Agriculture & Rural Affairs

The team at St John’s Chambers is regularly instructed in cases involving contentious probate, property disputes and trusts and estates work, to name a few areas of expertise within the agricultural space."

Legal 500  2022

St John’s Chambers is the leading barristers’ set in the South West in the field of Agricultural and Rural Affairs. Our barristers understand the needs of the agricultural sector and offer a specialist service which covers all aspects of rural land ownership and farming.

One particular case of note is Habberfield v Habberfield, a Court of Appeal case centering around the initial decision to order compensation of a farmer’s daughter who had been promised her parent’s farm; Leslie Blohm QC led Christopher Jones to successfully defeat the appeal brought by the surviving parent. Alex Troup is another key figure within the team, with recent cases involving contentious probate, proprietary estoppel, and family disputes concerning the sale of farmland.

Another member of the team, Adam Boyle, recently acted in a week-long hotly contested trial concerning a Farm Business Tenancy (under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995). This case involved complicated issues regarding lease/licence distinctions, the nature of a “grass keep” agreement and implied surrender in an agricultural context. You can read more about this case here.

We are able to respond quickly and provide specialist, practical and cost-effective advice and representation at a level that is appropriate to your requirements, however large or small. We regularly work with landowners, farmers, estates, trustees, land agents, chartered surveyors, tenants, developers and local authorities.

Some of our team are members of the Agricultural Law Association:

Our expertise includes:

  • Farm and agricultural land sales and purchases
  • Options and overage agreements
  • Farm tenancies and agricultural holdings
  • Trusts and succession disputes/planning
  • Water and drainage rights
  • Public and private rights of way
  • Rights of common and profits a prendre
  • Boundary disputes
  • Planning permission, enforcement and permitted development rights
  • Environmental responsibilities
  • Contentious and non-contentious tax matters for farming families,
  • agricultural/farming/rural/landowning businesses, enterprises and individuals
  • Town or Village Green applications
  • Representation at tribunal, arbitration and in court
  • Mediation


As the number of cases being dealt with by way of mediation increases, our mediation team are on hand to help, be it by providing the advocates, mediators or both. Our facilities are specifically designed to meet with clients’ needs for a mediation venue. Read more.

Public Access

Some members of the team are also available to act, where appropriate, for members of the public, as well as for commercial and non-commercial organisations, under the Public Access scheme.

Publications and training

Some members have published books and articles on issues relevant to the agricultural sector. The team delivers workshops and seminars in Chambers and regional centres. We also provide training on behalf of local Law Societies, for specialist organisations such as the Agricultural Law Association, and in conjunction with solicitors’ firms. In addition we can give tailored in-house training for particular firms. If you would like any further information please contact Paul Bennett on 0117 923 4793 or email: [email protected].

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