Agriculture, Rural & Estates

Over 70% of Scotland’s land mass is under agricultural production,
making it not only one of the most important sectors of the Scottish economy but also a vital lifeline for the livelihoods of a large part of
the Scottish population. With property and employment matters, environmental concerns, financial support and Brexit posing real challenges for the sector, the support of experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic lawyers is invaluable to individuals and businesses operating within the sector.

MacRoberts regularly acts for landowners, tenants, farmers and the agritech sector in relation to the full spectrum of legal matters arising across the sector. Our Agriculture, Rural & Estates team comprises lawyers from a range of legal disciplines, from real estate, energy law and commercial contracts to intellectual property, dispute resolution, employment and corporate law, allowing us to provide a comprehensive, seamless and coordinated service to help you meet your objectives.

How can we help you?

MacRoberts’ award-winning Real Estate team is highly experienced in the purchase and sale of agricultural and rural property, forestry and estates. We understand that rural land is often both commercial and residential property and our specialist property lawyers are fully equipped to deal with the potential legal issues which may arise from this. We advise on agricultural law issues, sporting and fishing rights, minerals and option agreements. We also have considerable experience of working with landowners and developers in relation to renewable energy developments, including onshore wind farms, anaerobic digestion, hydro and solar power and biomass.

Our dedicated Property Litigation team regularly deals with disputes between landlord and tenants (including eviction and dilapidation claims), crofting and agricultural law, boundary and title issues and debt recovery. Our previous experience includes the disposal of agricultural assets, e.g. plant and machinery, harvested crops and livestock. We regularly represent clients in the Scottish Land Court and Lands Tribunal for Scotland, as well as the Sheriff Court and Court of Session.

We have considerable expertise in administration of and legal issues relating to large, and often complex, estates and regularly advise on estates with multi-jurisdictional issues and those containing business and farming partnerships, raising agricultural and business property relief issues. We advise clients, particularly families in business, in relation to succession planning.

A dedicated Rural team

Our dedicated Rural team operates as Murray Snell WS, which is part of the MacRoberts Group. 

Key Contacts:

John Macleod, Partner |

Dorothy Lawrence, Associate |

Rosalind Kelly, Associate |

Gail Clarke, Associate |

Murray Snell has been appointed to The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation's List of Approved Solicitors.



It is estimated that more than half of the world’s agricultural output will depend on biotechnology by 2030, and agritech is one of the world’s fastest growing markets driven by global changes – growing populations, climate change, rapid development of emerging economies and growing geopolitical instability due to shortages of land, water and energy. Breakthroughs in nutrition, genetics, informatics, satellite imaging, remote sensing, meteorology, precision farming and low-impact agriculture are driving major global investment in agritech.

Scotland is at the forefront of this revolution and we have extensive experience of advising on such technological developments in the agriculture sector, from identification to commercialisation and protection.

MacRoberts has established a working partnership with Livingston James to explore developments in the agritech sector, the challenges it faces and its future outlook.

  • 'John Macleod is in a class of his own when it comes to rural landowner sale and lease agreements.'

    Legal 500
  • 'John Macleod has assisted us for almost eight years, dealing with a wide variety of issues including the negotiation of multiple option and lease agreements for renewable energy projects (wind and hydro), negotiating wayleave agreements, resolving boundary disputes, as well as general day-to-day business. John's advice, based on his deep understanding of the rural economy and years of experience is invaluable for our business.'

    Legal 500

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