Rural Business

The targeted rural business advice offered by Thursfields’ solicitors has helped clients in rural areas achieve their goals and effectively overcome significant challenges. Our highly-specialised legal expertise has been used to support landowners nationwide.

Our Agricultural Business Law Services

If you are running a farming business, you could require assistance with a broad range of potentially complex scenarios. Our agricultural and rural business solicitors can help with the following areas:

  • Employment law and human resource management
  • Farming partnerships
  • Company formation and structure
  • Supply agreements
  • Succession planning & tax planning
  • Disputes

Whatever your circumstances might be, Thursfields’s rural business solicitors have the expertise to guide you towards an outcome that works for you.


Want to Know More About Our Agricultural Business Law Services?

Agricultural Business Law Advice

The landscape for rural businesses is always changing. Some of the challenges facing modern farms include complex topics like changes in technology, operating post-Brexit, the impact of changes in employment law, and much more. Additionally farmers often need help with more common issues, such as land contracts and agreements, succession planning, tax planning, boundary disputes, and everything in between.

With so many potential challenges to face — and opportunities to explore — it’s essential for landowners to be able to rely upon the advice of specialist rural business solicitors.

Our lawyers are dedicated to offering straightforward advice that clarifies your circumstances, while making clear your available options. Whatever you need, we’re the full-service law firm that is built around you.

Meet Our

Rural Business Solicitors

If you’re looking for trustworthy legal advice about any aspect of agricultural business law, Thursfields’ experienced team is ready to help.

Key Contact

Jon Clifford

Jon Clifford

Director, Agricultural & Rural Affairs

A seasoned litigator, Jon regularly acts on behalf of farmers, land owners, and rural businesses. His in-depth understanding of his clients’ unique requirements, coupled with a practical approach to dispute resolution, means he is often able to settle matters without the need to go to court. 

Jon has been described in the Legal 500 as “calm and sensible”. He is a Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, a member of the Property Litigation Association and currently sits as Vice Chair of the Worcestershire Committee of the Country Landowners Association.


Philip Chapman - Square

Philip Chapman

Director, Corporate & Commercial

Philip is an experienced corporate lawyer with a proactive and practical approach. His background has a strong international focus, including roles with multi-national organisations. For companies and individuals at all levels he provides advice on mergers & acquisitions, company restructuring, cross border joint ventures, investment arrangements, commercial contracts, terms & conditions, and shareholder agreements.

Philip is a Cambridge post-graduate and fluent in French, as well as being an appointed Notary Public and an accredited CEDR Mediator. He has also previously worked in the City of London and Paris for both national and international companies.

Hannah Clark - Square

Hannah Clark

Associate Director, Commercial

Hannah specialises in commercial and corporate law. She has advised a range of national and multinational clients on matters such as terms and conditions of sale, manufacturing agreements, distribution networks and franchise agreements, framework supply agreements, and research and development agreements.

Hannah also has a keen interest and experience in advising on IT contracts and data protection matters, having advised telecommunications companies, biometric data technology providers, and IT full service companies. She has advised on SAAS agreements, escrow agreements, intellectual property licensing agreements, and bespoke software development agreements.


Want rural business advice around the services offered by our solicitors? Get in touch with a member of the team today.

Bespoke Agricultural

Business Law Services

There are times when running a successful farming operation demands expert rural business advice that covers a wide range of different areas. Our agricultural and rural business solicitors specialise in offering a holistic service that takes into account both your challenges and your needs, before devising a strategy that is most likely to achieve your goals.

Thursfields’ agricultural and rural business solicitors can harness the knowledge of specialists from across the entire company. So, whether you’re looking for guidance on a commercial or personal issue, we’ll be able to bring together the right team to help with your case. This comprehensive legal expertise has helped to cement our reputation as the law firm that is built around you.

A Full Suite of Agricultural Legal Services

In addition to providing support from specialist rural business solicitors, we can also assist with a range of other legal matters.

Agricultural Property Law

Alongside our agricultural business law services, we assist with buying and selling rural properties and farmland. If you need help with a land purchase or other transaction, our rural business solicitors can help.

Farming Divorce

Negotiating financial settlements in divorce when a rural business is involved can be extremely complex. Our solicitors have the expertise needed to secure a positive resolution for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rural business rate relief is a full discount applicable to village-based businesses in areas with under 3,000 inhabitants. To qualify, a business must either:

  • Be the village’s only shop/post office (with a rateable value of up to £8,500)


  • Be the village’s sole public house/petrol station (with a rateable value of up to £12,500)

It’s possible for more than one local business to qualify for rural business rate relief, as long as they both offer different services. Ultimately, if you’re not sure if you do qualify, it’s recommended that you check regional guidelines with your local council, as rules do vary from area to area. Enlisting the services of recognised rural business solicitors can also be hugely advantageous when coming to terms with both local and national guidelines.

A farm business tenancy agreement need not be in writing, and is often either oral or unspoken. Because it can be tricky to identify the terms and history of the agreement, it’s not uncommon for it to be a source of ongoing disputes. A tenancy can be created after 1st September 1995 if it meets both business and agricultural conditions.

  • Business conditions stipulate that some of the land needs to be used for business purposes. This may include a diverse range of activities, so is not solely limited to agricultural use. Additionally, some part of the land must have been used for farming purposes since the agreement was created.
  • Agricultural conditions stipulate that some or all of the farm must be used for agricultural purposes at the date that any challenge is raised. 

In the UK, farms do not commonly require a specific business licence to operate. However, there are certain permits, registrations, and licences that may be needed, depending on the type of activities carried out. Licences might be necessary for planning permission, to negate environmental impact, to ensure animal welfare, for transportation of livestock, and in order to use certain pesticides.  

If you’re unsure whether your farm requires a specific type of licence, it’s advisable to take rural business advice from industry specialists.

Contact Our

Team Today

Whether you’re restructuring your business, resolving a dispute, or formalising a succession plan, our solicitors are ready to offer rural business advice you can rely on.