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 15 lawyers who are based in the Taunton and Bristol offices.
Esther trained and qualified at Linklaters before moving to Burges Salmon in Bristol. She joined Clarke Willmott in 2013.
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.
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 2021 edition. She has also been ranked Band 2 for Agriculture and Private Wealth disputes by Chambers & Partners in its separate UK and High Net Worth 2021 guides.
Esther is one of the key client relationship partners 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, a professional member of the Central Association for Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), and a Member of the Property Litigation Association.
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;
- Possession proceedings;
- Co-owner property disputes including declarations as to ownership and/or claims for occupation rent;
- Land drainage and flooding;
- 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  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  EWHC 869 (Ch) and Guest v Guest  EWCA Civ 387
- 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  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  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  EWHC 2331 (Ch)
- Advising on partnership matters – e.g. representing successful Claimant in farming partnership dispute Drake v Harvey  EWCA Civ 838
- Advising in extensive litigation concerning the practical effect of Extended Civil Restraint Orders and bankruptcy petitions Ashcroft v Webster  EWHC 887 (Ch) Webster v Ashcroft  EWHC 2174 (Ch)
Esther Woolford is a standout lawyer, responsive to her clients and attentive to the needs of a case. She goes the extra mile to deliver the best outcome
The Legal 500
I respect her greatly and she is very able at what she does…you can do business with her.
Chambers UK 2021 High Net Worth Guide