A farm lawyer is a lawyer whose expertise lies in agricultural law. Agricultural law is a broad subject covering all the legal issues faced by the rural farming community today.
What is farm law?
The definition encompasses UK and EU legislation regarding:
- Estate planning
- Animal welfare
- Pesticide regulation
- Subsidy reforms
Agriculture lawyers must also have an understanding of:
- Environmental law
- Contract law
- Property law
Changes in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and problems with its implementation are major areas of practice within agricultural law. Farms must be run with all the developments in agricultural law in mind, and lawyers must be able to advise on relational areas of the law.
When a farmer needs to diversify from traditional agricultural activities in order to bring in extra revenue for their farm, a lawyer should be consulted as new ventures can have inheritance tax and agricultural property relief implications.
If you are a farm worker it is important to know that your employment rights differ from other types of employees. The minimum wage to which you are entitled you is dependent on your assigned category and grade.
Agricultural workers’ rights are set out in the ‘Agricultural Wage Order’ and your contract of employment has to meet the minimum rights set out in the order. There are also special provisions for agricultural workers’ rest breaks and the calculation of holiday pay and sick pay.
There are separate conditions for trainees and apprentices on the farm. A lawyer will be able to advise you about these distinctions and the corresponding rights in more detail, and help you protect your interests.
How can a farm lawyer help you?
Farm or agricultural solicitors are vital if you are being prosecuted under any of the existing agricultural laws or regulations. These include:
- Animal welfare law
- Organic produce regulations
- Environmental policies, for example, pollution
If you are presented with any litigation claims, it is crucial to contact solicitors with farming legal experience as soon as you can.
In addition, farm lawyers can also be a great help if you are thinking of expanding or diversifying your farm into other industries. There could, for instance, be inheritance tax issues to consider with regards to your new business venture. Before moving forwards, always consult with solicitors to ensure you are fully aware of the financial consequences of your new venture.
Solicitors can be a huge help if you need to bring a case against another business or even a member of the public. Damage and trespass are common cases that farmers bring to the courts. Farm lawyers working for your business’ best interests are important to ensure your case has the best chance of a positive outcome.
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