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Dispute resolution in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody's 'very strong' team handles major cases in Northern Ireland as well as advising on the local aspects of disputes spanning across the UK and Europe. Leading the team is 'market leaderBrendan Fox, who is well known for his strength in construction litigation and has recently appeared before the Northern Irish High Court, as well as the UK Supreme Court. Belfast office head Michael Neill is highly skilled in financial services and fraud-related litigation, and has been advising Volkswagen on the local aspects of the case concerning its global emissions scandal. The firm is also a well-known name in procurement cases, having acted for the Renewable Heat Association Northern Ireland in a judicial review stemming from the so-called ‘cash for ash’ scandal, led by the 'well-respectedMicaela Diver. Insolvency litigation is another cornerstone of the practice, where Sam Corbett is particularly active. Barbara Creed has wide-ranging expertise in commercial, property, insurance and product liability disputes.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox

Other key lawyers:

Michael Neill; Micaela Diver; Sam Corbett; Barbara Creed

Testimonials

‘A very strong litigation team. They cover all bases in litigation from banking, insurance, construction and insolvency-related matters to general litigation. They are able to offer an all-Ireland practice and have a modern, efficient system of practice administration.’

‘Brendan Fox is a market leader in construction. Sam Corbett is one of the best solicitors in Belfast. He is extremely academic and a doyen of insolvency-related litigation. Micaela Diver is very well regarded and the market leader in competition-based claims. She is also an expert in procurement law.’

‘Sam Corbett was invaluable in guiding us through the process and advising us to bring our case to a conclusion that was favourable to ourselves, prior to trial. This saved us a considerable amount of money in court and counsel fees. He was very easy to deal with, and explained the legal process to us very well. We found him to be a very effective communicator, responding quickly to any queries and requests for action.’

‘What stands out about the team is the quality of advice given, particularly in the presence of provocative and self-dealing practices presented by opposing counsel. They introduced a novel format for mediation in the context of the Covid restrictions. Plain speaking on the part of Brendan Fox.’

‘Brendan Fox is as fine a litigator as I have ever worked with. He is pragmatic, always available, and sincerely advocates for his clients’ interests. He is genuinely invested in his clients’ outcome rather than exclusively in their fee, as can seem the case with other firms.’

Key clients

Volkswagen

News Group Newspapers

easyJet

Rolex

Screwfix

Deloitte UK

George Best City Airport

The Renewable Heat Association NI

Devenish Nutrition

Danske Bank

Bank of Ireland

Ulster Bank

Irish Football Association

Titanic Quarter

Matt D’Arcy Whiskey

Work highlights

  • Acting for Volkswagen in the Northern Ireland element of the international product liability case regarding emissions allegations.
  • Acted for landlord Peninsula Securities Limited, which challenged the validity of a covenant contained in a lease with Dunnes Stores, on the grounds that it is void in restraint of trade.
  • Acted for News Group Newspapers, defending multiple High Court proceedings involving claims relating to defamation, privacy and data protection.

Arthur Cox Belfast

With 'a wealth of experience in the local market', Arthur Cox Belfast advises multinational clients such as Renault, Volvo and Roche Diagnostics, with a notably strong background in competition and procurement disputes. Financial services litigation is another key area of focus, largely owing to the expertise of practice head and managing partner Catriona Gibson, who is described as a 'skilled negotiator'. Procurement cases are mainly handled by Chris Ritchie, who is also highly skilled in insurance-related disputes. Also recommended are the 'astuteDavid Black, who focuses on contentious competition, breach of contract and professional negligence cases, and associate Carley Shields, who specialises in commercial litigation.

Practice head(s):

Catriona Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Chris Ritchie; David Black; Carley Shields

Testimonials

‘The Belfast litigation team are commercial and hardworking. They provide a first-class service.’

‘The Arthur Cox team have a wealth of experience in the local market.’

‘David Black and Catriona Gibson are extremely capable, knowledgeable and nice people to work with.’

‘Great client base and the entire team are very strong in this practice area.’

‘David Black is astute, easy to work with and has clear commercial logic. Carley Shields demonstrates tireless energy and tenacity in pursuing cases.’

‘Arthur Cox is a highly skilled and experienced law firm with significant presence and professionalism.’

‘The firm employs experienced and extremely learned lawyers at both partner and associate level. Arthur Cox are in the top five law firms in Northern Ireland.’

‘Catriona Gibson is a highly qualified and skilled negotiator in dispute resolutionmatters. She has great presence of mind. David Black is calmness personified and provides great clarity in explaining complex litigation matters.’

