The NFU has confirmed the appointment of its legal panel firms after an intensive six-month review that considered legal services, fee structures and commitment to the organisation and its members, alongside feedback from members and NFU staff.
Fifteen of the original firms, of which Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors are one, will continue on the panel for a further three years and work is still being undertaken in respect of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland. Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors have been appointed on the NFU Legal Panel since 2008, with a previous review undertaken in 2012.
NFU director of finance and business services Ken Sutherland said he was delighted to confirm the reappointment of all 15 members of the legal panel.
“They have gone through a rigorous and robust review process within the past five to six months,” added Mr Sutherland. “They have been retained for both their strength and depth in agricultural and horticultural matters together with other non-agricultural related specialist areas that affect our members.
Andy Robertson, NFU Director General, added: “The NFU’s Legal Panel Service continues to remain an important part of the overall NFU legal services offered to its members. Each firm is not only committed to offering a high quality service, but also with a high degree of professionalism. The firms have now built upon and strengthened their agricultural and rural teams in order to meet the increasing demand of our members, in particular as a result of a large increase in the regulation of the industry within the past few years.”
Trevor Foss, chairman of the Legal Board, said: “These reappointments further strengthen the bond between the NFU, the Legal Assistance Scheme and the panel solicitors who altogether bring with them tangible benefits for all NFU members and the LAS subscribers.”
The panel was originally appointed in May 2008 and subsequently reviewed in 2012 for another period of three years. The firms continue to save NFU members on costs by offering a discount of 12.5% on their hourly rates, together with fixed fee and other costs packages for various services. They also offer a comprehensive legal service in non-farming areas such as succession planning, diversification, tax, planning, probate, family and conveyancing.