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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > Projects, energy and natural resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Energy

Index of tables

  1. Energy
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

A&L Goodbody has a strong track record of advising lenders on complex, high-value energy projects, as well as handling high-profile M&A transactions in the sector, including the sale and acquisition of wind, solar and anaerobic digestion (AD) projects. The team also has expertise in electricity and gas regulation, and acts on energy sector disputes. The team is led by Mark Thompson and project finance specialist Ciaran McAlinney. Newly promoted partner Mark Stockdale is particularly noted for his regulatory advice.

Practice head(s):Mark Thompson; Ciaran McAlinney

Other key lawyers:Mark Stockdale

Testimonials

'A&L Goodbody has a very experienced banking team who have extensive knowledge in structuring and documenting complex energy-related project finance transactions.'

'Ciaran McAlinney is highly experienced and intelligent, thorough, detailed, hardworking and easy to deal with. He inspires a high level of trust and confidence.'

'Mark Stockdale has excellent knowledge of the energy and renewables sector and complements the banking team on energy-related transactions. He has a strong network in the energy sector, and is very approachable and easy to deal with.'

Key Clients

Brookfield Renewables

B9

SONI

Greencoat UK Wind

SGN

Renewable Energy Systems

Ulster Bank

Energia/Viridian

Gas Networks Ireland

First Trust/AIB Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Action Renewables on establishing the Renewable Heat Association as a special interest group to represent the owners of non-domestic biomass boilers who availed of the Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive. This was in response to the highly publicised RHI scandal which ultimately led to the collapse of the Northern Irish government.
  • Acting as lead adviser to Brookfield Renewables as the purchaser of the 23MW Elginny wind farm, and on the project financing of the wind farm immediately post acquisition.
  • Advising the lender on the Northern Ireland aspects of a bond issue to fund the development of a gas transmission pipeline.  
  • Advising Viridian Power and Energy Limited on the acquisition of Huntstown Bioenergy Limited.
  • Acting for Bayern as lender to the purchaser of a large portfolio of operational single wind turbines.

Carson McDowell has advised on a range of significant regional energy projects, including the construction of gas distribution networks and power stations, and the sale, acquisition and project financing of wind turbine and AD projects. The team has recently expanded its client base to include a number of energy sector businesses and utilities companies. Practice head Neasa Quigley specialises in M&A and equity funding in the sector. Gary McGhee and Emma Cooper advise on the planning and property aspects of energy projects.

Practice head(s):Neasa Quigley

Other key lawyers:Gary McGhee; Emma Cooper

Key Clients

Simple Power Limited

Northern Ireland Networks Limited

Evermore Energy

Firmus Energy

System Operator for Northern Ireland

Renewable Energy Systems Limited

Scotia Gas Networks Limited

Elgin Energy

Click Energy

Connective Energy

Work highlights

  • Representing the owners of Simple Power Limited, which has the largest portfolio of 250k single wind turbines in Northern Ireland, in its sale to Foresight Group.
  • Acting for Northern Ireland Electricity Networks on its £350m bond issue to support an investment programme.
  • Advising the supply and distribution sides of the Firmus Energy business across a broad range of energy-related matters.
  • Advising SONI on the North-South Interconnector project connecting the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • Advising Renewable Energy Systems on the judicial review of a planning decision in respect of its proposed seven-turbine wind farm (known as Barr Cregg wind farm).

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP acts for public and private sector clients in the energy sector, including utilities, energy companies and government bodies, and is advising a number of new investment fund and lender clients on high-value investments in energy projects in Northern Ireland. The team also advises on regulatory issues. Practice head Richard Murphy is 'very knowledgeable in the energy industry across Ireland'.

Practice head(s):Richard Murphy

Other key lawyers:Laura Donnelly; Michael Hamill

Testimonials

'The team's client empathy is second to none. This, combined with a "value for money" service which is continually delivered in a prompt and knowledgeable manner, makes this practice unique.'

'The standout is Richard Murphy, who is always empathetic to clients' business requirements and budget. Despite being a particularly "in demand" individual, he remains a very accessible contact. Richard is also a very affable individual who is a pleasure to work with.'

'Solicitor Matthew McMurray is a very pleasant, approachable and "nothing is a problem" character who will always work to provide an appropriately considered, yet prompt response to any request asked of him.'

'Richard Murphy has excellent technical knowledge.'

