Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

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.
Click here for more details

United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > Real estate > Planning and environment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Planning and environment
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Maria O'Loan - Tughans
    • Andrew Ryan - TLT

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Planning and environment clients in Northern Ireland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Carson McDowell’s planning team ‘combines unparalleled expertise with an unsurpassed ability to deliver’, according to clients. The ‘client-focused, responsive and commercially aware’ group is very active in the infrastructure and energy sectors; recent work includes handling planning applications and judicial reviews as well as obtaining regulatory approvals for electricity pylon applications, site redevelopment for educational facilities, exploratory drilling, and road construction. In a key matter, the team represented SONI, Northern Ireland’s electricity transmission system operator, in a successful planning application for a multimillion-pound project consisting of 100 electricity pylons and a new substation to connect the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In another mandate, the group is acting for Galantas in a judicial review challenge brought against a planning application granted to the company authorising the extension of its gold mine in Omagh; the case is being heard at the Court of Appeal. On the non-contentious side, the team is advising Lake Torrent on a planning application for a £30m motor racing circuit in County Tyrone. The ‘extremely knowledgeable and experiencedGary McGhee leads the department; he attracts praise for his ‘ability to cut through complexity and deliver clean and practical advice’. Associate Sarah Dunlop , who is ‘really hard-working and extremely personable’, is also recommended. Grant McBurney made partner in June 2017.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s ‘excellent’ team has a ‘sound knowledge of the issues’ when assisting clients from the energy, real estate, minerals and infrastructure sectors - among others - with planning applications and judicial reviews. Recent instructions for the group include assisting Gaelectric with its ongoing proposed compressed air energy storage project, which involves the construction of underground caverns capable of maintaining compressed air. Key clients for the firm include Belfast City Airport, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, AES Electric, and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. The ‘very responsiveKaren Blair heads the practice.

TLT attracts praise for its ‘very good knowledge of the planning system, especially in terms of the interaction between pure planning law and environmental law, both domestic and European’. The team is advising ABO Wind NI on its planning application for the development of a £50m wind farm in the Mourne Mountains and, in a showcase of the firm’s expertise in contentious matters, the group is assisting Organic Fertilisers with a planning and waste management licensing appeal concerning its fertiliser manufacturing business near Newry. Practice head Andrew Ryan  attracts praise for his ‘excellent legal ability in the field and encyclopaedic knowledge of environmental and waste law’.

Tughans’s planning practice has ‘great knowledge’ of a wide range of sectors and a solid track record working on major projects within the utility, infrastructure and energy sectors. Practice head Maria O'Loan has been assisting Northern Ireland (NI) Water with a procurement matter regarding the purchase of renewable power for its Dunore Point Water Treatment Works; after no successful bidder was identified, the group advised NI Water on the successful procurement of land and an EPC contract in order to develop, commission and run its own solar farm for the benefit of the water treatment works. The Ulster Council Gaelic Athletic Association and Apple are other key clients of the firm.

The ‘very robust and commercially minded’ planning team at A&L Goodbody is well known for handling regulatory and non-contentious work within the real estate sector and has notable expertise in providing planning advice to councils. Key clients include Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Property partner Mark Blair leads the team.

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to