Basic Payment Scheme

If you have received a reduction, penalty or application rejection from the Rural Payments Agency, DEFRA or Natural England, you will want the issue sorted out quickly and efficiently. You may rely on the Basic Payment Scheme to run your farm effectively, and we’re here to help you protect this vital funding.

Key Contacts

Duncan Sigournay

Duncan Sigournay


Basic Payment Scheme expertise

Having a legal expert as your partner can make navigating claims, disputes and applications much smoother. You may benefit from advice on how best to draft your Basic Payment Scheme application, or you could be in a more complex situation, such as facing a rejection or an allegation of fraud. With our specialist knowledge of European law, including taking cases through the European Court of Justice, we can help you meet the requirements of the scheme.

Drawing on our expertise in the intricacies of the Basic Payment Scheme, we will guide you through any issues that arise, including those with legacy, land scales and agricultural tenancies. Should you wish to go through an Ombudsman, we can also advise you on how best to present your case.

Focusing on your commercial objectives, we will tailor our advice and utilise our contacts within the industry to achieve the best outcome for your case. We often act as business advisers for our clients, and we will work closely with you to be a long-term consultant you can turn to whenever you need legal expertise. On a more practical level, we are happy to work around your schedule and come to you.


Our Agriculture Team has been involved in a number of cases and claims in this area. Highlights include:

  • drafting bespoke Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) clauses for sale and purchase contracts
  • advice relating to the interaction between the BPS and historic contract and tenancy clauses
  • preparing tenancy clauses in relation to BPS and stewardship schemes
  • Division of Entitlements in relation to partnership disputes

  • numerous appeals against the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England and DEFRA
  • judicial review of Ministers’ decisions overturning Appeal Panels’ decisions
  • complaints to the Ombudsman in respect of maladministration (excessive delay and imposition of penalties) by the RPA (under the Single Payment Scheme, BPS)
  • advising a farmer facing fraud charges under the Single Payment Scheme; the RPA subsequently dropped the case


Our expertise in this area encompasses:

  • contractual arrangements concerning SPS and BPS entitlements
  • reductions, penalties or rejection of applications by the RPA, appeals and subsequent judicial review
  • advising on environmental stewardship schemes
  • appealing or complaining to an Ombudsman


Duncan is personable, considerate and shows real humanity in his approach. He is also very wise and measured in his responses.

Chambers and Partners 2016