Rural & Agricultural Law

Agriculture & Rural

Whether you run a family business, a company, or an estate we can give you the specialist agricultural and rural advice you need. Hay & Kilner deliver a quality assured service, focusing on your specific requirements, and are committed to securing the best result for you.

How we can help

Our team work closely with your other professional advisers, such as bankers, accountants, and land agents, to ensure that you achieve the best solution in the most tax efficient manner. We have good relationships with many national and regional organisations and recommend that clients in the rural community need their trusted adviser team to work together to achieve the best results.

Farming, agricultural, and rural issues are wide-ranging. We’re here to help you with every legal need you may have in your farming and rural businesses as well as assisting families and individuals who make up our rural communities.

Farming isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life and that is why having the right legal advice to keep your business protected is vital. We are here to help rural businesses grow, from diversifications to rural tourism, we can help you every step of the way.

We understand that agricultural issues may be business related or personal. Our well-rounded team includes specialists in family, property, and corporate law as well as covering all your private client needs from wills and trusts to succession planning.

We are members of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA), the Agricultural Law Association (ALA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

  • Agricultural Property and Tenancy Issues

    If you own any agricultural property, either freehold and tenanted, we will work as your trusted advisers and liaise closely with local and national land agents, experienced in agricultural matters, to give you detailed advice tailored specifically to your needs.

    It is important that you take advice before entering into any new tenancies to ensure that the appropriate provisions are incorporated. When your tenancy ends, you may be entitled to compensation and there may be tax implications.

    We can advise you on the granting of new tenancies, the surrendering of tenancies and any replacement tenancies. At your request, we will work closely with your accountant and land agent to ensure that the best solution is obtained for you.

  • Succession and Inheritance Tax

    If you own land, property, or a business, you should have an effective succession plan in place, whether this is through a Will, partnership Agreement, trusts or a combination of all these. Traditionally, farms are passed down through successive generations, but it is crucially important that your property and business assets are inherited according to your wishes so that you can preserve them for the next generation.

    The issues involved are complex and costly, and lengthy disputes can easily be avoided when expert legal advice is taken. We can advise you on capital gains tax, inheritance tax and the appropriate reliefs that may apply.

    We can advise on the availability of agricultural and business property reliefs, steps you can take to maximise reliefs, and how you can make best use of the reliefs available to you when you die.

    We can draw up an effective Will and, where necessary, create a trust. Even where you have succession plans in place, you should regularly review your affairs. Your Will also needs to accurately identify the agricultural and business assets you own. We can ensure that you leave such assets to the correct beneficiaries of your estate.

    We can also help you to effectively structure your business in order to take full advantage of the tax reliefs and allowances available at any given time. We can advise and prepare Partnership Agreements for you that “dovetail” with your Will and discuss how you can make provision for the non-farming members of your family.

    We can prepare Powers of Attorney to make sure that your family can continue to manage your affairs even when you have lost capacity. Farms like any other business need to have contingency plans in place for these unforeseen events.

    Read more about our Private Client services.

  • Renewable Energy

    If you are considering participating in a renewable energy scheme, such as a wind or solar farm, you should obtain professional advice as soon as possible and certainly before you enter into any form of agreement.

    Our expansive rural team will guide you through the process so that you can achieve a suitable deal as well as advising you on related planning issues, and the potential environmental and ecological impact of your wind farm (including offshore wind turbines).

  • Agricultural Disputes

    Disputes in connection with agricultural land can involve:

    • Property-related disputes: for example, boundaries, rights of way, trespassers, or undisclosed tenancies
    • Planning and environmental disputes: for example, pollution, statutory nuisance and construction matters
    • Employment disputes: between employers and employees whether on farms or in other agricultural businesses
    • Contractual disputes: including disagreements with suppliers, customers, land users or utility providers
    • Partnership disputes: which, if unresolved can cause material disruption and potentially lead to the dissolution of a farming partnership
    • Estate disputes following the death of a farmer or other landowner relating to the division of assets and the ongoing management of the land

    Other common areas of dispute include matters under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (for example notices to quit, rent review, and repairs and dilapidations); and under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (breaches of covenant, insolvency and forfeiture).

    If you are considering taking legal action or are defending a claim against you, we can work in your best interests to avoid going to court by alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation. If litigation becomes unavoidable, we will work with you to produce the best possible outcome in court for you and your business.

    Find out more about our Litigation & Dispute Resolution team.

  • Family Law

    Divorce can be a complex enough process at the best of times, but when set in a farming context, dealing with the complexities can be even more challenging.

    The changes to the law have provided a useful reminder of just how important it is for farming families to do as much planning in advance as possible for managing future situations which, while no-one wants to think about them at the beginning of a marriage, will be far easier to deal with if they do arise.

    We regularly deal with cases where, due to the lack of up-to-date partnership agreements, ownership documentation and shareholder agreements, the assets of parents and even grandparents can come into unwelcome focus within divorce cases.

    If you need advice on this, or any other family matters, please get in touch.

  • Regulatory & Compliance

    We understand the complexities of agricultural land and farming or related rural activities. Our regulatory & compliance specialists have extensive experience in guiding clients involved in this sector and are here to help should you face a regulatory investigation.

    We have assisted clients, and can assist you, with any investigations and prosecutions by:

    • The Environment Agency
    • The Health & Safety Executive
    • The Rural Payments Agency
    • The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
    • The RSPCA
    • Trading Standards
    • Police
  • Rural Leisure Pursuits

    Hay & Kilner's team know that leisure pursuits are very much part and parcel of rural life but it is crucial that you, as a landowner or a tenant, know the extent of your rights and obligations.

    We can advise on rights which exist over your land, how they can be protected and how to enforce them.

Very personable and knowledgeable with a down to earth and common-sense approach to matters.

Legal 500

I work closely on projects with Alison Hall and Joanne Milne, they are so practical and helpful to both me and the client. They put themselves in the clients’ shoes and come up with great solutions that help the client.

Chambers & Partners

The team are very approachable. They put clients at ease and offer them practical and workable solutions to problems.

Chambers & Partners

Meet the team

Relevant insights & events

Our regular agricultural updates and events keep you up to date with all the latest legal developments you need to know about.

Get in touch

For further information on how we can help, click below to leave us a message and we will be back in touch as soon as possible.

‘Hay & Kilner’ and ‘Hay & Kilner Law Firm’ are both trading names of Hay & Kilner LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales with registered number OC418767. Our registered office is at The Lumen, St James' Boulevard, Newcastle Helix, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5BZ and we are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Authorisation number 643191). We use the word ‘partner’ to refer to a member of Hay & Kilner LLP. A list of the members is available at our registered office.