I’m a Partner in Michelmores’ Agriculture team and have always worked in the agricultural sector. Following a degree in agriculture at Newcastle University, I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer managing landed estates and carrying out a wide range of professional work.
A change in career followed, and since qualification in 2003, I have specialised in resolving disputes arising from the use and ownership of rural land. This has resulted in the acquisition of a wide-ranging expertise across the entire sector.
I draw on my dual qualification in providing clients with pragmatic legal advice avoiding disputes wherever possible. I regularly act as a legal assessor to arbitrators and am a member of both the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) Arbitrators and Mediators Panel.
I accept appointments to act as a mediator having achieved Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution accreditation in 2018. I regularly use my background as a surveyor when acting as mediator in searching for alternative ways to structure settlements and seek out a compromise. My dual qualification means that I can bring both roles to bear as and when required.
I maintain close links with the surveying profession and sit on the CAAV Property Committee and lecture regularly at events organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and CAAV.
As well as my contentious work I also head up the Michelmores Natural Capital team advising clients on issues relating to carbon sequestration, payments for environmental services and sustainability.
This mix of contentious expertise and environmental experience is of particular relevance in this new and rapidly developing market where agreements need to be flexible enough to embrace as yet unknown future opportunities, and sufficiently clear so as to avoid disputes.
I have been ranked in Band 1 for Agriculture & Rural Affairs in independent legal guide Chambers. I have also been listed as a ‘Leading Individual’ by the Legal 500.
Advising the Forestry Commission, using the Stodmarsh Nutrient Neutrality Methodology, on assessing the environmental value in preventing leaching by ceasing use of a site close to the River Stour for traditional agricultural purposes. Advising the Commission in connection with the capitalisation of that value and preparing a suite of entirely new and bespoke agreements that records the sale and purchase of the environmental value secured
Advising on the land management aspects of an innovative partnership between Environment Bank Ltd and specialist alternative asset manager Gresham House to introduce a first-to-market compliance solution driving biodiversity net gain. I advised on structuring the arrangements with landowners and drafting the suite of legal documents required to support the business model in line with the requirements of the Environment Act 2021
Advising a large landed estate on drafting a complex partnership agreement to deal with new income streams from environmental projects
Advising numerous private landowners and Commons organisations on Landscape Scale Recovery projects
Co-ordinating and helping to draft the £15m joint venture agreement between the Environment Agency and Clinton Devon Estates on the Lower Otter Restoration Project, mitigating climate change by reconnecting to the historic floodplain