The NFU’s Legal Assistance Scheme (LAS) is mark its 30th anniversary and is celebrating its success by sharing some of the stories of the support it has offered to subscribers over the years.

The subscriber service provides financial support, professional guidance and a contribution towards professional costs for members facing legal disputes relating to their farming and growing businesses.

The scheme has helped save farmers thousands of pounds in professional fees since its establishment in 1987. Since 2000, £21.5 million has been allocated to NFU members by the LAS to assist with legal fees.

LAS has won several landmark cases, including the case of Yorkshire farmer Robert Lindley, who received compensation for flooding, thanks to the legal and financial support provided by the NFU and the LAS. Robert Lindley decided to take action after his local authority pumped floodwater into a nearby watercourse that flooded his field, badly damaging his carrot crop, with the case setting the legal precedent.

More recently, LAS has helped commons farmers receive ‘top-up payments’ in excess of £10 million after a dispute with the RPA.

Trevor Foss, chairman of the NFU’s legal board, said: “Today, the current legal board and the LAS team continue to offer an excellent and improved high quality service to its subscribers.

“The vision of putting together a scheme that would give us the ability to support our members’ legal problems and to build up a capital reserve that would give us the financial clout when needed has certainly borne fruit.

“The LAS team is passionate and takes pride in what they do. The scheme undoubtedly offers value for money; therefore any farmer or grower member not currently subscribing is definitely losing out on something very valuable.”

Since its review in 2000, the scheme has introduced more services for farmers, including a Tenants First Advice Service launched in 2001 and a contract checking service in 2017.