William Batstone

Year of call: 1982

"He is exceptional with clients, his written advice is very clear and he is an impressive advocate."
Chambers UK 2020

William William

William is an agricultural and rural property barrister who advises and acts for landlords and tenants of farms who are in dispute and farmers with claims to ownership of land or issues about land use or regulation and arbitrators appointed to resolve such disputes by arbitration.

Property & Estates

William's property expertise is centered on agricultural and rural property litigation including:

  • Claims to the protection of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.
  • Disputes arising under the 1986 Act including rent review and epairs, notices to quit, compensation and succession
  • Disputes arising under the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995
  • Farming partnership disputes
  • Claims to an interest in land and other property based on proprietary estoppel and/or constructive trusts and/or the Inheritance Act 1975
  • Disputes over boundaries, rights of way and access to land
  • Agricultural commodity contract claims
  • Sporting rights
  • Land use regulation
  • Single payment scheme

Significant Cases

  • In August 2013 William assisted a Northamptonshire farmer and landowner resolve at mediation a boundary dispute with the purchaser of a barn for development on terms that the majority of the trespassing structures should be removed and a substantial contribution to costs made. 
  • In May 2013 in the High Court William acted for the tenant of a 600 acre farm in Berkshire in successfully resisting the landlord’s challenge to the award of an arbitrator in a rent review under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (Compton Beauchamp Estates Ltd v Spence [2013] 2 P&CR 15 Morgan J). 
  • In February 2013 on behalf of the landlords of a farm in Devon William successfully resisted an application to the Agricultural Land Tribunal (as it then was) for a direction entitling the applicant to a new tenancy in succession to the deceased tenant. 
  • In July 2012 William successfully defended the tenant of a farm in Cheshire against a Case B notice to quit served by the landlord on the grounds that part of the farm was required for residential development. 
  • In July 2012 William assisted a West Wales farmer to resolve at mediation her claim against the estate of her late mother for a share of the farm based on proprietary estoppel and her entitlement as a farming partner. 
  • In May 2012 William assisted Devon farmers to appeal successfully the imposition of penalties by the Rural Payments Agency for alleged intentional over-declaration under the Single Payment Scheme.



Agricultural & Rural Affairs

A highly regarded practitioner with a focus on rural and agricultural tenancy disputes. He acts for farmers and landowners and attracts praise for his ability to work closely with his clients and to provide clear advice.

Strengths: "He's an excellent advocate and provides excellent advice." "He is exceptional with clients, his written advice is very clear and he is an impressive advocate." "He is able to take a commercial view throughout a case."

LEGAL 500 2020


"An impressive advocate who provides clear advice."


Agriculture & Rural Affairs

A highly regarded practitioner with a focus on rural and agricultural tenancy disputes. He acts for farmers and landowners.

"He has a very calm, considered and persuasive manner in court and his written work is thorough, well thought out and logical." "He always acts promptly and provides clear and considered advice. He is always a pleasure to instruct and work with."

LEGAL 500 2019


‘Very experienced in farming landlord and tenant disputes.’


Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Leading Junior - Band 1

A notable rural property specialist who regularly acts for landowners and tenants. He is particularly well regarded for his in-depth knowledge of agricultural tenancy issues.

Strengths: "He's a very experienced, very thorough barrister - he's exceptional on paper, very clear and concise, and exceptionally good in person with clients." "He's excellent on his feet."

LEGAL 500 2017


Leading juniors

‘He demonstrates brilliant client rapport.’


Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Leading Junior - Band 1

A highly regarded barrister with a broad agricultural and rural property practice. He is noted for his expertise in agricultural tenancy disputes.

Strengths: "He really is an expert in the field of agricultural tenancies - his knowledge and experience are unrivalled. His advice is always produced promptly and it is clear and easy to follow. He is also very easy to work with and approachable."

LEGAL 500 2016


Leading juniors

'One of the foremost authorities on agricultural tenancies.'


Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Leading Junior - Band 1

William Batstone is a heavyweight figure with experience of handling a wide range of agricultural and rural property disputes. His expertise covers proprietary estoppel claims, landlord and tenant disputes and rights of way. He has previously been appointed a Deputy District Judge.

Strengths: "He is the go-to lawyer for landlord and tenant work. His knowledge is unrivalled, he is very user-friendly and turns work around incredibly fast." "He is a genuine expert - very experienced and thorough in everything he does - and gives a balance opinion."

LEGAL 500 2015


Leading juniors

'A very knowledgeable, wise and measured adviser with real authority'.


Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Leading Junior - Band 1

Agricultural expert who advises farmers, landowners and arbitrators on rural property and tenancy disputes. He has considerable experience of litigation arising under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and also assists with land use regulation, sporting rights and access issues. He previously worked as a solicitor.

Expertise: "He gives first-rate advice on option agreements and agricultural tenancies." "He is always comprehensive in his advice and has a good grasp of the commercial reality of the situation."

LEGAL 500 2014


Leading Juniors

Acts for landowners and farmers in agricultural and property disputes'.


Is regularly instructed on behalf of landowners, farmers, and arbitrators in connection with both agricultural and rural property litigation. He is a vastly experienced practitioner who also practised as a solicitor for six years.

Expertise: "He is enormously experienced in pure agricultural work."


William Batstone is a rural property expert who is considered to be "extremely knowledgeable but also very approachable and down-to-earth." He frequently advises clients on a range of matters, including disputes under the Agricultural Holdings Act (1986) and Agricultural Tenancies Act (1995), farming partnership conflicts, and farming-related professional negligence claims.

William Batstone's forte lies in chancery and rural property issues. He frequently acts for landowners and tenants.


William Batstone of Guildhall Chambers is praised for his in-depth knowledge of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and village greens law. Leading solicitors consider him to be "pleasant to work with, intellectually commanding and a match for any other barrister in the discipline."


William Batstone of Guildhall Chambers is extremely highly regarded in the region. As an ex-Burges Salmon solicitor, he remains a popular choice for instructing solicitors, who appreciate his experience and depth of knowledge. He is best known for his advice to landowners and farmers in the resolution of agricultural and rural property disputes, and he continues to handle a busy case load in this area. Sources commend his "straightforward and down-to-earth approach."


Ex-Burges Salmon solicitor William Batstone is a leading junior in the region. Widely recognised and very much acclaimed by his peers, he comes with strong recommendations and commentators say that they "can't sing his praises enough". His main practice area is the resolution of agricultural and rural property disputes on behalf of landowners and farmers. "He is very succinct, delivers and has huge depth of knowledge", one source comments. He recently acted for a Devon landowner who was successful in securing the revocation of a stop notice served on him by Natural England, in relation to the carrying out of drainage works on 19 hectares of land.


William Batstone undertakes a large proportion of agricultural work involving disputes relating to the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995. His remarkable courtroom manner has led to a consensus amongst sources that, "Bristol is very lucky to have him - he is very good".


For further information and enquiries please contact:

Property & Estates: Lisa Frostrup


  • Deputy District Judge


  • Agricultural Law Association
  • Chancery Bar Association


  • Diploma in Law, City University
  • BA Hons in Philosophy, York University
  • Marlborough College