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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

Endorsements & Awards

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latest articles

Watch Now: Your Future Farm

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Australia trade deal: opportunity or threat?

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Farming for the future – which way ahead?

From ‘the tweeting farmer’ (otherwise known as outspoken advocate of sustainable and regenerative farming, Gareth…

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Meet The Speakers - Future of Farming Forum

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Future for farm land – all change?

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Three stages of returning to the family farm – what you need to know

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Top tips for starting up a business

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Looking after horses during lockdown

The new Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations came into force on 4 November 2020 and replaced the…

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Mud on road and other obstructions

Where there’s rain, there’s mud, and we all know that mud on the roads causes…

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Funding the future of farming

The farming industry has known for some time that as a consequence of the UK’s…

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Public access to land – what more has changed?

In our last newsletter, Esther Stirling, Head of Agricultural and Rural Affairs, and Laura Greenman,…

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Can I transport my horse during Covid-19?

We are regularly asked whether horse owners may transport their horses during the coronavirus outbreak,…

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What effect has Covid-19 had on your farm tenancy and how can you avoid disputes?

If you farm under agricultural tenancies (either tenancies to which the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986…

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Resolving property disputes during Covid-19

The number of property disputes tends to increase during times of economic uncertainty, and there’s…

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Walkers continue to use a public right of way across my farm and land – can I stop them under the government’s guidelines?

Public rights of way during Covid-19 pandemic Our Agriculture and Rural Affairs team is advising…

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Can I carry out property inspections during the lockdown and what happens around possession claims and evictions?

The UK government’s advice to stay at home has crucial implications for landlords and tenants.…

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Buying and selling horses

Legal rights When it comes to buying and selling horses, it’s important to understand your…

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Livery yard claims – cover yourself with a livery agreement

Bespoke livery agreement For both horse owners and the livery yard they use, a bespoke…

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If your vet lets you down

Veterinary negligence If you believe that your horse has been misdiagnosed or incorrectly treated by…

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Landmark case for agricultural tenant

A landmark case led by Esther Stirling of our Agriculture and Rural Affairs team has…

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Standstill agreements and Inheritance Act claims

At the moment the law provides a person with six months in which to make…

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An important decision on notices to quit – Herefordshire case clarifies the law

In the first English legal decision on the issue, Esther Stirling of our Agriculture and…

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Documenting everything is key to success

Business disputes often consist of a series of incidents that occur over time. It is…

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Arguing over the fence

Fences give rise to many disputes – damages, repairs, claims; almost every feature of a…

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Tradition and innovation combined at our Three Show stand this year

Combining business innovation, agricultural expertise and family activities made this year’s Three Counties Show experience…

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Protect your fishing rights: Register them or risk losing them

Fishing rights can be acquired in a number of ways. They will often be purchased,…

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Draining water from your land – what happens when there is a flood?

In the first post of this series, we set out the general legal principles that…

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Is Agricultural Tenancy Reform on the way?

Just when we thought the pace of change in agricultural law and policy was fast…

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Food at the heart of Brexit for agriculture

Food production and food security are at the heart of Brexit for the agricultural businesses…

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Food at the heart of Brexit for agriculture

Food production and food security were at the heart of Brexit for the agricultural businesses…

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A lesson about schools

As the nights draw in, all riders long for a dry and well-lit arena in…

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Guns and horses - how to keep the peace

The shooting season is upon us and whilst many people are looking forward to a…

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Beautiful, but potentially deadly for horses

The leaves are turning wonderful shades of brown, gold and red and the nights are…

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Draining water from your land – rights and responsibilities

After a relatively dry summer, drainage might be the last thing on your mind, but…

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Are there eyes in the sky over your land?

New technology is being used increasingly in agriculture, with advances such as GPS, robots, data…

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Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants are frequently imposed to control the future use of land or buildings.  If,…

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The trials and tribulations of horse box conversions

For the horse lovers amongst us, how often do you find yourself attracted by the…

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