The Legal 500

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Northern Ireland

Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 2


'A brilliant defence firm', DWF specialises in commercial, professional negligence and insurance litigation. 'Real good operator' and 'excellent litigation practitioner' Gareth Jones leads the practice.

Practice head(s):Gareth Jones

Leading individuals

Gareth Jones - DWF

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Northern Ireland: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3


DWF primarily acts for mainstream banks, funds and bridging finance lenders, and is seeing an increasingly cross-jurisdictional element to its work, which covers real estate, business acquisition and energy project finance, and the financing of private equity investments into major Northern Irish businesses. The team is active in various sectors, including healthcare, hotels, student accommodation, electronics, agri-food and telecoms. Following the departure of Ian Stanfield, Julie Huddleston leads the team, which was recently bolstered by the arrival of director Alison Reid from John McKee Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Julie Huddleston

Other key lawyers:Alison Reid


'DWF has a highly proactive team with dedicated associates for each aspect of the transaction, overseen by an engaged partner.'

'Associate Patrice Murphy is engaged, responsive and knowledgeable in all her dealings.'

'The team has a good spread of experience and legal coverage over several jurisdictions. It offers a quality service with strong and regular communication updates.'

'DWF has a highly experienced and respected team and provides a very strong, efficient and responsive service.'

'Julie Huddleston has significant experience and is very commercially aware. She provides strong advice and guidance and deals with all requests in an efficient and timely manner.'

Key Clients

Bank of Ireland (UK) plc

AIB Group UK plc

Ulster Bank Group

Santander UK plc


Danske Bank

Clydesdale Bank

Atom Bank


Ortus Secured Finance

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of First Trust Bank as funder in connection with the purchase by Lonsdale Capital Partners of shares in the Elite Electronics Group of Companies

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Northern Ireland: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property - ranked: tier 2


DWF has been particularly active for retail sector clients, including advising on the acquisitions and sales of shopping centre and retail park schemes. The team has also handled major hotel and healthcare sector developments and acquisitions. The 'totally accurate and pragmatic' Julie Galbraith took over as practice head from the 'exceptional' Mark Tinman in 2018. Kirsty Mairs regularly acts for local developers. John Palmer moved to Shoosmiths LLP, while Alison Reid joined from John McKee Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Julie Galbraith

Other key lawyers:Mark Tinman; Kirsty Mairs; Alison Reid


'The team is proactive, thorough and most importantly looks to provide solutions as opposed to creating problems.'

'Mark Tinman leads the field in Northern Ireland on real estate matters, providing a focus on ensuring transactions proceed to a conclusion with an ability to work alongside his contemporaries in a proactive manner.'

'DWF provides a multi-disciplined international service from a local platform. The ability for clients to draw on the firm's wider expertise from the local office is invaluable.'

'DWF has an outstanding team of professionals in Belfast, with an unparalleled breadth of experience and expertise. However, the standout characteristic is its ability to react quickly and to provide quality advice almost instantaneously when required.'

Key Clients

Whitbread Group


Marks & Spencer plc

Titanic Quarter

TH UK & Ireland Limited T/a Tim Hortons

Herbert Group


Vision Express

Ann Summers

Søstrene Grene



Work highlights

  • Acted for the UK franchisee of Tim Hortons on acquiring a lease of its first Northern Irish store.
  • Acted for Alfred Street Properties on the preparation of new agreements for leases for a number of retailers at the Connswater Retail Park and Shopping Centre.
  • Acted for Titanic Quarter on the negotiation of a development agreement for a new Hilton Hotel in Belfast's prestigious Titanic Quarter.
  • Acted for Søstrene Grene on the acquisition of new retail premises in Bangor, Northern Ireland, the client's third store to open in the region.
  • Acted for Bunsen Burgers on the negotiation of a new lease for its first restaurant in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast.
Leading individuals

Mark Tinman - DWF

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Further information on DWF

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Legal Developments in the UK

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