Agricultural tenancy reform update

In an earlier edition of Rural News, we considered the proposals put forward in the Defra Consultation Paper on Agricultural tenancies. The most controversial of these proposals were: for AHA tenancies to be assignable by a Tenant at a premium where no eligible successor remained; the extension of the category of eligible relatives to include […]

Legal guide to buying a farm

The pandemic has led to greater appreciation of the countryside and of shopping locally, which is good news for the agricultural sector. Agriculture has long been seen as a secure investment, but now with so many companies encouraging home-working, we’re seeing a bubble of buyers deciding to relocate to rural life on a farm. If […]

Family law and property transactions – unregistered land

As family lawyers, we work closely with colleagues in other teams to provide expertise to our clients going through relationship or marital break-up. This work could relate to company affairs, or ensuring our separating clients have their Wills and estate planning in order. Such matters often involve our property team. In most relationship breakdowns there’s […]

Holiday time for stamp duty

In his Summer Statement the Chancellor announced a temporary reduction in residential stamp duty land tax (SDLT) rates in England and Northern Ireland. The reduction applies to contracts exchanged between 8 July 2020 and 11.59pm, 31 March 2021. It means that the nil-band rate (below which no SDLT is payable) is increased from £125,000 to […]

What is Occupiers’ Liability and how can you protect yourself against it?

If a visitor on your land or premises falls or injures themselves, what occupiers’ liability might you have? There are two acts you need to be aware of, Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and Occupiers Liability Act 1984 (“the Acts”). These Acts impose a duty of care on occupiers to both lawful visitors and trespassers respectively. […]

The Agriculture Bill

At the time of writing this article (the end of February), the Agriculture Bill is wending its way through the parliamentary process and is expected to receive Royal Assent in June or July 2020. There are few surprises in the Bill which constitutes enabling legislation and which will be followed, in due course, by the […]

Lifetime farm valuations; ‘hope’ value and the importance of getting it right

Lifetime valuations can be a useful strategic tool for landowners. A forthcoming succession, pre-death tax planning when creating a Will, the anticipated sale or development of land, changes in tax reliefs and when considering using land for secured borrowing are all potential triggers for requiring a lifetime valuation. In the context of succession, a valuation […]

UK points-based immigration system policy update

On 19 February, the government published the first details about its proposed new Immigration system planned to be operational on 1 January 2021. The government’s new system is designed to attract “highly skilled workers”, rather than the low skilled workers. Under the new system, employers will have to hold a ‘sponsor licence’ to employ all […]

Seasonal worker scheme multiplies by four

Following concerns over a lack of migrant labour as a consequence of Brexit, the government is significantly expanding its Seasonal Workers Pilot, which was first announced in 2018, in order to boost the UK horticulture sector for the 2020 harvest. The scheme, which permits agricultural businesses to take on seasonal migrant workers from outside the […]

Farming divorces

Dealing with a divorce is stressful enough but when farmers divorce there are usually additional considerations. It is not uncommon for both spouses to work on the farm, for their matrimonial home to be on the farm, for wider family members to work or live on the farm and for long working hours to be […]

Smart farming – have you got the legal issues covered?

Technology has always played a vital role in the agricultural sector and it should be no surprise that Smart Farming is due to increase significantly in the coming years given the needs of a rapidly growing global population, the requirement for increased yields and global warming threats. What is smart farming? A group of technologies […]

COVID-19: how to make your house move happen

The UK government has now issued guidance to those buying or selling their home during the Covid-19 lockdown. This update clarifies what you can do now – whether you are considering buying or selling, already have an offer accepted or have already exchanged contracts and are waiting to complete your transaction. The key message, that we are […]

Funding care for farmers

For anyone requiring long-term care the impact on family can be devastating, but for farmers it can affect their business as well as their home life – and often the two are intertwined. The financial implications of a farmer unable to work the land, or a family carer having to run the farming business at […]

Assets of community value

The recent case of Banner Homes Limited v St Albans City and District Council illustrates how the Asset of Community Value scheme can cause problems to development. In this particular case, a field was listed as an Asset of Community Value (“ACV”) – despite its use by the local community having been unlawful.

Succession Planning for Farmers – Top tips for success

Farming succession is absolutely imperative to the success of individual farmers, but it is also integral to the overall agricultural picture in the UK. Factors such as falling revenue across the rural sector, increased competition from foreign competitors and the evolving nature of the ‘modern farmer’ all contribute to the importance of planning correctly for […]

The Digital Economy Act: introducing the “New Code”

The 27th April 2017 brought the Digital Economy Act, a refreshed version of the previous Digital Economy Act of 2010. As well as updating sentencing for criminal copyright infringement, the most interesting aspect is the so called “New Code”, which replaces the existing electronic communications code found in both the Telecommunications Act 1984 and the […]

Septic tanks a dirty word

When you are marvelling in the peace and tranquillity of having bought a home in the countryside, you are unlikely to find yourself in your new garden, enjoying the spring blossoms whilst considering the subject of sewage.  Although a dirty word, come 2020, ‘sewage’ will be at the forefront of the minds of most sellers […]