Land Management

Land Management

We act for over two hundred rural estates across the country of varying scale, use and composition, both for private and institutional landowners. Many of our clients have instructed Forsters (and its predecessor firm) for decades. We take the long view and keep up to date focus on developments in the sector, including Renewables and Rural Development as well as policy changes impacting rural business and Planning.

We advise on an ever-growing range of business activities, from traditional farming practices, both let and in hand, to tourism, rewilding and other means of diversification. Our specialist Tax and Corporate teams allows us to give advice in the round on all aspects of our clients’ businesses to inform long-term strategic decisions.

Our Dispute Resolution team is integrated to provide the necessary expertise and practical approach when disputes arise. We focus on solving problems and securing the best, most efficient result, and we give advice to pre-empt disputes to ensure our clients are protected.

Our work for our clients includes:

  • Tenancies. Our team has national-recognized expertise in all aspects of Agricultural Holdings Act and Farm Business tenancies, leases of rural business units and farm buildings, stud farms and residential tenancies rural and urban (including ASTs) and disputes between landlord and tenant. We supplement this by working closely with our Commercial Real Estate team and utilizing their specialist knowledge on 1954 Act business tenancies.
  • Easements. We advise our clients on the acquisition (including through long use), creation and extent of easements for all matters. We draft and negotiate easements for everything from drainage to private water supplies, rights of way to statutory undertakers and wayleaves. We protect our clients’ interests both at the outset and when disputes arise, whether because another party has questioned our clients’ rights, or because they have trespassed on our clients’ land.
  • Trespass and nuisance. We protect our clients from any interference with their land, in close conjunction with our Property Litigation team.
  • Telecoms leases. We negotiate leases for our clients and help them ensure the lease operates and renews or terminates effectively.
  • Compulsory Purchase. We work closely with our Planning team to assist clients affected by compulsory purchase orders.
  • Boundary disputes. We both defend and advance adverse possession claims for our clients. We draft and negotiate agreements, including through the boundary disputes protocol. We understand how important field margins are to our clients.
  • Subsidies and grant schemes. We keep abreast of developments in this changing area, ensure our clients can maximize the payments available to them and that they are dealt with in tenancies.
  • Minerals and manorial rights. We are adept at helping our clients preserve, protect and exploit their mineral and manorial rights. We know the matter does not rest with registration and have the expertise necessary to advise our clients on the nature and extent of their rights, together with the experience to protect and exploit them in practice. This can be as simple as extraction leases, or as complex as obtaining declarations from the Court as to the extent of particularly complicated historical reservations and manorial rights being trespassed on by surface owners.
  • Rivers. We advise our clients on the law and practice surrounding rivers tidal and non-tidal, including flood defence, both on their riparian rights and obligations and on the opportunities they present for conservation and environmental stewardship.
  • Employees. We work with our Employment team to draw up employment contracts and service occupancies for employees.
  • Unregistered land. We act for our clients to register land, including where they have acquired it through adverse possession.
  • Settled land. We are one of few firms with the expertise to advise the trustees and tenants for life of Settled Land Act property.

Our Rural Land and Business team also have particular expertise in:

“The firm is excellent. It has a high profile and a good reputation for the work it does. It is well organised and everyone is responsive.”
Chambers HNW Guide, 2023