Key clients

Coca-Cola

Sky

Aer Lingus

Global Media & Entertainment (Capital FM, Heart Radio, Capital Xtra, LBC, Classic FM)

Renault

PwC

iPower Ltd

Volvo

Roche

Deloitte

Work highlights

  • Advised Volvo and Renault entities in Northern Ireland in defence of all claims originating from a decision of the European Commission in 2016 relating to ‘price fixing’.
  • Advised Global Media & Entertainment in relation to conflict of contractual provisions arising from a premium advertising space in a high-volume retail area in Belfast.
  • Advised Roche Diagnostics on a procurement challenge brought by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell’s broad commercial litigation practice has standout strengths in handling procurement challenges as well as assisting manufacturing companies in disputes concerning their commercial agreements with suppliers and other parties. Declan Magee heads the 'professional, efficient and thorough' commercial litigation and dispute resolution team and has extensive experience in procurement challenges, counting Translink as a key client. Another key area of expertise is insolvency litigation, with head of debt recovery Darren Toombs regularly acting on restructuring and debt recovery cases. Commercial litigator Peter Guzhar is another key name in the team; he acted for Tayto in a widely publicised trade mark infringement case against a supplier which was selling the Republic of Ireland’s similarly named yet separate crisps in bars and restaurants in Northern Ireland. Head of insurance Hugh McGrattan and head of construction Stuart Murphy are also highly recommended for disputes in their respective areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Declan Magee; Stuart Murphy; Darren Toombs; Hugh McGrattan

Other key lawyers:

Peter Guzhar

Testimonials

‘The team are practical, commercial and costs conscious, in addition to being subject matter experts.’

‘I have always found the team to be very professional, efficient and thorough in everything they do.’

‘A busy practice which is able to provide first-class service to clients.’

Key clients

Tayto Group Limited and Tayto (NI) Limited

Sunday Life (Independent News & Media NI)

Sentence Review Commissioners

Northstone NI Limited

Translink

FP McCann Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised FP McCann on a judicial review against the Department for Regional Development’s decision to treat its tender for the A8 dual carriageway project as abnormally low.
  • Acted for Tayto in highly publicised trade mark infringement proceedings against an unlicensed supplier.
  • Acted for Translink in a procurement challenge to the award of the enabling works for the new Belfast Transport Hub, challenged by an unsuccessful tenderer.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

With 'broad sector experience and the ability to manage numerous cases', Cleaver Fulton Rankin is a reputed name for construction and procurement disputes in particular, with a client roster consisting of major banks, public bodies and construction companies. Practice head Patrick Fleming excels in these particular fields, and acts in arbitrations, adjudications and mediation. Firm managing director Jonathan Forrester, who is described as a 'clear communicator', has a similar focus on property and construction disputes, with additional skills in probate and trust cases. Lisa Boyd, a 'solicitor of the highest calibre who is the consummate professional', is a key name for procurement litigation and quite uniquely holds a postgraduate degree specifically in public procurement.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Fleming

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Forrester; Lisa Boyd

Testimonials

‘Broad sector experience and the ability to manage numerous cases, ensuring case deadlines and court appearance dates are met. ’

‘This teams’s innovation (especially tech-related) means a higher quality of service for less time and money on our part. They really are determined to disrupt the market to make their service better and it’s great to be involved when working with them.’

‘There is a culture of working together with their clients – their approach is really constructive in getting to where we need to be, with our needs always coming first.’

‘CFR develop relationships with their clients, get to know their clients’ businesses and provide advice based on this knowledge. Their procurement expertise is of the highest calibre – they keep themselves up to date with case law and are then able to provide up-to-date advice based on the latest case law.’

‘I have worked closely with Lisa Boyd. Lisa is a very personable individual and has always gone the extra mile to provide the required advice, even when that meant working out of hours to achieve tight deadlines. I have valued Lisa’s commitment to the relationship we as an organisation have with CFR, her prompt responses, her attention to detail and her preparation for meetings. Lisa is a solicitor of the highest calibre who is the consummate professional.’

‘Lisa Boyd has been our main contact. She has been very responsive, working lengthy periods out of hours to meet urgent needs. She demonstrates extensive knowledge and commercial awareness.’

‘Professional and responsive. This team has your back. They provide professional advice in simple terms and go out of their way to protect your interests. I really feel that this team has provided us with excellent advice, without raising expectations, and has offered solutions as to the best outcomes.’

‘Johnny Forrester is a clear communicator who acts at all times in the best interests of his client. He communicates legalese in simple and understandable terms, and is responsive and always on hand to offer advice and support.’

