Paul is the firm’s Senior Partner and head of its top ranked Agricultural team. He splits his time between heading the agricultural sector and, as Senior Partner, leading the firm alongside managing partner Sarah Perry. He also uses his significant experience in regulatory matters in his role as the firm’s Compliance Officer by ensuring the firm has appropriate systems and controls in place.
Paul is top ranked in his own right as an agricultural lawyer and recognised for his in depth knowledge of the Common Agricultural Policy and its implementation within a domestic context. As such, a key part of his role is to ensure the team retains its position as a leading authority on the evolution of agricultural policy as the UK starts the process of exiting the European Union. As an agricultural lawyer, he advises widely on the subject of the BPS and residual issues resulting from the SPS regime. His knowledge of the detailed workings of the CAP has helped both commercial farmers and NGOs in both transactional and contentious matters, and has resulted in strategic changes on the way in which the Rural Payments Agency interprets some aspects of the regulation dealing with BPS. With his background as an advocate he has represented individuals and companies operating within a rural context who happen to find themselves at odds with the authorities, whether it be the initiation of a judicial review against an RPA decision, the conduct of an internal appeal against such a decision, or dealing with an investigation being carried out by the Environment Agency.
As a result of the firm’s growth strategy he has ensured that he has built an experienced team around him, led by Alex Robinson, able to offer the degree of expertise so valued by clients and potential clients operating in the rural sector, allowing him to divide his time between his sector role and that of Senior partner.
Paul qualified in a West Country practice and has since developed and maintained an interest in the law as it affects rural communities. After a stint as an army lawyer and prosecutor in the CPS, Paul joined the Intervention Board as a prosecutor, initially dealing with cases such as the sale of "black" milk and the entering of non-eligible animals into the Over Thirty Month Slaughter Scheme. Having been involved in the process that abolished the IB and created the RPA, Paul developed his role as an advisory lawyer and ended his time in the RPA as Deputy Legal Director helping manage a team and advising on the practical consequences resulting from some of the policy decisions made during the introduction of the Single Payment Scheme.
Since joining Wright Hassall in 2004, as well as ensuring consistent growth of the agricultural team, Paul has taken an increasing role in managing aspects of the business, through becoming the firm’s Money-Laundering Reporting Officer in 2013, Compliance Officer Legal Practice in 2017 and Senior Partner in 2018.
- Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC - director
- Agricultural Law Association
- Country Land & Business Association (former county chairman and current county committee member).
- Member of the SME group of the CWLEP
- National Farmers Union (former county chairman)
Paul enjoys exercising his poodle Molly, driving the RIB that he owns with his wife, Sally, around the shoreline of her beloved Cornwall and, along the way, good food and wine.