Agricultural Legal Services


Scottish agriculture has been in a state of constant flux. This vital component of the Scottish economy is subject to massive economic, environmental and legislative pressure and individual farming businesses have had to become adept at adjusting to meet the challenges of the modern industry. Such businesses require and demand specialist legal advice of the highest quality.

Over the years, McLean & Stewart Solicitors has advised several generations of landowners and farmers throughout Scotland. We have an in-depth knowledge of the field of agricultural law.

We offer a fully comprehensive range of services to meet the needs of the agricultural community from buying and selling land to landlord and tenant advice.

We have a unique ability to understand that whilst a farm is a business it is also a family home, and one of the clients most precious assets. With farms and estates being owned and managed by families, the needs of these clients are rarely clear cut. By working with McLean & Stewart, we can deliver specialist, knowledgeable advice to ensure these needs are met.


We are thoroughly experienced in all aspects of the purchase and sale of farms and agricultural land and can offer sound advice and guidance on all the relevant legal issues. We regularly act on behalf of our clients with regard to Tenancies, Option Agreements, Wind Farms and Leases with Telecom Companies for Masts. We are also able to advise and deal competently with all matters relating to servitude rights, rights of access, wayleaves and other issues common to the ownership of agricultural land.

Further Areas of expertise include:

  1. DTI – crown copyright 2004
  2. Option Agreements
  3. Wind Farms Agreements and Leases
  4. Mobile Telecom Leases
  5. Sand & Gravel Contracts
  6. Retained Solicitors for Landed Estates
  7. Section 75 Planning Agreements
  8. Development Agreements
  9. Mineral Extraction Agreements
  10. Energy from Waste Contracts
  11. Hydro Electric Scheme Contracts


The letting of agricultural land is a complex area of law. The radical reforms introduced to existing traditional tenancies and the introduction of new fixed term tenancies by the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003, mean that specialist knowledge and advice are vital when considering letting out land on an agricultural tenancy, taking up a lease of agricultural land or adjusting the terms of an existing tenancy.

We have considerable experience in such matters and represent a wide range of agricultural clients, both landlords and tenants throughout Scotland. We have the experience to give you the advice you need to make a sound judgement and stay on the right side of the law.


Perhaps one of the most important and legally difficult areas of Agricultural Law is dealing with the passing of the ownership and tenancy of a Farm on death.

We are experienced in addressing, and overcoming, the many practical and legal issues arising, and in ensuring that the farm is inherited according to the wishes of the deceased and the family.

The Agricultural Act ( 2003 ) Act also allows the assignation / transfer of a secure Agricultural lease during lifetime.


The introduction of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 will have a significant impact upon the current Scottish Agricultural Holdings legislation. The introduction of the new act has been initiated due to a perceived lack of confidence with the agricultural sector and will have far-reaching implications for tenant farmers and Landlords alike. A few of the keys changes detailed within the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 are as follows:-

  1. A Tenant farmer’s right to buy – Removing the requirement of registering their interest in the acquisition;
  2. Assignation and Succession of Tenancies- Introduces the ability for tenant farmers to assign their tenancy on the “open market”, provided that the Landlord has a pre-emptive right to purchase. The act also provides a wider class of individual that the tenant farmer may assign their tenancy to, including a new or progressing farmer. It also affords farmers the freedom to decide whom they leave their tenancy to on death;
  3. Rent Review- The act creates a shift away from the standard “Open Market Rent” towards a culture of reviewing rent based on the productivity and success of the holding itself;
  4. Sale – The act affords tenants the right to force the sale of an agricultural holding, on application to the Scottish Land Court, provided that the Landlord persistency fails to achieve their obligations under the agreed tenancy; and
  5. MLDT’s – The introduction of the Modern Limited Duration Tenancy creates provision for a new type of tenancy to allow greater freedom for agreement of terms, tailored specifically for the holding to which it applies, between the respective Landlord and Tenant. The MLDT will subsist for a minimum period of 10 years however, will incorporate a break option on the fifth anniversary to encourage new tenant farmers to enter into said Lease.

The real impact of the Land Reform legislation is yet to be seen but the effect is sure to be significant for the sector as a whole.

Please contact us for more specialist information and advice.