NFU Legal Health Check Service

Identify concerns or legal matters that may need to be addressed on farm.

The NFU in conjunction with its Legal Panel Firms (Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors are one of two legal panel firms for the NFU North East region) is pleased to offer NFU Farmer & Grower members an entirely free initial Legal Health Check in relation to their farming or growing businesses. This service aims to help identify and highlight any potential issues, legal gaps or other matters members might want to address to help secure their farming, growing or diversification businesses.

The Legal Health Check can also significantly help underpin business resilience. During the current unprecedented changing times with the future implementation of the Agricultural Transition Plan, Environmental Land Management Scheme, Lump Sum Payments to name a few, this Legal Health Check could assist in many ways - including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Property matters (includes ownership, tenancies, land registration)
  • Estate planning (includes Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trust Deeds etc.)
  • Business structures
  • Share farming
  • Contract farming
  • Rights of Way (including Section 31(6) applications)
  • Succession planning
  • Employment
  • Diversification

What does the service include?

  • The service will include an initial free discussion with members either on farm or virtually as agreed with the NFU Legal Panel Firm (the process may start with the completion of an online questionnaire to help understand the nature of the business and identify the likely issues to be considered) followed by the creation of a simple report with any initial observations and/or recommendations.
  • Members who then wish to take forward any recommendations identified at the report stage can then agree the scope and cost of any work to be carried out directly with the NFU Legal Panel Firm concerned.
  • The terms and conditions for the Legal Health Check will be under the firm’s usual T&Cs***.

How much does it cost?

The initial NFU Legal Health Check Service is free and is designed to provide members with a report that highlights any concerns or legal matters that need to be addressed. Should any work be identified and subsequently commissioned, then that piece of work will be carried out at the firm’s standard hourly rates (with a 12.5% NFU discount applied). Alternatively, it may be possible to agree a fixed fee directly with the firm before any work is done.

LAS Special Offer

If, following the Legal Health Check, members who subscribe to the Legal Assistance Scheme (LAS) wish to commission the Legal Panel Firm to make the Section 31(6) deposit, they can apply for a financial contribution of up to £250 towards the costs*. This offer is currently available until 31 December 2021. The NFU believes this offer is a fantastic benefit for our members and could help to avoid claims that public rights of way have been acquired over your land through a period of use in the future.

*Special offer ends 31 December 2021 - NFU members who subscribe to the NFU Legal Assistance Scheme can apply for financial assistance of up to a maximum of £1,000 for four sets of instructions (at £250 each) generated by the Legal Health Check. Normal LAS rules apply.

How is the service accessed?

  1. Members should call NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458 for a free initial discussion with an NFU specialist adviser who will then refer you to the appropriate Legal Panel Firm in your area.
  2. The NFU Legal Panel Firm will get in touch with you to have a free initial discussion. In some cases, you may also receive an online questionnaire from the firm to start the process. The questions are to assist in highlighting the areas within your business you might want to raise with them ahead of the discussion or meeting**.
  3. The NFU Legal Panel Firm will arrange a visit or a virtual discussion as appropriate and agreed with you. This will result in a brief outline report being produced to agree the areas identified that require some work to be carried out to put things right within the business.

Listen to Ian Barnard, Director and Head of Company Commercial at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, explain the benefits of the scheme and how it works for NFU North East members in this recording from the Business Resilience virtual event in October 2020 (you will need your NFU login details to access the recording).

To start the process, simply complete and return the Legal Health Check questionnaire to Clair Douglas at our Malton office.

 

** Initial free review of your property, business and family interests to assess your position. This may include a farm visit and if necessary a simple written report with initial observations /recommendations at no cost to the NFU member.

*** NFU member will be subject to our firms terms of business. The advice we give will be bespoke and tailored to your needs.