Key Clients

Viridian Group

CES Energy

NTR

Vayu Limited (t/aNaturgy)

TCI Renewables

The Renewable Infrastructure Group (TRIG)

Oxford Capital

Mutual Energy

SONI

firmus energy

The Foresight Group LLP

Greencoat Capital

SL Capital Infrastructure (Aberdeen Standard Investments)

Scottish Equity Partners

SSE Airtricity

Work highlights

  • Advising Mutual Energy on a £250m infrastructure project to bring natural gas to counties Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh.
  • Acting for Foresight Group LLP on the acquisition of Simple Power Limited, including its portfolio of 52 operational onshore wind turbines located across Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Greencoat Capital on the Northern Irish aspects of the acquisition of Brockaghboy wind farm.
  • Advising SSE Airtricity on requirements related to the integrated single electricity market (I-SEM).
  • Acting for Scottish Equity Partners on the acquisition of seven onshore wind turbines from a local developer.

Arthur Cox Belfast is known for its strength in advising on large energy sector M&A, particularly cross-border transactions, financing for conventional and renewable energy projects, and energy regulation. The team has been particularly active advising on onshore wind projects across the island of Ireland, and also assists with natural resources issues such as mining. The practice is led by chairman Alan Taylor and Dublin-based Alex McLean, and also includes Paul McBride.

Practice head(s):Alan Taylor; Alex McLean

Other key lawyers:Paul McBride

Key Clients

Premier Transmission Limited

Mutual Energy

Belfast Gas Transmission Limited

Energia Group

Power NI Energy t/a PowerNI

Viridian Group

Department for the Economy

Kingspan Environmental Limited

Island Green Power

Simple Power

Work highlights

  • Advising arc21, a body formed by six Northern Ireland councils, on the grid connection application for its energy-from-waste generator.
  • Advising Premier Transmission, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mutual Energy Limited (the owner of three of the four gas transmission pipelines in Northern Ireland), on the extension of a transportation agreement.
  • Advising Gas Market Operator for Northern Ireland on gas transportation issues.
  • Advising Phoenix Natural Gas on its terms and conditions relating to gas connections to comply with new licence conditions imposed by the Utility Regulator.
  • Acting for Barclays as joint lead manager on the Northern Irish aspects of the £350m bond provided to NIE Networks.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin's wide-ranging client base includes renewable developers, UK and international investment funds, banks, large utilities, system operators and regulatory bodies. The 'strong' team advises on the financing of significant energy projects, high-profile M&A transactions in the energy sector, and regulatory issues. Stephen Cross, who has particular expertise in energy regulation and project finance, leads the team. Karen Blair and Joe Marley handle the planning and real estate aspects of energy transactions.

Practice head(s):Stephen Cross

Other key lawyers:Karen Blair; Joe Marley

Key Clients

Equitix Investment Management

EirGrid Plc

SONI Limited

Blackrock

Wirsol Energy

Assured Energy

Close Brothers

BNRG Energy

AES

Electricity Supply Board

Work highlights

  • Acting for Equitix Investment Management in its successful bid to purchase Firmus Energy, one of the largest local natural gas distributors and suppliers in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising EirGrid plc and SONI Limited, the system operators in Ireland and Northern Ireland, on the European Market Integration Project (EMIP) which was implemented in Ireland and Northern Ireland in October 2018.
  • Acting for Blackbee Investment Limited on its financing of six wind turbine projects in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Assured Energy on the development of AD biomass plants.
  • Acting for Close Brothers Asset Finance on its financing of a number of renewables projects across Northern Ireland.

TLT is particularly active in the renewables market, with expertise in advising on the development, acquisition, funding and disposal of clean energy generation projects, including onshore and offshore wind, solar and biomass projects. The team acts for a range of utilities, developers, funders and investors. The practice is led by Andrew Ryan, who stands out for his 'knowledge, responsiveness and flexibility', while Kevin Murphy handles the real estate aspects of energy projects. Sarah Ewing moved to Shoosmiths LLP.

Practice head(s):Andrew Ryan

Other key lawyers:Kevin Murphy

Testimonials

'TLT stands out for its ability to offer seamless energy specialist resource across all relevant UK jurisdictions.'

'Andrew Ryan's knowledge and experience of the Northern Ireland energy market - particularly in relation to power purchase agreements and the recent I-SEM changes - is invaluable.'

Key Clients

SQN Asset Finance Income Fund Limited

M.J.M. Marine Limited

Brookfield Renewable

Greenville Energy

H6 Energy Limited

ABO Wind NI Ltd

B9 Organic Energy/Granville EcoPark Ltd

Low Carbon

Albion Community Power plc

Industrial Finance & Leasing

Vortex Projects Limited

SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising H6 Energy Limited in relation to a proposed sale of one of the largest optioned solar farm sites in Northern Ireland to Elgin Energy Limited.
  • Advising ABO Wind NI Ltd on a number of planning applications for wind farms in Northern Ireland, including a major infrastructure application for a proposed wind farm in the Mourne Mountains.
  • Acting for Brookfield on a number of planning applications for wind farms in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising B9/Granville on a number of issues in relation to the ongoing development and operation of a large-scale AD plant in Dungannon.
  • Advising Albion Community Power plc on the acquisition of a portfolio of single 250kW wind turbines across Northern Ireland from Wind NI Ltd.

