Basic Payment Scheme

With in-depth knowledge of the Basic Payment Scheme and the preceding Single Farm Payment Scheme, we can provide you with tailored practical and legal advice. Whether you require support in a dispute or a non-contentious issue, our rigorous approach and knowledge of the processes from transfers to appeals ensures you have expert support to meet your needs.

Key Contacts

Duncan Sigournay

Duncan Sigournay


Basic Payment Scheme expertise

If you have received a reduction, penalty or application rejection from the Rural Payments Agency, DEFRA or Natural England, we can provide you with appropriate and proportionate dispute support and draw on our wide-ranging experience to pursue the best outcome for you. We can also address legacy claims and defend you against allegations of fraud.

With specialist knowledge of European law, including taking cases through the European Court of Justice, we can help you navigate a Basic Payment Dispute effectively. Should you wish to go through an Ombudsman, we can also advise you on how to best present your case.

In addition, we can also advise and assist you in transferring BPS entitlements in the context of land sales and purchases as well as agricultural tenancies.

Often acting as business advisers to our clients, we build long-standing relationships based on trust and communication; we will always work around your schedule and are happy to come to you. Drawing on our knowledge and contacts within the industry, and adopting a tailored approach, we provide you with cost-effective, commercially focused advice to achieve the best outcome for your case.


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