Forsters is one of a small number of law firms that can deal with both transactional work and strategic advisory matters in relation to landed estates. The practice brings together a range of disciplines to advise clients on their legal, personal and business affairs.
Our clients include trustees of historic estates with houses open to the public, working farmers, entrepreneurs and lifestyle buyers of farms and estates and pension funds, institutional and international investors in rural property. Our partners often act as trustees as well as legal advisors.
The team, drawn from all departments of the firm, works well together for a client base extending throughout England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We understand the increasingly commercial requirements of landed clients and work collaboratively with other professional advisors to devise innovative solutions to the problems that are associated with owning rural property.
Many of the lawyers in the team have spent their professional life advising landowners, and they have a wealth of experience in this area. This enables them to give relevant and focused advice which meets each client's unique requirements. Others are technical specialists in areas such as employment, planning and listed building control, construction law, VAT and SDLT. Their expertise, drawn from experience in advising clients in other sectors, is invaluable to our landed estate clients.
The impact of the global response to coronavirus on farming has added another angle to the already complicated debate around the future of farming in the UK.
If coronavirus has proved one thing, it's that Samuel Johnson was wrong when he said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life". If anything the opposite is now true. With the bright lights of city living suddenly dimmed, the fresh air and open spaces of the countryside have never felt more attractive.
The UK has moved to a new lockdown phase following Boris Johnson's statement on 10 May and subsequent government guidance. We summarise the key points for rural estates.
The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy and the first call on our time and energy is the welfare of friends and relatives. But we must confront the economic implications as well. For rural estates, the connection between the human and the economic is close given the central role they play in binding together communities and looking after the physical landscape. Therefore, it is particularly important that estates take sensible and sensitive financial steps to weather this storm.