Success in family farm dispute.
Partner Naomi Ireson recently represented Mr and Mrs B in a farm dispute against Mr B’s parents.
Mr B was part of a Somerset farming family and the dispute related to the land and buildings on the family farm. The farm comprised the home of Mr B’s parents, a timber stable block and equine facilities, together with dilapidated barns. There was a family agreement for Mr and Mrs B to apply for planning permission to convert one of the barns into a dwelling for them and their young family, and to use the equine facilities to run their horse breeding business from. It was agreed between the family that if the planning application was successful, Mr and Mrs B would sell their existing home and purchase the land for an agreed price. Mr B’s parents actively encouraged this and were totally behind the arrangement.
Planning was permitted and as agreed, Mr and Mrs B sold their family home and moved into a caravan with their young children on site. They began work on renovating the barn and land in reliance on the agreement with Mr B’s parents that they would purchase the land and building for the agreed price.
However, Mr B’s parents subsequently decided to go back on the agreement and demanded an increased purchase price to cover the tax implications of selling the land. Mr and Mrs B were shocked. They contacted Naomi Ireson for advice and Naomi told them that they could enforce the terms of the original agreement at the agreed price. Although the legal title of the farm was in Mr B’s mother’s sole name, Naomi pursued a claim for ‘beneficial ownership’ of the part of the farm by virtue of a ‘common intention constructive trust’. She also raised estoppel, a legal principle which prevents people from reneging on promises.
After presenting the case, a mediation took place which resulted in an out of court settlement being reached with Mr B’s parents. It provided Naomi’s clients with a six figure sum.
Following the conclusion of the case, Mr and Mrs B gave the following feedback on the service they had received:
“We had never had dealings with a legal representative in the past, but Naomi made what was a very stressful situation for us easier to deal with by effectively explaining our legal position, and her action plan. She was always quick to respond if we didn’t understand something, kept us informed as to when she would make contact with us – she was just completely awesome throughout.
We will be forever grateful for Naomi’s professionalism and reassurance. We will be recommending Slee Blackwell with sincere gratitude.”