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Given our many years of experience in the rural sector, we’ve come to appreciate the particular issues that affect farmers and other rural businesses.

Napthens’ team of rural specialists provide a range of advice covering agricultural law and other legal issues affecting farmers, their families and employees, landowners and rural businesses of all kinds.

As one of only 15 NFU Legal Panel firms in the country, Napthens acts for many NFU members and plays an active role in local communities.

The team is recommended by ‘Chambers and Partners’ legal directory who say:  “The team understands rural affairs and can see the bigger picture.”

“The solicitors are very hands-on and don’t overcomplicate matters; they come onto the farms and discuss issues face to face.”

Please contact a member of the Rural team for advice including:


My experience of Malcolm was nothing short of first class. Very professional, comprehensive yet compassionate to the situation. Nicola Reeves, Business Development Manager, Admiral Taverns
  • Rural News
  • Rural FAQs

A company has contacted me with a view to erecting a wind turbine on my land. What should I do?
There has been a noticeable increase in the number of planning applications for wind turbines being submitted, with more than 3,000 turbines currently in operation in the UK. Farmers are frequently approached and offered a relatively low sum of money, and perhaps free electricity, for the use of their land to site a turbine. However, wind turbines can be worth far more to investors, and land owners should seek expert advice before making a decision.

As a farmer, why is it important to make a Will?
A Will is important as it ensures that on your death your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes, rather than through the laws of intestacy. Dying without a Will could mean that your assets are distributed in a way that could be detrimental to the continuation of a farming business. Although Agricultural Property Relief may be available to a lot of farmers, there are exceptions to that relief and carefully formulated Wills can help to alleviate the potential burden of Inheritance Tax.

I am in business with my family, do I need a Partnership Agreement?
Without a Partnership Agreement your partnership is governed by the basic terms contained in the historic Partnership Act 1890. The main issue is that if one party wishes to retire or dies, the partnership will automatically end and their share of the partnership must then be distributed to him/her or under his/her will. On many occasions, this leads to family break ups and partnerships being unable to continue. Having a Partnership Agreement will prevent this, by outlining a strategy on the future of the business and any potential sale and agreeing a clear procedure for the departure of any owner.

It looks like my neighbour has encroached onto my land with his boundary or building. Is there anything I can do?
In essence you may have a civil claim for trespass against your neighbour and if your claim is successful this could result in your neighbour being evicted from your land and/or the building being removed. If however, you have been notified of the encroachment due to your neighbour's claim for adverse possession over the land, then the procedure will be slightly different. Of course, it is always better to try and resolve such matters amicably wherever possible.

Should I register my land?
Whilst it is not compulsory to register your land until certain dispositions are completed (eg a gift of land) there are advantages to voluntary registration of your land. Land Registry registration fees are cheaper for voluntary registration than they are for compulsory registration. Farms can often have large deeds packets containing complicated conveyances and it is wise to consider registration at a relatively quiet time, rather than dealing with the unregistered title deeds at a time when you wish to complete a transaction urgently. A further advantage is that once your land has been registered it is harder for other people, for example squatters, to obtain title to your land.

  • Andrew Holden
    Head of Rural
  • Diane France
  • James Allison
    Head of Cumbria and Real Estate
  • James Stocker
  • Melissa Taylor
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