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With offices in Belfast and Newtownards, this well-established firm provides corporate and commercial services, as well as employment and litigation advice for business clients, together with private client services including family law, wills and probate, estate planning, medical negligence, and contract and consumer disputes.

The firm: The firm’s services for business clients are largely provided from its offices in Belfast in the dynamic Cathedral Quarter, which has experienced significant regeneration in recent years and is now a focus of arts and culture, as well as many of Northern Ireland’s creative digital businesses, start-up companies, and software and technology firms.

Through continuous investment in business development, its personnel and IT, Worthingtons prides itself on its quality and speed of response. It adopts a practical and commercial approach based on a high degree of competence in its areas of expertise, combined with an approachable manner and a desire to deliver value for money. It is known as being innovative and effective, while not over-engineering its solutions. The client base includes a number of substantial corporates such as, Dixons Carphone, Northern Ireland Electricity, Telefonica/O2, Hotel Chocolat and Vodafone, as well as many local councils, private local companies, and smaller businesses and start-ups.

Recent developments include: employment team advising nine local councils in Northern Ireland in relation to the mergers of councils following the review of public administration; winning Dixons Carphone property work in Northern Ireland; acting for Extern in the assumption of the FASA Harm Reduction Service contracts; winning a place on Northern Ireland Electricity’s legal panel for property work; and acting for household-name retailers on store openings in Northern Ireland.

Types of work undertaken:

Company and commercial: Our Company & Commercial Department is established, expert and professional. The team provide pragmatic and timely advice to a range of businesses and business owners. We advise in all aspects of corporate and commercial work including mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, incorporation, joint ventures and collaborations, shareholder agreements and disputes, franchising, management buy outs, corporate finance, share dilution and investment. The team are also experts in corporate governance, company law and contract law and advise on a wide range of commercial contracts including manufacturing and distribution agreements, contracts of services and products and terms and conditions of business. Our clients range from start-ups, partnerships, sole traders, SMEs, family businesses and international businesses stretching across the UK and Ireland, EU, USA, Canada and Australasia. We take great pride in our efficient approach and commercial awareness and strive to guide our clients to success and continued growth

Charities: The corporate team also specialises in Charity law in Northern Ireland. The legal requirements in this sector have evolved at a fast pace in the last number of years and the team provide support for boards, committees and their senior management teams on a range of matters including serious incident reporting, Charity Tribunal actions, statutory inquiries, governance, mergers or restructuring, setting up or closing a charity, incorporation, seeking consents from the Commission, trading, reviewing constitutions, contracts and funding arrangements. The team also bring in specialists from other departments to advise e.g. dealing with charity property, charity litigation, employment or GDPR.

Commercial Property: The property practice is one of the cornerstones of the business and has an excellent and growing reputation in many property-related areas. Amongst other things the firm is well-known in the market for its landlord and tenant work and asset management, particularly acting for retailers (often tenant side) whether they be UK-wide household names or local independents including names such as Dixons Carphone, Currys PC World, First Trust Bank and The Works Stores. A significant element the practice involves the licensed trade and leisure sectors. The firm is also recognised for having acted for various major telecoms providers in the original roll-out of their infrastructure in Northern Ireland and successfully maintaining those relationships for many years. A significant amount of secured lending work is also undertaken for local and foreign banks and lenders and the firm also has a strong track record in commercial and residential property development. The real estate team’s approach is based on a high level of partner involvement in cases and building strong client relationships in that way. It adopts a pragmatic, no-nonsense approach and is known for being commercial and highly responsive.

Employment law: The employment team is the largest employment law department in Northern Ireland, with 6 employment law solicitors carrying significant caseloads acting on behalf of public, private and third sector employers. It has an unrivalled presence and vast working knowledge and experience of the tribunal system. Amongst the legal profession and indeed the judiciary (previous partner now an employment judge) Worthingtons’ employment practice is recognised and respected for its experienced, thorough and well-prepared approach. The firm provides advice and tribunal representation to a wide range of employers across all sectors including relatively small to medium size businesses, large housing associations and charitable organisations. It has an excellent client base including 4 of the 6 further education colleges in Northern Ireland, 8 of the 11 local councils and 2 of the top 4 local banks. The department has built on its success in insured defence work across Northern Ireland to extend its offering to commercial clients including private advisory, defence of claims, TUPE due diligence support and the delivery of training seminars and workshops, often working in conjunction with Legal Island. The department has over 19 years’ experience of providing solicitor-led, practical advice and guidance to our clients in relation to industrial tribunal, fair employment tribunal, High Court and Court of Appeal representation. Worthingtons is known for its practical and fast-paced commercial and pragmatic advice and is considered expert in the field.

Commercial litigation: The Commercial litigation department experience is diverse and ranges from partnership and shareholder disputes, breach of contract claims, debt recovery and property litigation on behalf of commercial clients, to professional negligence claims and defence of regulatory prosecutions, as well as firearms licensing, education challenges and public law/judicial reviews. The firm handled the successful challenge to the Province’s health minister’s ban on gay men donating blood and is currently involved in a challenge to the Department for the Economy over the exclusion of a major power plant from the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. The firm has dedicated sub teams dealing with commercial litigation, public law and judicial review, commercial debt recovery and professional negligence actions. The firm acts for foreign banks (in enforcement actions against NI residents), local and GB businesses including major retail clients, in all manner of commercial disputes. The team also represent charities in a diverse range of litigation matters including will/probate disputes and the defence of a restitution action commenced by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Medical negligence is a notable area of expertise, including a number of recent settlements of cases of catastrophic brain injury for in excess of £4m over the lifetime of the clients. Worthingtons have an established and impressive track record in advising on multi-million pound cases, involving cerebral palsy and currently have a number of these cases ongoing. A considerable number of cases arising from Cauda Equina, cosmetic and dental surgery are also presently handled by the clinical negligence team, as well as cases resulting from misdiagnosis and/or delays in diagnosis of cancer and orthopaedic injuries such as fractures and hip dislocation. Worthingtons have the experienced, dedicated team required to ensure all cases are dealt with the sympathy and sensitivity they deserve.

Private client services include a comprehensive wills, estate planning and probate service, including advising high-net-worth individuals in estate planning and trusts. Our family law team run a busy and successful practice dealing with all aspects of family law including divorce, financial settlement, child care matters, international cases, surrogacy and adoption law. We are also proud to be one of the few firms of solicitors in Northern Ireland who specialise in dealing with educational law issues in particular in the area of special educational needs. Finally we have a large and very busy team based at our Newtownards office who handle residential property sales and purchases across Northern Ireland.

  • Number of UK partners: 9
  • Number of other UK fee-earners: 21
  • Breakdown of work %
  • ‚Ä©
  • Employment: 30
  • Litigation: 20
  • Commercial/property: 30
  • Private client: 20


Above material supplied by Worthingtons.

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