- Acted for the partners of a multi-million-pound dairy farming partnership when one of the partners served a notice to retire. It was undisputed that the retiring partner was entitled to his share of the partnership assets however there was a question over whether the land (worth millions) was owned by the partnership. Upon our thorough investigation of the retiring partner we discovered that in his earlier matrimonial divorce he had stated that the farm land was not a partnership asset but a personal asset of his parents, presumably in an effort to reduce his divorce settlement. It was this investigation which resulted in an extremely favourable settlement to our farming clients and allowed them to continue farming.
- Successful in a farm partnership dispute at arbitration concerning the ownership of a family dairy farm worth £4m. The case involved a son retiring from the farming partnership who sought a dissolution of the partnership, sale of the partnership assets and the paying to him of his share. This is a routine tactic by retiring partners. We acted for the remaining partners who wished to avoid dissolution and continue in partnership together. To do this they would need to pay the retiring son for his share. There was a dispute on whether a longstanding and valuable Agricultural Holdings Act Tenancy was a partnership asset or not, and if it was, a further dispute about the correct way to value it. This involved contested valuation advice from several well-known national land agents. Our farming clients were successful at arbitration. It is worth noting that in many farm partnership agreements there are ‘arbitration clauses’ and careful consideration needs to be made to consider whether they apply.
- Acted for one farming father/partner in a multi-million-pound arable partnership with his son. As the father wanted, we were successful in dissolving the partnership and represented the father in defence of the son’s proprietary estoppel claim which eventually reached the Court of Appeal where we were successful before three Court of Appeal judges on the issue of equitable relief. We are seeing a growing trend for proprietary estoppel farming cases being made in a farm partnership dispute context.
- Acted for one of the parties in a £5m farming partnership dispute concerning the interpretation of a buy out clause.