When it comes to agricultural and equine litigation, I work on the principle that there is no point having an argument about having an argument. Rather, it’s about stepping back and try to be objective about the problem, while I form a constructive relationship with the other side to get the job done. I’m a strong advocate of alternative dispute resolution and mediation, and if a case doesn’t need to go to court, I’ll do everything I can to keep it out of one.
I’m passionate about farming – if I weren’t a water and fishery lawyer, I would have certainly been a farmer instead! I’ve built up a national reputation in my field, and regularly present and lecture on contentious issues concerning agricultural land. I relish the challenge a lot of my work presents and there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that I’ve helped a family or business to keep farming well.
I represented the successful tenant in the important case of Herefordshire District Council v Bayliss  9 WLUK 147 (First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber), the first decision in England and Wales concerning the service of certain notices to quit of Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies.
As a horse-owner myself, I love racing and have been actively involved in point-to-point events for years. I also love walking in the British countryside; to me, there’s no finer place on Earth.
Write things down. Even if you know the other person really well, you’ll be far better protected if you have a written record of your agreements in the event that you fall out.
Keep talking: whether landlord and tenant, neighbours or commercial partners, communication breakdowns – sometimes, totally innocent ones – are almost always behind disputes.
Stand your ground, but be reasonable: there is always benefit in settling a dispute early on.
Can my landlord make me leave my farm or grazing land?
It very much depends on what law governs your occupation. Usually, they need to follow a particular process very carefully.
My neighbour’s activities mean I cannot enjoy my own land. Do I have a remedy?
If what they are doing amounts to a nuisance, you may be entitled to damages or an injunction. However, I would need to look carefully at how a court would balance the use and enjoyment each party makes of their land.
I have been sold a horse that is dangerous. What can I do?
We need to establish whether there has been a breach of contract, or whether the contract was based on a false statement. You may then be entitled to return the horse, or to damages. We may need an independent professional to assess the horse first.
If you farm under agricultural tenancies (either tenancies to which the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986…Read full article
Public rights of way during Covid-19 pandemic Our Agriculture and Rural Affairs team is advising…Read full article
The UK government’s advice to stay at home has crucial implications for landlords and tenants.…Read full article
In the first English legal decision on the issue, Esther Stirling of our Agriculture and…Read full article
Combining business innovation, agricultural expertise and family activities made this year’s Three Counties Show experience…Read full article
Fishing rights can be acquired in a number of ways. They will often be purchased,…Read full article
In the first post of this series, we set out the general legal principles that…Read full article
After a relatively dry summer, drainage might be the last thing on your mind, but…Read full article