With an agricultural heritage spanning 170 years, we are one of the long-established agricultural law firms.
Our agricultural solicitors advise farmers, landowners, farming businesses and farming-related organisations on all their legal matters. We have close connections with the NFU, CLA, Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC and Warwickshire Farm Management Group.
Farmers have to be business people, first and foremost, and running a farming business nowadays can be incredibly challenging.
Buying and selling a farm
Our experienced agricultural property team are able to advise in relation to the buying and selling of farms, including advising on the ancillary matters that come with an agricultural transaction. Our agricultural farms and estates team have extensive experience in dealing with this specialist area. Our team will lead you through the process from start to finish.
Our solicitors can advise you on issues which you may need to consider before the negotiation, so that you may discuss these with your land agent to achieve the most advantageous deal for you. If the terms of the transaction have already been agreed, you will be taken through the various stages of the conveyancing process. Firstly there is the investigative stage where searches will be carried out and advice given on any search results depending on whether you are buying or selling. Then, queries will be raised on your behalf or responded to; we would deal with any legal aspects of any funding which is needed to facilitate the purchase and act on behalf of the lender where appropriate. We also deal with any Stamp Duty requirements which arise as a result of the transaction. You will be guided through the stages needed to secure the exchange of contracts and then through to completion. We then deal with any post-completion work which is necessary to record the transaction at the Land Registry.
Our team is also able to advise on any ancillary issues such as land which is encumbered by tenancies, deal with rights of way and easements, the granting of overage or the discharge of any overage obligations attached to the land and the granting of any leases or tenancies which might be required.
Agricultural land for sale/ development
Our farms and estate team deal with all types of property disposals ranging from small paddocks to hundreds of acres of land. Our team is familiar with dealing with different types of land such as mixed use and bare land often with various uses at the point of sale.
Our team will be able to guide you through the sale process which includes dealing with any queries which are raised by the purchaser which requires often requires specialist knowledge in respect of rights of way, easements and the transfer or retention of any entitlement to subsidies.
Our solicitors would also consider any leases or licences which exist, any rights of way or easements which exist or need to be granted to access land which has been retained, advise on any farm business tenancies or other tenancy documentation which may need to be drafted, liaise with your agent throughout the transaction and ultimately complete the sale of your property.
Our strategic development team is also well versed in dealing with matters involving renewable energy, wind farm and telecommunications sites.
"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'"
Just like any other sector, disputes can arise for a multitude of reasons. Agricultural disputes can range from machinery or equipment which fail to meet the necessary standards, personal matters such as divorce or will disputes, issues arising out of professional advice which you may have taken which subsequently transpires to fall short of the expected standard or contract disputes relating to a sale or purchase of land, property or even, one that governs employment.
Our agricultural sector is comprised of lawyers with expertise in all of the areas mentioned and this is one of the benefits of using a full service law firm.
The key to dealing with these disputes is for the lawyer whom you engage to have an understanding of the agricultural setting, what it means on a practical footing and how the dispute can best be dealt with to preserve relationships and look after assets for the next generation.
Farming property disputes
We have a dedicated property litigation team that deal with a wide range of disputes from fly grazing, to lease disputes, to ‘Notices to Quit’ in relation to tenancies, to boundary disputes.
The lawyers dealing with these types of disputes are acutely aware of the need to understand the agricultural law setting in which they exist and those lawyers have the necessary knowledge and interest in the sector to be able to deal with matters so as to have as little impact on the farming business as possible.
They are also more than willing to put on a pair of wellies and come and look at the issue as it appears on the ground!
Farm partnerships and corporate structures
We have agricultural lawyers who specialise in the drafting of farm partnerships and business structures so as to ensure that the business is being dealt with in the most efficient way by recording the intention of the parties. Our wills, trust and tax team can advise you to ensure the arrangement is also tax efficient for the business.
It is not uncommon for disputes to arise out of lack of documentation to support the set of circumstances at the relevant point in time and it is worth sitting down around the kitchen table with your professional advisors to make sure matters are in hand.
Although slightly different from the farm partnerships and business structure, we also have extensive experience in drafting farm business tenancies. It is imperative that the terms on which such tenancies are carried out are recorded so as to protect both parties. Should anything then go wrong in the future there is a document on which either party can rely and if appropriate, enforce.
A farm business tenancy will set out the obligations which are imposed on the tenant and the responsibilities of the landlord. It is important for each party to know what they are responsible for so that the tenancy runs smoothly and relationships do not suffer as a result of any issues.
Commercial contracts for farming businesses
Our specialist commercial team can deal with the drafting of contracts for all aspects of your farm business whether this is the terms of business for a new diversification project which you are embarking on or a lease for storage facilities which you are granting.
It is important to consider all “what if” scenarios which might arise so that in the event the terms of business or lease has to be relied upon, there is documentary evidence of the terms that were agreed between the parties.
When drafting contracts of this nature, our commercial team can draw upon knowledge within other areas of our firm. This means a lawyer in the property team could deal with the drafting of a lease of premises, a member of the wills, trust & tax team could advise on any tax implications that might arise out of the deal and the commercial lawyer draft the terms and conditions between the client and the end user.
Our commercial lawyers deal with individuals to national PLC companies and are well versed in thinking “outside of the box” to ensure that all eventualities are covered to protect your position going forward.
Rights and responsibilities as a landowner
The lawyers within our agricultural law sector can advise on the Animals Act and the liabilities associated with those animals, livestock issues including milk quotas, cattle passports and animal identification. We have considerable expertise in dealing with regulatory matters ranging from the single farm payment scheme, RPA and compliance, the rural development programme, intervention and private storage aid schemes.
Either as a standalone issue or within a conveyancing transaction, we can advise on mineral or sporting rights which may need to be retained or granted to a buyer or tenant. It is extremely common for access to land and public rights of way to occur as contentious issues, and we are experienced in both the drafting of such rights initially and dealing with any disputes that arise after that.