The NFU has more than doubled the number of firms who are members of its legal panel, offering discounted rates to NFU members who have also subscribed to the Legal Assistance Scheme.

The latest additions bring the total number of law firms on the panel to 16, each with a proven track record in agricultural issues.

“This is a very exciting addition to our services for members,” said NFU vice president Paul Temple at a launch reception at NFU headquarters at Stoneleigh.

“Not only is each of the chosen firms committed to the NFU’s vision for the industry, but they have also underpinned that commitment by offering all NFU farmer and grower members a significant 12.5% discount on their hourly rates for cases arising directly from their businesses as farmers and growers.”

The new legal panel was chosen after an intensive six-month period, reviewing 82 tender documents and interviewing 41 legal firms from all over England and Wales.

The original panel consisted of just seven law firms – one in each region.

NFU lawyer Julie Robinson said the extended panel would increase the choice available to members, while introducing a degree of competition.

Around 90% of NFU members currently pay a top-up to their subscriptions to be part of the Legal Assistance Scheme.