Rural & Agricultural Law

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Rural and Agricultural Advice

The agricultural economy is facing its greatest challenge in a generation following the Brexit decision. The UK law which governs so much of our rural life is built upon the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), so we can expect seismic changes in the next few years as we transition away from the CAP. It is in these periods of turbulence and uncertainty that the need for truly specialist legal advice arises. There has never been more important time to have a firm grasp of the current rules and to have a clear vision of the future developments in store for the agricultural community.

How we can help?

Our specialist team of agricultural lawyers is based at our South Molton office. They deal with both rural affairs on Exmoor and the wider farming community in North Devon. The team is overseen by Brett Lawrence a Partner and specialist property lawyer. The team also includes Helen Hine, herself a farmer’s daughter.

What makes us different?

In many legal firms agricultural work falls between two stalls: the technical complexities of farmland will invariably be dealt with by the property team while matters such as the creation of partnership agreements and other finance work are likely to be dealt with by the commercial team. Slee Blackwell Solicitors are different. Our Rural and Agricultural team will take care of all your affairs. Matters will be dealt with by a dedicated lawyer throughout so that continuity of service can be guaranteed.

So, by choosing Slee Blackwell you are assured that your legal affairs won’t be managed by a range of different people, in different departments, in different offices, but by one person who will make it their job to understand your individual needs and establish a close working relationship with you.

Our experience

Being based in the heart of Devon, our South Molton office deals almost exclusively with agricultural and rural law. This involves us dealing with a broad spectrum of work including matters as diverse as hunting rights in the Southwest outside of the Duchy of Cornwall, the reservation of fishing rights and the transfer of working farms as a going concern.

We work closely with the agricultural teams at the major banks and financial institutions. We have also established close links with other farming and agricultural professionals, including accountants, land agents and farm business advisors. We know that our job fits into a bigger picture with a requirement to work in tandem with others to give you the best commercial advantage possible. We are not precious about what we do, but we do take pride in what we do.

Unique local knowledge

Our local knowledge, acquired over generations, and familiarity with local planning requirements gives us an edge. This can be a huge benefit for clients seeking assistance with matters such as planning agreements under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act. We are also very familiar with the requirements of North Devon District Council, Torridge District Council and Exmoor National Park, amongst others.

Service areas

Here are just a few examples of the type of work our agricultural and rural lawyers deal with:

  • The creation of Farm Business Tenancies.
  • The termination of Agricultural Holdings.
  • Refinancing of farms and other rural businesses.
  • Inter-generational family transfers of farm businesses.
  • Supporting legal work for restructuring farm businesses, normally with a view to mitigating taxation implications.
  • Granting and reserving hunting fishing and other Manorial rights.
  • Purchase and sales of farms and farmland.
  • The creation of Section 106 agreements with either agricultural ties or local needs housing requirements.

This is not an exhaustive list, rather just an indication of the type work we deal with on a daily basis. If you have any questions regarding a matter that is not on the list then please speak to us.

Brett Lawrence

Partner – Property
Brett trained with Slee Blackwell and has worked in four of the firms five offices. He also sits on the Devon and Exeter Law Society education and training sub-committee.

01769 575981
[email protected]

John Pearn

Consultant – Rural Property
John is based in South Molton and specialises in rural property matters. He joined Slee Blackwell in 1974, and became a partner in 1976.

01769 575981
[email protected]