Skip to content Skip to footer
Enquiries Call 0800 652 8025

Esther Woolford

Partner, Agriculture Sector Head & Solicitor Advocate

Head of Agriculture Sector Team, Head of Commercial and Private Client Litigation (Taunton)

Home office: Taunton
Esther Woodford photo

Esther specialises in agricultural and property litigation, contentious Wills, trusts and probate and commercial disputes

Esther is a partner and solicitor advocate in the Commercial and Private Client Litigation Team specialising in agricultural and property litigation as well as contentious Wills, trusts and probate and commercial disputes. She heads up a team of 17 lawyers who are based in the Taunton and Bristol offices. Esther is also head of the Agricultural sector.

Esther trained and qualified at Linklaters before moving to Burges Salmon in Bristol. She joined Clarke Willmott in 2013 and now has over 20 years of experience.

Esther’s practice is extensive and includes advising landed estates, farming business and private clients on a wide range of contentious agricultural property and commercial matters. She also has considerable experience in contentious Wills, trusts and probate matters.  Esther is regularly instructed to act on farming partnership disputes, proprietary estoppels and co-owned land (including TLATA).

With such an impressive breadth and depth of expertise and experience, it is not surprising that Esther is commended for commercial litigation, agricultural estates and contentious trust and probate in the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories. Indeed, Legal 500 has identified her as a Leading Individual for Commercial Litigation in its 2024 edition. She has also been ranked Band 1 for Agriculture and Rural Affairs South West by Chambers & Partners 2024 guide.

Esther is the key client relationship partner for the NFU (Clarke Willmott is the NFU panel law firm for Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Dorset).

Esther is a Member and Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, a Recommended Solicitor for the Tenant Farmers Association, a Solicitor advocate, and a professional member of the Central Association for Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

How Esther can help you

Esther advises clients operating in the commercial and agricultural sectors on matters relating to:

  • Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancies and Farm Business Tenancies (including notices to quit, succession and breaches of covenant);
  • Farming partnerships;
  • Proprietary estoppel;
  • Agri-business disputes;
  • Injunctions;
  • Possession proceedings;
  • Co-owner property disputes including declarations as to ownership and/or claims for occupation rent;
  • Land drainage and flooding;
  • Boundaries;
  • Adverse possession;
  • Trespass and nuisance; and
  • Covenants and easements -including rights of way.

Esther also defends and brings claims:

  • under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
  • contesting the validity of Wills (due to lack of testamentary capacity and/or want of knowledge and approval);
  • against executors and trustees for breach of trust/maladministration; and
  • against solicitors in relation to Will drafting and the construction of Wills or mistakes in Wills.


  • Acting for a group of milk producers and successfully defeating an application for an interim injunction brought against them by the processor who wanted to force them to continue supply following termination by notice –Watson’s Dairies Ltd v AG Lambert [2020] 10 WLUK 45
  • Advising in relation to Will disputes and contentious probate and trust matters – frequently acting in relation to proprietary estoppel claims – Guest v Guest [2019] EWHC 869 (Ch) and Guest v Guest [2020] EWCA Civ 387, [Supreme Court ref: 2020/0107]
  • Acting for claimants in obtaining prohibitive injunctions restraining trespass of persons known and unknown – e.g. representing successful applicant in obtaining injunctions against hunt saboteurs – Fitzwilliam Land Co v Cheesman [2018] EWHC 3139 (QB)
  • Advising in relation to water and flooding related matters – e.g. acting for Claimants in ECHR Protocol 1 Article 1 Claim against the Environment Agency King & Ors v Environment Agency [2018] EWHC 65 (QB)
  • Advising in relation to agricultural tenancies under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 and the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 – e.g. Case B, D, E and G Notices and Succession Applications. Smith Tyrrell v Sowden [2017] EWHC 2331 (Ch)
  • Advising on partnership matters – e.g. representing successful Claimant in farming partnership dispute Drake v Harvey [2011] EWCA Civ 838
  • Advising in extensive litigation concerning the practical effect of Extended Civil Restraint Orders and bankruptcy petitions Ashcroft v Webster [2017] EWHC 887 (Ch) Webster v Ashcroft [2019] EWHC 2174 (Ch)


The level of experience and leadership that Esther brings to matters cannot be understated. Esther is a skilled, knowledgeable, and resourceful lawyer

The Legal 500

Esther Woolford is superb: technically excellent, sound commercial judgment and lovely client handling skills

The Legal 500

Esther is very bright, works tremendously hard and she oversees a very substantial caseload with real skills and attention to detail. I think she is probably one of the best agricultural litigation partners I have come across


Articles by Esther and her team

Looking for legal advice?