Our areas of expertise

The rural sector provides the backbone to our country’s economy and Cavell Leitch is renowned as a leading advisor to agribusiness, farmers, farm workers and rural families.

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Working in rural New Zealand produces its own set of challenges that our team truly understands. Many of our team come from a farming background, and we are regularly on farms with our clients. We genuinely have the knowledge and skills to assist them with their rural law requirements.

​We have a broad range of rural clients, from large corporates to family farmers, and operate across the full spectrum of farming including dairying, sheep and beef, cropping, horticulture and viticulture, forestry and the high country.

Our clients face a myriad of different legal issues that crisscross over a number of areas of legal expertise. For that reason, we have an experienced team of lawyers spanning our firm's eight specialist teams. They are completely familiar with the issues facing our rural clients and corporate farming and are ready to assist.

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Rural property

We can help you with any of your rural needs - whether you're buying, selling, leasing, or subdividing a farm or forestry block, needing to formalise access, navigating a high-country pastoral lease or dealing with overseas investment office queries.

The team at Cavell Leitch are unique in that we are genuine experts with a deep understanding of all things agricultural. We know how to resolve the unique issues which are faced by rural land operators.

Our rural advisors live and breathe rural advice - acting for crop, beef and sheep farmers, diary farmers and cooperatives, wineries, ostrich breeders and many others. We also advise the Crown in relation to high country tenure review.

For expert no-nonsense advice in all rural property matters contact our team.


Land-based agricultural operations and all the supporting industries that form the backbone of the New Zealand economy are not the type of businesses where their legal affairs can simply be left to chance.

With significant investment in people, capital and machinery, it is truly important that your agribusiness performs at the top of its game, and this includes making sure you have the best legal advice around your structures, ownership and contracts.

Our team of agribusiness experts will provide you with simple and seamless solutions, allowing you to concentrate on growing your business and doing what you do best.

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Farm successing planning expertise

We can assist you in navigating the complex and sensitive discussions regarding succession, so that you can put a robust plan in place which deals with your family's future ownership needs. Our advice can include:

  • Assisting with your personal family planning needs including putting wills, family trusts and powers of attorney in place.
  • ​Reviewing your existing succession plan and assessing its relevance to your present personal and family circumstances, including a review of your ownership structures (including companies, partnerships and trusts). We'll work in with your bank, accountant and other proffessional advisers as needed to achieve this.
  • Putting in place a regular review process to ensure that your succession plan remains relevant to your family's circumstances.
  • If you don’t already have a succession plan, establishing such a plan which makes sense for you and works to achieve your long-term goals.
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Rural resource management expertise

We enjoy using our bank of knowledge and experience to ensure our rural clients have the rights to use their land as they need.

​We can assist you through the consenting process, inlcuding obtaining and maintaining land use consents, bore and water take permits, and subdivision consents (which may, for example, be needed to achieve your farm succession plans).

We also keep abreast of upcoming changes to local and regional plans. If a plan change is going to afffect you we can assist you assess and mitigatge the impact, including preparing a submission to the relevant Council.

We can also advise and assist you if things go wrong, and you need to respond to a claim that may lead to enforcement or prosecution proceedings.

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Rural employment and immigration assistance

Rural employment relationships, by their very nature, can bring special challenges. To list a couple of examples, you may be working with sharemilkers or contractors, the work may be seasonal, or you may need your employees to observe strict health, safety or compliance procedures. You need your team to be working at the top of their game.

We can advise on all aspects of on-farm and governance employment law, including:

  • Preparing employment agreements which are tailored to your requirements for each role, including any necessary detail on rostering and hours of work.
  • Preparing employment policies that work practically in your environment. These policies may incorporate, for example, strict rules on health and safery and drugs and alcohol to ensure your staff are working safely and effectively.
  • Assisting with the performance management process if the relationship breaks down, including helping you to follow through on the disciplinary process if needed.
  • Representing both employers and employees in mediation, at the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court, or at the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Our experts

We have a team of experts who can assist in every facet of rural and agribusiness law. Please reach out to one of our rural team below in the first instance, and they'll draft in another of our firm's specialists in the area of law you need help with.

If you’re not sure who best to contact, then reach out to us via our contact us page.

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