Legal advice articles

From our business supporters Wright Hassall and Shakespeare Martineau

With a farming heritage spanning 170 years, Rural Hub Business Supporter Wright Hassall in Leamington Spa is one of the long-established agricultural law firms. Their agricultural solicitors advise farmers, landowners, farming businesses and farming-related organisations on all their legal matters.   The Wright Hassall Head of Agriculture, Alexandra Robinson, is a Director of the Rural Hub. 

Visit this page for regular legal articles covering different aspects of working in agriculture.  


Levelling up rural Britain: new planning proposals

By Rebecca Mushing, an Associate at Wright Hassall 

For those of you hoping that the government’s much vaunted levelling up policy will reach non-urban areas, you’ll be delighted to hear that Defra has launched its latest policy paper ‘Unleashing Rural Opportunity’ containing, among other suggestions, five key planning proposals designed to help” grow the rural economy.   Defra’s proposals are to:

  • Consult on making it easier to convert redundant agricultural buildings to residential.
  • Consult on wider changes to permitted development to support farm diversification.
  • Introduce a new network of rural housing enablers (to act as ‘honest brokers’ between developers and local authorities, backed by £2.5m funding).
  • Explore additional measures to unlock more small-scale rural housing.
  • Consider if local planning authorities need more rural-specific training.

To read this article in full, please visit the Wright Hassall website.

July 2023

Biodiversity Net Gain – new income stream for farmers

By Rebecca Mushing, an Associate at Wright Hassall 

We now have more detail on how landowners and farmers can profit from legislation coming into force in November 2023 that requires developers to improve the biodiversity of most new developments (there are some exemptions) by a minimum of 10%. Although developers are being encouraged to find biodiversity net gain improvements onsite, many will have to look beyond, potentially giving farmers the opportunity to profit directly by making marginal or less productive land pay through the sale of biodiversity units (BUs) as well as being able to register suitable habitats on Natural England’s Biodiversity Gain Site Register.  However, as with any new initiative, there are challenges. Agreements must be for a minimum of 30 years.  There are tax considerations too, currently the subject of a government consultation which is seeking views on how – and if – APR (and / or BPR) should apply to land not in agricultural production.  Despite the potential risks, BNG should represent a significant income stream that few farmers will be able to ignore. To read the full article, please visit our website.

July 2023

Partnership Voluntary Arrangements: a practical option for an insolvent farm

Farming is one of the very few sectors where most businesses still operate as partnerships. The options available if a farm becomes insolvent are therefore much more complex than in the case of limited companies or individuals. An alternative to winding up/bankruptcy, which also enables a farm to continue trading, may be a Partnership Voluntary Arrangement. Farms in financial distress should consider exploring this option.  The law assumes that people conducting a business together, such as a farm, are in partnership, whether or not they have a formal written agreement.  All partners share the profits of the business but are also responsible for the business debts. To protect individual partners from personal liability, a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) may be established.

The author of this article, Elizabeth Taylor, is a specialist insolvency lawyer at Wright Hassall acting for insolvency practitioners, directors and debtors in pursuing and defending Insolvency Act claims.

November 2022

Please click here to read the full version of this article on the Wright Hassall website. 

Farms in financial distress: insolvency is not inevitable

Farm business owners and the whole of the agricultural sector are currently experiencing a range of pressures, mostly because of factors outside their control. Many farms are operating at their financial limits, and the resultant economic problems for farmers, their businesses and their families are causing a great deal of distress.  The earlier you seek professional advice the more solutions may be available to your business. As farm businesses by their nature hold considerable assets there may be various options for loans, asset finance or increased overdrafts, secured by these assets. Professional advisers will assess your financial statements to ensure that such an option is a good one for you and your business.  Please click here to read the full version of this article on the Wright Hassall website. 

The author, Caroline Benfield, is a partner at Wright Hassall and advises on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious personal and corporate insolvency matters.

October 2022


What to do when accidents happen on farm 

Good health and safety practice is an essential part of a sustainable farming business. Considering risks and managing these should reduce the occurrence of incidents, and the resultant financial and personal costs.  Drawing up an emergency response plan will give clear direction at a time of shock and confusion.  Making a solicitor one key contact in the first instance may provide invaluable expert assistance throughout the process. This plan should be reviewed regularly. The farm should also ensure that there are several qualified first aiders within the workplace, and that there is an accident book where all injuries are recorded , , , 

You can read the remainder of this article by James Lowe, Regulatory Partner, on the Wright Hassall website.

August 2022


Would you Like to

Donate to the Hub?



A donation to the Rural Hub of any amount is always gratefully received. However, only donations of over £100 can be acknowledged on our Hub Supporter's page.  A donation can be paid by cheque, BACS, standing order or by the Paypal link below.  If you would like our bank details please contact the Co-ordinator on 



Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
Archway Cottage, 2 Church Street, Marton, Rugby CV23 9RL

Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA


Rural Hub


Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291


Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
Henry Lucas
Marion Perrett Pearson
Alexandra Robinson


Environmental Steering Group Members

Zoe Bell (Chair)
Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Louis Phipps, Bragborough Estate
Zoe Burrows, Rookery Farm




The Warwickshire Rural Hub accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained on this website.

© 2018 Warwickshire Rural Hub. All rights reserved.