The rural sector is a key part of Scotland’s economy, incorporating many different aspects of land and business. These include agriculture, farms, estates, crofting, property development, forestry, natural resources, land rights, energy, diversification and much more. Today, the laws and regulation governing it are evolving rapidly, particularly with the Scottish Government’s commitment to continue the land reform journey.
Anderson Strathern has a proud history of providing specialist legal advice to the rural sector, working with long-established clients through the generations and helping new clients coming into the market. Our team of specialists is second to none in terms of the range and depth of its expertise.
We serve an outstanding client base which includes major estate owners, owner-occupiers, tenants, commercial lenders, property investors, family businesses, charities, community bodies and private individuals. All receive the same attentive level of service, geared to be responsive and effective in helping them achieve their goals. We know businesses are facing a challenging time with the current Covid-19 pandemic. For advice and guidance on this, visit our dedicated Business Hub.
We also have very strong market presence and connections with intermediaries across Scotland and beyond. Providing the full spectrum of legal services needed by owners and occupiers of rural land, due to the size and range of specialisms we have, we can assemble dedicated project teams where required. We are members of Scottish Land & Estates, National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Agricultural Law Association and the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters & Valuers Association. We are a supporter of RSABI and can advise on matters relating to Brexit.
We have two specialists accredited in Agricultural Law by the Law Society of Scotland. We regularly contribute to professional bodies representing the rural sector. We also have access to property litigation experts and numerous lawyers in other disciplines from across the firm, such as private client, charity, corporate, planning and environment, energy, construction and employment.
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How can we help?
Sale, Purchase and Voluntary Registration
Selling and buying estates, farms, forests, rural land and country houses involves many complex and technical areas of law in which we have detailed knowledge.
Our dedicated team of lawyers is familiar with transactions of this kind and can assist you through the whole process. The team has established relationships with surveyors, accountants and banks within the sector. Often handling the creation of securities over rural properties, we’re regularly instructed by banks and other lending institutions. For those who wish to buy land in Scotland we simply offer a definitive mix of professionalism and experience.
Our specialist expertise also enables us to advise landowners on the promotion and sale of land for development.
Responding to Scottish Government policy, we are also assisting landowners across Scotland with the voluntary registration of land.
There are many types of lease in Scotland that affect rural property, each regulated by different statutory procedures. Our highly skilled team of lawyers regularly advise on leases for agricultural holdings, sporting and fishing rights (including syndication) standing commercial timber and crofting and smallholding land tenure.
Other lease types within their remit include telecommunication masts, electricity substations and wayleaves for electricity infrastructure, minerals and aggregates, commercial and retail premises and residential property.
The team also has significant experience on advising landowners on leases to enable energy development.
In addition, we advise on disputes relative to rural leases and property in Scotland
Land Management and Reform
Owners and occupiers of rural land in Scotland can be faced with a plethora of land management issues. Our team is able to provide the specialist support you require for the successful ownership and occupation of rural land.
Our advice and guidance encompasses land reform, public access and rights of way, designations or agreements to deliver conservation or environmental benefit, planning permissions, planning agreements and compulsory purchase.
We also have a unique breadth of experience in areas such as the Common Agricultural Policy and other public funding, the management of sporting and fishing rights and wildlife crime, health and safety legislation and employment law.
Business Structures and Tax Planning
Choosing the most suitable structure for your business can be among the most far reaching decisions you ever have to make.
Our dedicated team can help you with fundamental decisions about operating as a sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited company. We also have extensive experience in advising trusts and charities.
The choice of business structure may affect income, capital and inheritance tax liabilities and will have a key bearing on succession planning.
We work closely with colleagues in our Wealth and Trusts Team to secure the best outcome for you.
A new business structure may be required to facilitate diversification or joint venture projects.