Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Agriculture and estates

Keystone Law is praised for its ‘fast and efficient service’ - Samantha Leigh advises clients across the full spectrum of the rural industry.

Agriculture and estates in London

Boodle Hatfield LLP

Led by Saskia Arthur and Hayden Bailey, the ‘thorough and responsive‘ team at Boodle Hatfield LLP advises on the full range of issues from providing strategic tax advice to advising on day-to-day property matters. Across its offices in London and Guildford, it continues to act for some of the largest estates in the country and is skilled at handling the sale and purchase of valuable residential properties, farms and agricultural land. Other core areas of expertise include advising on disputes concerning the ‘modern family’ and helping clients with devolution and development issues. It continues to develop its reputation as one of the key firms for young entrepreneurial heirs and owners of landed estates who are setting up new business ventures. The team is sought after for its work with key landed estates that also have entrepreneurial businesses such as vineyards and renewable energy operations. Consultant Sue Laing and Andrea Zavos are among the other esteemed members of the group.

Responsables de la pratique:

Saskia Arthur; Hayden Bailey

Autres avocats clés:

Sue Laing; Andrea Zavos

Les références

‘Very competent landed estates practice with a rich heritage of clients. Clients stick with them for generations, and for good reason’.

‘Hayden Bailey is a brilliant partner who is technically gifted. Furthermore, he doesn’t overcomplicate projects or seek to generate unnecessary work. He takes a very pragmatic approach, putting the client first’.

‘Saskia Arthur has a wealth of experience to bring to any transaction. She is quick to get to the heart of any issue and to address it in a way and with an explanation that is easily understandable by the client. She is exceptionally commercial in all of her work’.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP  ‘delivers a high quality of service’. The nimble team receives a steady flow of instructions from many of the largest and most significant institutional landowners, estates and agri-businesses nationally. It has immense experience in succession and wealth planning matters as well as in complex trusts, wills and probate; another core area of focus is advising on capital tax issues. The practice has many experienced practitioners including department head Tom Hewitt. Kevin Kennedy plays a key role in many high-value agricultural disputes, while Ross Simpson garners praise for his work on a wide range of matters from land reform and community rights to buy issues, to advising on Scottish agricultural holdings and crofting. Maddie Dunn has particular expertise in farming partnership and tenancy disputes, as well as the full gamut of disputes that arise from rural land ownership and equine matters. Sian Edmunds is no longer at the firm following her move to an in-house position.

Responsables de la pratique:

Tom Hewitt

Autres avocats clés:

Kevin Kennedy; Ross Simpson; Maddie Dunn; Emma Folkes

Les références

‘The rural team have excellent strength and breadth across the sector. In a changing landscape they have engaged in thought leadership which puts them apart from their competitors and much appreciated by clients. Kevin Kennedy and Emma Folkes. They both have excellent knowledge and deliver pragmatic advice in a timely fashion’.

‘Tom Hewitt is a very experienced private client practitioner with a good manner in dealing with clients and a very good understanding of what makes clients with farms and estates tick and the sort of advice which they need. He is very personable, approachable and conscientious’. 

‘Ross Simpson was very approachable, easy to communicate with, keen to move the case forward. Speed of response was exceptional, communications were clear and precise. He dealt with all matters with precision and speed, at the same time, in a pleasant manner’.

Principaux clients

The Crown Estate

National Trust

The Woodland Trust

Yeo Valley – including family farming business

The Leckford Estate, owned by John Lewis/Waitrose

Environment Agency

Earl of Plymouth estates

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised the Earl of Plymouth and other trustees in the high-profile case of Earl of Plymouth v Rees. These cases ultimately involved two arbitrations, three High Court claims, and a Court of Appeal hearing, and confirmed and explained the law relating to access to tenanted land.
  • Acting for a major minority shareholder in a group of interconnected family companies. The matter, which has a number of complexities related to shares held by family trusts, involves multiple connected unfair prejudice petitions.
  • Advised a charitable foundation on the acquisition of all eight of its initial diverse and interesting sites around the British Isles covering over 15,000 acres.