John McKee Solicitors is noted for its 'significant industry knowledge and experience'; practice head Alan Bissett, who joined the firm in June 2018 from an in-house role at AES, 'knows everything there is to know about the power sector in Northern Ireland'. The team has expanded its client base to include electricity and fuel distributors, government bodies, power stations and AD facility operators. The team has been particularly active advising on high-profile M&A transactions in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):Alan Bissett

Testimonials

'Alan Bissett's knowledge of his clients' business (and the industry) is wide ranging.'

'Alan Bissett is an extremely pragmatic lawyer who provides advice in a timely, efficient manner. His availability makes him stand out from his competitors - he does whatever he can to make himself available and provides a true "Rolls-Royce" service. He is the only true energy specialist in Northern Ireland.'

'John McKee Solicitors has top-notch local knowledge of both the legal landscape and the industry trends delivered in a way that clients can quickly understand.'

'In addition to being a massive store of knowledge of both the legal structure and the Northern Irish electricity industry generally, Alan Bissett is also an excellent commercial attorney who can help navigate any issues.'

'Alan Bissett knows the sector and is straightforward to work with.'

'Alan Bissett is a great communicator, with the ability to clearly explain complex issues and identify options and impacts or risks.'

Alan Bissett really knows the Northern Irish electricity market.  His commercial and business insights are invaluable and he is in total command of the legal issues.  He is able to communicate those extremely well, to colleagues and clients and in negotiation. A complete joy to work with.

Key Clients

AES Ballylumford Power Limited

AES Kilroot Limited

Department of Finance

Nicholls’ (Fuel Oils) Limited

The AES Corporation

NIGEN Limited

Work highlights

  • Advises AES Kilroot Power Limited on all energy-related matters, including contract negotiations to ensure the Kilroot Power Station remained in operation.
  • Representing Nicholls’ (Fuel Oils) Limited in its acquisition of the oil distribution business of DCC Energy Limited in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising AES Ballylumford Limited on all energy-related matters, including statutory and other emergency fuel-stocking requirements in Northern Ireland.
  • Acting for AES Corporation on the sale by auction of Northern Ireland's biggest power stations, Ballylumford and Kilroot, to Czech company Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH) for approximately £163m.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP advises on corporate transactions in the energy sector, including restructures, joint ventures and high-value M&A. In addition, the team assists with the development and financing of energy projects, particularly in the renewables sector, including wind, solar/PV and biomass schemes. The team also advises on regulatory and compliance issues. Andrew Kerr, who has particular expertise in the renewables sector, leads the practice.

Practice head(s):Andrew Kerr

Key Clients

Scottish Power Renewables (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing a local bank in respect of £1m of facilities being made available for the construction of an AD generation facility in Northern Ireland.
  • Acting for a major energy provider in respect of the repowering of one of its wind farms.
  • Advising on the £30m sale of a multi-turbine wind farm in County Antrim.

Mills Selig advises on the acquisition, financing and disposal of energy projects, including biomass, hydro, geothermal and wind energy developments. The team also assists with contracts for the supply of energy, including natural gas and electricity generated by wind turbines. Clients include conventional and renewable energy generators and distributors. Practice head Anna-Marie McAlinden specialises in the property aspects of energy projects.

Practice head(s):Anna-Marie McAlinden

Tughans' 'friendly and capable' team has a wide-ranging client base which includes banks, utilities, developers, transmission system operators and public bodies. The team advises on energy sector M&A, with particular strength in cross-border transactions, and also assists with the financing of major energy projects. John-George Willis leads the practice, while Andrew Kirke, who was recently promoted to director, has expertise in the regulatory and contractual aspects of energy transactions.

