dunn is ‘one to watch’. New clients include Worcestershire County Council and the Environment Agency. Tom Hewitt heads up the food and farming as well as estates teams. With her ‘wealth of experience and technical knowledge’, Emma Folkes was made partner in May 2017; she specialises in non-contentious rural property, advising The Crown Estate's Rural Portfolio (for which the firm is sole legal advisor), the National Trust, and The Woodland Trust.

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Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

    - Burges Salmon LLP

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