Farrer & Co

Led by Simon Pring, the outstanding team at Farrer & Co has considerable expertise in this area and is praised for its ‘robust and clear advice‘. It is acknowledged as one of the leading firms in the market for its work with an array of land-owning institutions, large estates, rural businesses and individual wealthy landowners. Edmund Fetherston-Dilke is sought after for his advice on diverse matters such as rights of way, sporting rights and riparian issues. Paul Krafft advises private, charity and institutional clients on all aspects of agricultural and rural ownership, while James Maxwell specialises in the sale and purchase of rural estates and agricultural land; he is a leading name in the area of mineral rights. Senior associate Rose Gurney specialises in advising on the buying and selling of rural and mixed estates, dealing with sporting rights, tenancy matters, mineral leases and options.

Responsables de la pratique:

Simon Pring

Autres avocats clés:

Paul Krafft; James Maxwell; Edmund Fetherston-Dilke; Rose Gurney; Emily Zethraeus; Thomas Kirkman; Patrick Hammond

Les références

Farrer & Co are experts in their field and combine fantastic attention to detail with expert legal advice and we consider them to be a core part of our team. James Maxwell and Thomas Kirkman in particular will go above and beyond to be available to assist us with urgent needs and provide the best advice at all times’.

‘A highly intelligent, personable and interested set of individuals. Simon Pring – Experience and breadth as well as depth of knowledge’.

‘Emily Zethraeus is a first class solicitor, providing clear, coherent advice which is delivered in a very user-friendly manner. Emily is extremely responsive, enabling deals to be driven forwards in a timely fashion’.

Principaux clients

Duchy of Lancaster

Duchy of Cornwall

Church Commissioners for England

The Crown Estate

Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited

All Souls College, Oxford

Forsters LLP

The large team at Forsters LLP has an excellent reputation in the market and is led by Henry Cecil, who has a vast array of experience in high-value acquisitions and disposals in the agricultural sector. Its sophisticated client base includes sizeable landed estates, families and trusts, private and commercial investors as well as very wealthy individuals, and institutional and landowner groups. Andrew Lane has a particular emphasis on capital taxation and succession issues for the owners of landed estates. Christopher Findley is increasingly advising on planning and development projects for farmers and landowners. Rupert Mead has a keen focus on the preservation of heritage property and its exemption from tax. Penny Elliott specialises in advising clients with multiple business interests. There have been a number of internal promotions in the practice recently - Polly Montoneri was promoted to the partnership and Robert Keylock is was promoted to counsel.

Responsables de la pratique:

Henry Cecil

Autres avocats clés:

Penny Elliott; Andrew Lane; Christopher Findley; Rupert Mead; Polly Montoneri; Robert Keylock; Adam Saunby

Les références

‘Depth of team, attention to detail and professionalism’.

‘Work to tight deadlines. Can do approach to the job’.

‘Pragmatic, friendly, communicative and knowledgeable. Henry Cecil and Adam Saunby are key names’.

Withers LLP

Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall and Matthew Woods co-head the first-rate department at Withers LLP, which acts for over 130 landed estates across England and Wales. In addition, the team is regularly instructed by clients entering the rural UK property market for the first time. As a number of its clients are also resident or domiciled abroad, the group is well placed to advise on a myriad of trusts and cross-border planning matters. In addition to its more traditional landed estate clients, it is also increasingly advising clients who are purchasing rural land for rewilding purposes. Edward Jarron is another name to note for his work on a broad range of complex property matters in the landed estate sector as well as other areas spanning country houses, development sites and renewable projects. David Holland was promoted to the partnership; he acts for individuals, trusts and companies in connection with the acquisition and disposal of rural property.

