Joel grew up on a mixed farm in Suffolk where he enjoyed repairing machinery and working with the farm’s suckler herd of Red Poll Cattle. During his career Joel has been lucky to be able to combine his passion for farming and food with his professional work. Joel always looks for the solution and never takes anything as read. His knowledge about farming and the rural economy is combined with his scientific background to produce results that work for clients rather than the other way around. His work splits into three broad areas:
Firstly, he advises farms and estate on their business structures and continuity planning. This includes advising on and drafting new partnership agreements, providing strategic advice on a range of matters such as development, diversification and internal family conflict. His experience and knowledge growing up on the family farm is invaluable when advising rural businesses, particularly when relations are strained. He is one of a diminishing number of practitioners who advise both landlords and tenants in relation to Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancies. As a consequence of this Joel works regularly with other teams across the firm providing expert insight and advice to clients dealing with rural interests.
Joel also specialises in advising insolvency practitioners and LPA receivers in relation to agricultural matters as the only specialist adviser of this type in the country. Farms and estates provide a unique challenge when the business fails, not just with the technicalities of dealing with crops and livestock, but also the human element.
Joel acts for landowners in relation to all types of renewable energy generation and storage. He acted on the first subsidy free PV site in Bedfordshire, acted on the first vanadium flow battery installed on mainland Britain, and lithium ion battery sites. He has also advised on AD, biomass and wind turbine projects.
"A specialist partner on the farming side. He's very experienced, and he's also very pragmatic."
Particular work highlights for Joel have been:
- Restructuring a farm partnership on 3,500 acres in East Midlands.
- Advising a partner on his retirement from the family farming business worth circa £40m.
- Acting for a tenant on the sale on the open market of an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancy, with an associated Case D notice to remedy arbitration. The tenant successfully defeated the landlord’s notice and the landlord was ordered to pay 85% of the tenant’s costs.
- Acting for a bank taking security over a diversified estate in Cornwall which had a complicated time share arrangement in respect of holiday cottages.
- Advising a well known shooting estate on restructuring their shooting rights in order to take advantage of Business Property relief for Inheritance tax which would have the result of saving circa £400,000 of tax on death.
"A first-class agricultural team"
After completing his MSc in Chemistry at the University of Bristol, Joel undertook the Post Graduate Diploma in Law and LPC at the University of the West of England. He trained with a commercial firm in Bristol and moved to the agriculture team at Burges Salmon on qualification. After 6 years at Burges Salmon he was head hunted in 2011 to lead and rejuvenate the agriculture team at Foot Anstey, a law firm with offices across the South West Peninsular. He joined the Wright Hassall team in 2018.
NARA: The Association of Property and Fixed Charge Receivers
Outside work Joel is a keen cyclist, regularly taking part in Sportives, including the Dartmoor Classic, a long-distance ride across Dartmoor in Devon.