Agriculture & Estates
We have lived through a period of unparalleled change in the countryside. An industry and a way of life which had been seen as the most traditional and unchanging has in fact undergone a revolution.
What connects the past, present and possible futures of the countryside, and the myriad opportunities and challenges facing those who live and work there, is the law relating to ownership, use and access to land and property, and their transmission through families.
McCormicks helps both to plan for the future, and to react effectively even when the best laid plans come to nothing. The firm's talent for innovation and latest thinking is a direct response to the need for creativity in this turbulent area.
Our Rural Property team works with estate owners, rural developers and occupiers to provide a full property and tax planning service. Our service aims to be highly commercial but also highly personal.
The team is led by Peter McCormick who is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and our Commercial Property specialist, Heather Roberts, supported by our Head of Private Client work, Elaine Lightfoot. This combined ability means that we are able to offer a truly unique service to our clients, especially those who are diversifying their activities in an attempt to develop new income streams.
Examples of services
Acquisition and Disposal
Voluntary Registration and Estate Re-Organisation
Property Trusts Advice
Advice on Syndicated Investments and Property Holding Vehicles
We act for a number of estates on an ongoing basis. Our work for them includes acquisition and disposal advice, voluntary registration work, estate and portfolio management. We also have extensive development experience which we are able to apply in a rural context ensuring that you are receiving "city firm" advice that is fully tuned to the local situation.
We act for banks and have excellent relationships with all banks offering a private client and commercial service. These relationships allow us to offer an efficient and streamlined service where bank funding is required.
"McCormicks advises various trustees and estate owners on issues such as rationalisation, extension of property portfolios and tax planning. Clients include the Outward Bound Trust." The Legal 500
“McCormicks advises wealthy clients on complex and technical tax planning matters and has seen a growth in referrals from clients across the business community. The firm also handles special trust and probate litigation.” Legal 500
“This full service firm has a growing presence in the region for its estate work. Clients say ‘A small enough unit that it provides a really personal service, which is not dissipated as it goes down the line.’” Chambers UK
“This Harrogate firm has established an enviable reputation in estate management and rural property transactions. A particular specialism is the diversification of estate lands for commercial, development and sporting uses, including advising on niche shooting rights. It also acts for Estate Trustees and farming families on complex tax, trust and succession matters.” Chambers UK
“McCormicks provides commercial advice to trusts, landowners and estates. The ‘excellent’ team is ‘very efficient.’ It includes a number of ‘sound’ and ‘reliable’ commercial property and private client lawyers.” UK Legal 500
“Landed estate owners and successful business people regard McCormicks as a go-to group. The group is praised for its ‘all-round efficiency.’” Chambers UK
“At McCormicks, property specialist Heather Roberts and head of private client Elaine Lightfoot advise on the development of revenue streams, shooting agreements and leases, succession planning and other property-related issues. Peter McCormick leads the team.” - Legal 500
“Peter McCormick leads McCormicks’ growing portfolio of contentious work, for clients such as Strutt Family Trusts.” - Legal 500
“McCormicks’ ‘brilliant’ practice has an emphasis on tax planning, and is led by associate Elaine Lightfoot.” - Legal 500
"Well-regarded agricultural practice, providing clients with full rural property and tax planning services. Acts for a number of large landed estates on a wide range of matters including acquisition, disposal, voluntary registration and diversification." - Chambers UK
"They are a well established firm and they have a reputation for providing sound and considered advice to their clients." - Chambers UK
"Peter McCormick leads the firm's agricultural and estates team and acts for a number of prominent estate clients in this area. One peer notes that he is "a great character and brings a real client-focused approach to all matters."" - Chambers UK
“McCormicks is ‘an excellent firm that punches well above its weight’ and its agriculture and estates team attracts praise for being ‘pleasant to deal with and willing to consider fee structures to suit its clients’ needs’. Peter McCormick heads the practice and is singled out for his charity expertise; he regularly acts on agricultural law matters for charities including the Royal Horticultural Society, which recently instructed the firm on its acquisition of land and buildings for the development of its northern garden. Other key figures include newly promoted partners Heather Roberts, who advises the firm’s agricultural clients on property issues; Elaine Lightfoot, whose clients include the estate of the late John Strutt and its associated charities and trusts; Philip Edmondson, who handles a variety of litigation for the firm’s estates clients.” - Legal 500
"Senior partner Peter McCormick leads the firm's agricultural and estates practice. Sources say: "The people he acts for like him and he does well by them." McCormick regularly advises large landed estates." - Chambers UK