Responsables de la pratique:

Bertie Hoskyns-Abrahall; Matthew Woods

Autres avocats clés:

Edward Jarron; David Holland

Les références

‘Great knowledge and diverse expertise across all sectors of the property legal fields’.

‘Bertie Hoskyns Abrahall, David Holland, Ed Jarron are all excellent lawyers with great knowledge, experience and skill’.

‘Very good client base and strong private client firm’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Spearheaded by Bart Peerless and Henry Fea, the nimble team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP primarily focuses on providing specialist tax and trust advice for intergenerational succession. It deals extensively with ultra-high-net-worth families and their businesses both in the UK and overseas. As well as advising on all aspects of strategic land purchases and sales, it excels in advising on issues relating to art collections and heritage properties. Another core area of expertise for the group is advising landed estates on a wide range of disputes, from high-value divorces to contentious property matters. Robert Blower specialises in all aspects of private client work and acts for many well-known estate owning families, advising on estate, tax and succession structuring issues. William Begley is also highly regarded.

Responsables de la pratique:

Bart Peerless; Henry Fea

Autres avocats clés:

Robert Blower; William Begley; Terence Bennett

Les références

Excellent technical knowledge delivered with strong commercial awareness‘.

‘Very approachable and make themselves available when they obviously have other demands on their time. Bart Peerless is very practical and commercial. Terence Bennett is great at assimilating the facts of a case and providing relevant advice’.

Michelmores LLP

The ‘commercially astute‘ team at Michelmores LLP is co-led by Ben Sharples and Vivienne Williams. Sharples excels in advising on biodiversity net gain and other issues such as nutrient neutrality, while Williams specialises in contentious agricultural work and is well respected for her advice on an array of landlord and tenant issues, farming partnerships and co-ownership disputes. The agile team draws on the expertise of its colleagues to advise on a myriad of other issues from transactional property and strategic development work, to advising clients on planning and commercial matters.

Responsables de la pratique:

Ben Sharples; Vivienne Williams

Autres avocats clés:

Charlotte Razay; Erica Williams; Adam Corbin

Les références

‘One of the leading firms in this practice area, with a number of very experienced solicitors who know a great deal about agricultural disputes’.

‘Ben Sharples: an outstandingly good solicitor, with an excellent grasp of the law and of the technical aspects of agriculture and property, and an outstanding tactician. The best there is’.

‘Michelmores is without a shadow of the doubt the most skilled, capable and impressive team of agricultural litigators and non-contentious lawyers in the country. It should be the first port of call for anyone with a rural or agricultural matter that requires specialist and high-quality advice’.

Principaux clients

Forestry Commission

Clinton Devon Estates

Environment Bank Limited

Hestercombe Garden Trust Limited

Pontypool Park Estate

Nijjar Group Holdings Acton Limited

Bradford Estates

Foundation for Common Land

Avon Needs Trees

FWAG (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group)

Principaux dossiers

  • Acted for the defendants in the reported case of Williams v Williams and Others [2022] concerning an agricultural partnership dispute and claims in proprietary estoppel following the death of one of the partners.
  • Advised the Forestry Commission concerning the first nutrient neutrality deal to be finalised in England.
  • Advised the Foundation for Common Land in relation to two pilot projects in the New Forest and Malvern Hills AONB in the context of DEFRA’s Landscape Recovery Scheme Test and Trial projects.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Michael Aubrey heads up the department at Mills & Reeve LLP, and has considerable expertise in advising on major infrastructure and development projects as well as large-scale renewable energy schemes. The practice has a national reach and skilfully deals with the complete range of matters relating to rural land and the agribusiness sector. In addition to its traditional farming clients, it acts for several of the landowning Cambridge and Oxford colleges, several pension funds, numerous prestigious landed estates and many substantial national farming businesses. Amanda Tagg is recommended for her transactional advice to institutional landowners on all aspects of their agricultural property portfolios, and Tim Ryan also plays a pivotal role in the practice.

