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ESTHER ROUND
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR  


Admitted as a Solicitor:  2002

CONTACT DETAILS

Tel: 020 7189 1794

Email: esther.round@djblaw.co.uk

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AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Agriculture and Estates 

Natural Capital

Esther is an agricultural law specialist who advised on the real estate legal implications for a broad range of clients from land estates and other landowners  to Governmental Bodies; national charities and institutions and has advised on complex points of law including issues around adverse possession; prescription; commons law; easements; agricultural and commercial tenancies; unregistered title anomalies. Esther regularly deals with the sale, purchase, finance and refinance of large scale.

Esther is also experienced in advising on Natural Capital projects for landowners including biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality mitigation, carbon sequestration schemes and rewilding ventures.

WORK HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

  • Supervising and managing multiple large-scale acquisitions; disposals; financing and refinancing of land and estates including those with multi-million GDP value; those with sub-sales; with pre-emption rights and conditional contracts.

  • Drafting, negotiating and completing leases under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and Farm Business Tenancies Act 1995 legislative codes; advising as to renewal of the same and on succession (including acting within the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Agricultural Land and Drainage process); advising as termination of agricultural leases and recovery of vacant possession for the development of various renewable energy projects.

  • Acting as the lead advisor for an Oxford-based college in the negotiation, settling and documenting of a long-running dispute with an agricultural tenant of key housing and mining development land in Warwickshire which involved an overarching settlement agreement with the surrender of an existing tenancy and the granting of three new tenancies each with their own specific purposes and terms.

  • Advising a large-scale, heritage landowner as to the rights and obligations of their agricultural tenants in a complex dispute re historic grazing rights on Dartmoor Common which arise from both a legislative and commons law framework; paying particular care to significant PR and reputational sensitivities of the parties involved.

  • Advising HS2 and Network Rail Infrastructure Limited on the implications of the agricultural tenancies’ legislative codes on their future development strategies and existing land holdings.

  • Advising a large, landed estate on various projects and disputes, chiefly around existing commercial and agricultural tenancies and obtaining vacant possession, and on Natural Capital projects including both BNG and Carbon Capture schemes and becoming a trusted advisor as the schemes continue to evolve and switch between various potential habitat managers. These projects required ensuring that up to the minute legal knowledge relating to BNG is understood, as in the lead up to BNG becoming mandatory there was considerable fluidity as to timing and requirements.

  • Negotiating, drafting and advising a large consortium of landowners and their agents as to the legal framework required to satisfy the Local Planning Authority regarding the Nutrient Neutrality scheme required to unlock the outline planning permission to allow the development of 3,500 homes via a complex jigsaw of solutions, including the construction of a large wetland and agreements with various landowners to cease various agricultural uses of land where considerable compensation was to be paid on milestones achieved and conditions met.

  • Advising various landowners and local governmental bodies as to the recovery of vacant possession of tenanted land to allow the development of one of the Government’s flagship Garden Towns.

  • Advising affected landowners as to the commercial and legal requirements to register a significant area of commons land which is to be part of the entrance to the Lower Thames Crossing (Dartmoor Tunnel) project and assisting in building the title and dealing with the various anomalies and historic issues thrown up in the differing rights and interests there may be in the relevant parcels and working closely with HM Land Registry’s specialist teams in carrying out this work.

  • Acting as the lead advisor on all landowner client transactions for an Environmental Habitat Bank in some of the first mandatory BNG matters completed in England outside of the pilot areas in advance of the coming into force of the relevant sections of the Environment Act 2021.

  • Drafting and completing one of the first long leasehold grants to a carbon sequestration plantation scheme provider for a landed estate involving multiple levels of interest to be created for taxation purposes; complex title registration work; advising as to the risk associated with this new kind of project including liaising with the Forestry Commission as to the form of Deed of Covenant they require.

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