Practice head(s):John-George Willis

Other key lawyers:Andrew Kirke

Key Clients

SONI Ltd

Rockfire Capital

Adman Civil Engineering

First Trust

Budget Energy

B9 Energy

Northern Ireland Water

Granville Ecopark

Lissan Coal Company

Consumer Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, an independent non-departmental public body, in developing new terms and conditions for suppliers.
  • Advising the B9 Energy group on a number of ongoing energy-related matters, including contracts with technology suppliers.
  • Acting for ND Berry & Sons in connection with the development on the client's farm of an AD plant by Isle of Man company United Renewables Ltd.
  • Advising SONI, the sole operator of the high-voltage electricity transmission network in Ireland, on the negotiation of a contract with AES Kilroot Power Limited to allow its plant at Kilroot Power Station to remain open for a further year to provide system support services to the Northern Ireland grid.
  • Advising Adman Civil Projects Limited on a number of wind farm projects both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


Project finance and PFI

Index of tables

  1. Project finance and PFI
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Arthur Cox Belfast's 'responsive' team provides 'clear and comprehensive advice' on procurement issues to a range of public sector clients, including public bodies and government departments, as well as acting for leading private sector clients. 'Very approachable' practice head William Curry handles both contentious and non-contentious procurement matters, and is particularly active in relation to real estate, social housing and energy work.

Practice head(s):William Curry

Testimonials

'Arthur Cox is capable of tailoring its advice to suit the scale and complexity of the issues and provides strong impartial advice. The team is held in very high regard.'

'William Curry is approachable, very knowledgeable in his area of expertise, and provides a high-value service at competitive rates.'

'The team is able to provide rapid and accurate advice in this field. They understand the procurement of public contracts from the inside, from the design of a competition to meet the commercial needs of a contracting authority, to the defence of that design in litigation.'

'William Curry is a good analytical thinker and knows the subject inside out.'

'William Curry is very approachable and always happy to offer advice. He is quick to respond and provides clear explanations and rationale.'

Key Clients

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

Ulster University

arc21

Ards and North Down Borough Council

Department of Finance (LPS)

Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association

Apex Housing Association

Premier Transmission Limited

PowerNI

Work highlights

  • Advising arc21, a group of six district councils in the eastern region of Northern Ireland, on the procurement of the largest PFI/PPP project and the first procurement of an energy-from-waste facility ever to be undertaken in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Ulster University on all matters associated with the procurement of a construction contract for the development of a new campus in the centre of Belfast (the Greater Belfast Development).
  • Advising Apex Housing Association Limited on various procurement issues.
  • Advising the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on five separate sets of legal challenges to contract awards in relation to an important tender.
  • Advising Choice, one of Northern Ireland’s largest housing associations, on the procurement of a design and build framework.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP specialises in advising on complex local, national and international infrastructure projects, acting for a range of public and private sector clients. The practice is led by London-based Adrian Eakin and Richard Murphy, who focuses on energy projects.

Practice head(s):Adrian Eakin; Richard Murphy

Other key lawyers:Ciara Seymour

A&L Goodbody is noted for its strength in advising lenders on the financing of energy projects, including solar, wind and waste-to-energy, and has also been active in relation to projects in the healthcare and education sectors. The team regularly advises on multi-jurisdictional transactions. Mark Thompson leads the practice alongside Ciaran McAlinney, who specialises in high-value, portfolio and syndicated lending transactions, particularly in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):Ciaran McAlinney; Mark Thompson

Testimonials

'A&L Goodbody is the first choice firm in Northern Ireland for energy project financing.'

'Ciaran McAlinney is driven, hardworking across all the detail of the transaction, and inspires confidence.'

Key Clients

Bank of Ireland

Ulster Bank

First Trust/AIB Bank

Société Générale

Brookfield Renewables

Royal Bank of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising Brookfield on the project financing of the Elginny wind farm immediately post acquisition.
  • Advising a lender on the Northern Ireland aspects of a bond issue to fund the development of a new gas transmission pipeline.
  • Acting for Bayern as lender to the purchaser of a large portfolio of operational single wind turbines.
  • Advising RBS on the project financing of the Laurel Hill solar farm, which was recently acquired by Foresight Group.

Carson McDowell regularly acts for funders on significant projects in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK, as well as in the Republic of Ireland. The team has been active in the energy sector, and has also advised on a range of infrastructure, education and healthcare sector transactions. Practice head Gerard Armstrong is noted for his expertise in large-scale infrastructure and PFI/PPP projects, while Neasa Quigley specialises in energy.

Practice head(s):Gerard Armstrong

Other key lawyers:Neasa Quigley

Key Clients

O’Hare & McGovern Limited

Belfast Metropolitan College

Amey Roads

Dalradian Resources

Heron Bros

Valero Energy

Northern Ireland Networks Limited

Firmus Energy

System Operator for Northern Ireland

Belfast Educational Services

Work highlights

  • Advising Amey Roads in relation to the DBFO 2 Roads Scheme, the largest roads project in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Belfast Metropolitan College on the BMC PPP Project to design and build a new college.
  • Acting for Valero Energy on its acquisition of a petroleum storage facility business.
  • Advising GPG Lisburn in relation to a project for the construction of a new  primary and community care centre at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Simple Power Limited in relation to the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Foresight Group.


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