Responsables de la pratique:

Michael Aubrey

Autres avocats clés:

Tim Ryan; Amanda Tagg

Principaux clients

Oxford University Endowment Management

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting on the acquisition of the Exning Estate in Newmarket. This multi-faceted rural estate comprises 719 hectares of commercial, residential and agricultural properties including an Equine Hospital, 155 acre solar farm and 40 residential dwellings.
  • Advising Christ Church and its JV partner on all aspects of the promotion of a 1,540 home site at Bayswater, Oxford.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP has a ‘great combination of high-end private client expertise and a central London location, making the agricultural practice first class‘. The nimble team works with the owners of over 50 farms, estates and country houses varying in size from 150 acres to well over 30,000 acres. Some of these estates are worth over £300m, and many of which have houses and grounds that are open to the public. Practice head Simon Blackburn advises UK and overseas clients on all aspects of managing farms, estates and country houses. Robert Brodrick acts for trustees and owners of landed estates on various tax and estate planning matters, and Rosamond McDowell advises a substantial number of landed estate owners, estate managers and trustees on a broad range of planning, trust and probate matters.

Responsables de la pratique:

Simon Blackburn

Autres avocats clés:

Robert Brodrick; Rosamond McDowell; Rupert Burchett

Les références

‘The team has evident strength in its depth of knowledge and contacts within the sector. It also can draw on highly experienced colleagues in other departments of the firm when required to give concise advice to clients’.

‘Simon Blackburn – Simon is readily available to speak to and provides excellent advice, showing an in depth knowledge of his subject. He is also very personable and down to earth which clients and other professionals quickly relate to’.

‘Quick, knowledgeable and personable. Prepared to put the work in’.

BDB Pitmans

Under the joint leadership of Tristan Ward and Paddy Lynam, BDB Pitmans remains busy advising numerous high-net-worth individuals and high-profile British and international families on various legal issues relating to their rural property. Clients include those who have derived their wealth from rural properties as well as those who have made their wealth in other industries and wish to own rural property. Hugo Smith specialises in estate and tax planning matters with particular expertise in landed estates and heritage assets.

Responsables de la pratique:

Tristan Ward; Paddy Lynam

Autres avocats clés:

Hugo Smith

Les références

‘Great personable skills and good accessibility to partners. Clients well advised and kept up to speed. Paddy Lynam and Tristan Ward are key names’.

‘Constantly finding solutions rather than problems’.

‘Paddy Lynam is a dynamic operator in his prime. Easily contactable and seeing the bigger picture for his clients. Tristan Ward has an encyclopaedia of the minutiae and can see how they can impact on a given transaction. The ultimate duo to have in your corner’.

Principaux clients

The Royal Agricultural Society of England


Mansfields Farms

Moore Barlow

Sarah Jordan leads a large and experienced team at Moore Barlow, which is well placed to advise its broad client base of landed estates, farmers, private landowners and equestrian businesses on a wide range of issues. Jordan and Ed Whittington, who is another leading member of the department, are both Fellows of the Agricultural Law Association. Charlotte Brackley has recently been promoted to the partnership, and has significant transactional experience in buying and selling farms, agricultural land and country houses, and also handles agricultural secured lending and strategic refinancing matters.

Responsables de la pratique:

Sarah Jordan

Autres avocats clés:

Charlotte Brackley; Ed Whittington

Les références

‘Very friendly, well regarded agricultural specialists’.

‘Excellent regional practice on the south coast with appropriate disciplines’.

‘My assignment was handled by Charlotte Brackley. Charlotte was not only capable but user friendly, thoughtful, innovative and exuded common sense’.

Principaux clients

The Cowdray Estate

The Grange Estate

Principaux dossiers

  • Acting for The Cowdray Estate on a rural asset management landed estate retainer.
  • Acting for The Grange Hampshire LLP on a rural asset management landed estate retainer.