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Esther Stirling, Partner, Head of Agricultural Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

Direct Dial: 03301 075 972
Mobile: 07525 594 998

A bit about me

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 [2019] 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.

Want to know more?

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.

Where I work

Read my
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