Rural news – Issue two

Welcome to the second issue of our rural newsletter, I am delighted to report that our Rural Services team achieved Band 1 status for Agriculture and Rural Affairs work in the legal directories, Chambers & Partners and Tier 1 status for Agriculture and Estates work in the national Legal 500 rankings of top teams. It’s been seven years in the making for myself, Edward Whittington and Philip Whitcomb, and back in 2013 it was a mere pipe dream when we came together to set up our own Rural Services sector team.

Our Rural Property team is currently seeing much transactional work in the country house sector. There was a surge during the Spring and Summer 2020 of buyers from the City purchasing their country homes to ensure they secure some space and peace in their lives post-lockdown in a City. These transactions in themselves offer further opportunities to collaborate and help document contract-farming arrangements, grazing agreements and/or agricultural tenancies over the land that comes with these homes, to local farming families.

Philip Whitcomb’s agricultural tax and trusts team is giving much advice and support on succession planning, APR, BPR and the likes of CGT, and Anita Symington updates us on changes to the Agricultural Tenancy.

Our employment team, as you can imagine, remain busy advising our clients on the consequences of furlough and redundancies, and our agricultural property litigator is becoming increasingly busy with rent-recovery instructions.

Otherwise, insolvency and restructuring of farming enterprises have to remain firmly on the radar as we can’t predict the impact phasing out of BPS will cause, and our lead partner for this area, Heather Dobson, spoke at the ALA’s national farming conference on this very subject.

All in all, we hope this edition will provide our readers with a flavour of current topical legal matters that we’re involved with, and on which we’re advising our clients and their advisers.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Sarah Jordan or anyone detailed in this edition for more information, for advice, or to discuss any plans that might require legal input.