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Stackyard News Aug 2012

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Farming Lawyer Looks Cross-Border

A Carlisle farming lawyer who grew up close to the England / Scotland border has become dual-qualified: Diane Barnes from Burnetts is now able to advise clients buying or selling land and property in England & Scotland.

Diane Barnes

Diane Barnes

Diane grew up on the family farm near the border. She qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2009 and has worked exclusively in Burnetts’ agricultural team ever since.

She said, “In our part of England, it is not unusual for people to move from one side of the border to another or for farmers to own or tenant land in both England and Scotland, so falling under two different legal systems. Having to instruct an English and a Scottish solicitor has the potential to cause delays as well as unnecessary complication and expense for clients so I decided to complete a Scottish Law qualification. So far, the response has been extremely positive and I have already had the chance to help clients through some interesting cross-border transactions.”

As well as a new set of legal terminology, Diane also had to get to grips with the major differences in the property transaction process: in England, the buyer and seller are not bound until contracts have been exchanged, often on, or not long before, the date of the sale and all searches, surveys and enquiries are made between the offer being made and the contracts exchanging; meanwhile in Scotland, the offer must be made by a buyer in “Scottish legal form” so solicitors are involved much earlier in the process, and the expense of instructing solicitors and carrying out surveys (if necessary) is incurred before the offer is formally accepted.

Diane said, “Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses - Scottish buyers have much more certainty once their offer is accepted, but it can become expensive for them if they are competing for different properties. What I hope clients will appreciate is the convenience of being able to get all their advice from someone who is qualified and insured to practice in both England & Scotland and can manage the whole legal process on their behalf.”

As well as property law, Diane is qualified in Scottish law relating to wills and probate. Aaron Lyons, who joined Burnetts in 2011 is an employment law specialist who is also qualified in Scotland.

For further information on Scottish law, contact Diane Barnes on 01228 552222 or email

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