The use of agricultural solicitors

There are many different types of law that affect the agricultural industry, from company law to land law. As such, an agricultural lawyer (a UK-qualified solicitor or barrister that will have knowledge of legal disputes and matters involving agriculture) must be aware of a vast amount of relevant law.

Legal issues affecting the agriculture sector

The agriculture sector includes:

  • Farming activity that includes arable, dairy or sheep farming
  • Farming activity that produces products that include flowers or plants
  • Farming activity that includes land for grazing, meadow or pasture

Agricultural solicitors are able to advise individuals and rural businesses about the wide range of legal issues that are involved in farming. These issues include:

  • Diversification opportunities
  • Quotas
  • Land registrations
  • Farm business tenancies
  • Grazing licences
  • Boundary disputes
  • Contract farming
  • Public and private rights of way
  • Employment

The role of agricultural solicitors

Agricultural solicitors are legal professionals who deal with matters relating to agricultural law. The legal framework of agricultural law is one of the widest and most complex areas of law, and agricultural solicitors must be familiar with all of the legal areas that agricultural law consists of including:

  • Land law
  • Insurance law
  • Tort law and liability
  • Contract law
  • Company law

Agricultural solicitors may specialise in specific agricultural industries, depending on the location of the law firm. In some areas of the UK certain agricultural industries are more prevalent than others. It therefore follows that the agricultural solicitors who operate in those areas will specialise in that particular industry.

An agricultural lawyer commonly has one the broadest knowledge bases of any lawyer. The reason for this is a combination of legal and commercial factors. Agriculture is an extremely varied industry, and the legal framework that governs one aspect of agriculture is quite different from the framework that governs another.

The increase in regulation

One of the more recent developments in the agricultural industry is the increase of procedural red tape. This is mostly due to the fact that as EU laws came into force, more paperwork and procedures ensuring compliance with regulations need to be followed.

This also came at a time where a foot and mouth outbreak and other diseases threatened UK livestock, which truly concerned the British agriculture industry.

If you are involved in agriculture and you are struggling to comply with the legal restrictions and procedures regarding either national or international law, you will benefit from speaking to a solicitor.

A legal professional will be able to help you ensure that you follow all the legal procedures relevant to you, and at the same time prevent you from complying with procedures that are not applicable to your operations.

Resolving disputes

If you are involved in a dispute which relates to agriculture, you may benefit from speaking to a legal professional. Even if the dispute is relatively insignificant, and both sides are communicating and are on good terms, seeking legal advice can help.

In fact, it is often the case that the reason a dispute worsens is because the disputing parties both think that the law is on their side. By seeking professional advice sooner, both parties to a legal dispute might realise that their chances in court are not as good as they thought.

Alternatively, the advice of an agricultural lawyer could confirm that you have a legal right which the other party is not acknowledging, allowing you to proceed with your dispute with confidence.

If your dispute relates to farming in particular, see our page on using a farm lawyer.

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