Our rural disputes team is part of Shepherd and Wedderburn’s wider rural property and business practice, and our specialists work together on all potentially contentious matters. Our aim is to resolve disputes with the minimum of fuss, without involving the court, and we are experienced in all alternative methods of dispute resolution.

Where it is necessary to litigate, we have extensive experience in the Court of Session, the Scottish Land Court, the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, and the sheriff courts throughout Scotland.

Our expertise encompasses the following areas:

The Estate and Farm

We have experience of farming partnership disputes, grazing licence disputes, actions of division and sale, farming succession disputes, rent disputes and rent determination, as well as removal of tenants and unlawful occupiers including animals.  We have advised extensively on rights of way affecting land, the right to roam and servitudes and wayleave disputes.

We have unique experience of agricultural law matters with Hamish Lean being recognised as one of Scotland’s leading experts on agricultural law and has particular experience of subsidy appeals and agricultural tenancy disputes. 

We also regularly deal with boundary disputes and give advice on title conditions.

The Farm Shop

Diversification means that land owners and tenants are now more than ever involved in non core agricultural activities.  We have experience of matters that could affect the Farm Shop including licensing, food safety and health and safety, as well as employment and contractual and supplier disputes.

Estate residential properties

For those land owners with residential properties or for tenants occupying such properties we have experience of lease disputes, termination of leases and recovery of possession as well as debt recovery and advising on property damage.

Development land and planning

Working with our property and planning teams we have experience of disputes relating to missives, discharge and variation of title conditions, ransom strips and encroachment, planning applications and appeals, waste management and judicial review.

Neighbouring properties 

Our practice includes advising on boundary disputes and encroachment between neighbouring properties, high hedges disputes, nuisance, title rectification and access disputes. 


Crofting is a complex area of law where specialist legal advice is essential. We advise on a wide varierty of crofting matters, including options for removing land from crofting tenure, succession to crofting tenancies, rectification of the Crofting Register and common grazing apportionment.


Rivers and lochs are an integral part of our rural landscape. We have experience of disputes involving riparian rights, environmental issues and water pollution, fishing and sporting right disputes and fishing timeshares.


Our firm is known for its extensive renewables practice. We have experience of wind turbine development disputes, rectification of wind farm leases, disputed compensation claims, planning applications and appeals and hydro scheme disputes.


The Woodland Trust
Advising on the purchase of the Ben Shieldaig Estate, which is worthy of protection by the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity. Challenges included crofting, planning, environmental designations, restricted access rights, problems with mooring boats and salmon fishing rights.
Eskdalemuir Forestry
Acted for client in the purchase of Kirk Hill Forest, including a review of a previous draft wind farm option agreement and completion of a clawback agreement and security in respect of any future renewables development. There were also complications regarding rights of access, which are always a key concern for forestry properties, as well as third party services across the property.
The Firm of Malcolm G D Morrison
Acted on behalf of the sheep farming firm of Malcolm GD Morrison in relation to a subsidy appeal, which arose as a consequence of a stock transfer form not being lodged with Scottish Animal Movement Unit (SAMU) timeously. The appeal was heard in the Scottish Land Court and our argument was upheld.
Private Estate Owner
Acting for a private estate owner in entering into a joint venture arrangement with a Hydro Operator, leasing land to the joint venture company for the construction of a Hydro Electric Scheme with associated security transaction and subsequent sale of the Estate.
A Pension Scheme
Acting for a Pension Scheme in relation to their Forestry portfolio including sales, acquisitions, management matters and renewable energy projects.
Family Farming Partnership
Acting on behalf of a family farming partnership in rent review negotiations with their landlord and subsequent purchase of the farm from the landlord with associated security work.
Tenanted Borders Farm
Acting in the sale of a tenanted Borders Farm in two parts including all negotiations with the outgoing tenant and the two purchasers.
Acting for the Trustees of a traditional Lowland Estate in putting in place new agricultural tenancy arrangements.
Highland Clan
Acting for a Highland Clan in the disposal of consented land for development purposes.
Various Estates
Acting for various Estates in relation to negotiations with developers for wind and hydro projects.
Castle in Angus
Sale of a Castle in Angus to an overseas buyer.