Key clients

BAM McCann JV

Victoria Housing Estates Limited

Linfield Football Club

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

North West Regional College

DB UK Bank Limited

HSBC Bank plc

Ulster Bank Limited

Bank of Ireland

Work highlights

  • Advising BAM McCann JV on a procurement challenge related to the procurement procedure for a road scheme project.
  • Advising a social landlord in relation to a tender process for the procurement of maintenance contracts.
  • Acting for a national waste management company in a High Court challenge to the procurement process run by one of Northern Ireland’s largest councils for its waste collection.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

A ‘mid-size practice that punches above its weight’, Elliott Duffy Garrett is a leading name in the areas of product liability claims and insolvency. Name partner Christopher Duffy leads the team and handles cases covering all areas of insolvency, debt recovery and enforcement, including obtaining injunctive relief. The team is also skilled in the real estate and construction sectors, focusing on claims relating to employer’s liability, contractual breaches and health and safety.  Procurement and energy disputes, largely led by Marie-Louise Lowry, are another area of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Duffy

Other key lawyers:

Marie-Louise Lowry

Testimonials

‘This is a mid-size practice which punches above its weight. It has a very strong team of lawyers and excellent associates which has enabled it to take on and address some very large cases.’

‘Christopher Duffy is a very skilled litigator. He is forensic in his approach and misses none of the detail in a case.’

‘Marie-Louise Lowry is well known for her formidable style and is respected by all her opponents. She is an expert in procurement challenges and company-related litigation.’

‘The Elliott Duffy Garrett team is well respected in the legal marketplace in Northern Ireland. Their professionalism is held in high esteem among their client base, fellow legal practitioners and the judiciary alike. They are noted for their legal knowledge, their teamwork, and their cool-headed and pragmatic approach to commercial disputes.’

‘Christopher Duffy is a standout commercial and insolvency lawyer. He has a well-deserved reputation for attention to detail, knowledge of the law and dedication to his clients. Marie-Louise Lowry is also a commercial litigator of particular note, with vast experience of procurement, planning and licensing matters.’

‘This practice puts clients at the centre of its operations and delivers extraordinary client care.’

‘Good solicitor/client relationships achieved by the application of judgement and experience.’

‘Where necessary, advice is given and outcomes indicated as soon as possible so that a client may make an informed judgement as to what comes next.’

Key clients

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

Northern Bank t/a Danske

Choice Housing Ireland Limited

SEUPB

Trinity Mirror Plc

Tennent’s (NI) Limited

Budget Energy Ltd

Andras House Group

Connswater Credit Limited

Premium Credit Limited

Work highlights

  • Defended a construction company against an unfair prejudice petition and breach of contract/negligence action.
  • Advised a housing association in relation to a fire caused by a mentally unwell tenant.
  • Advised Dankse Bank and Keenan Corporate Finance on the administration of Shelf Company 2002.

Tughans

With 'an enviable track record in dispute resolution in Northern Ireland', Tughans is a particularly popular choice for construction, insolvency and procurement litigation, with additional expertise in shareholder disputes, breach of contract cases and professional negligence claims. Senior partner Michael McCord is one of three practice heads and is 'a market leader' for construction disputes, as well as handling related professional negligence and insolvency cases. 'Hugely respected' managing partner Patrick Brown leads on the procurement side and has extensive experience in acting for contracting authorities and unsuccessful tenderers. Also leading the team is 'standout performerToby McMurray, who handles insolvency cases and is highly skilled in obtaining freezing injunctions.

Practice head(s):

Michael McCord; Patrick Brown; Toby McMurray

Testimonials

‘Very strong relevant experience.’

‘Tughans bring a deep knowledge and insight of Northern Irish commercial practice, which ensures their clients get to put their best foot forward in any dispute process.’

‘This is the strongest litigation team in Belfast. The firm is particularly known for its ability to take on and run the largest litigation cases. They tend to be retained in all of the most complex and difficult litigation before the Commercial Court in Belfast. They are market leaders in this field.’

‘Toby McMurray is a standout performer, particularly in insolvency-related litigation. Michael McCord is the market leader in construction litigation. He is second to none, particularly known for getting stuck into cases and being over the detail. Patrick Brown would be a market leader in procurement.’

‘Tughans have an enviable track record in dispute resolution in Northern Ireland, most especially in commercial law. Their team are experienced, commercially astute and pragmatic. These qualities are key in guiding their clients’ interests and facilitating mutually agreeable settlements and agreements.’

‘Patrick Brown leads from the front and is the driving force behind the success of the firm as managing partner. Patrick is hugely respected in the business and legal circles in Northern Ireland and has extensive experience in both litigation and dispute resolution, which is of huge benefit to the firm’s clients.’

Key clients

FP McCann Limited

BAM McCann (Joint Venture)

Old Channel Property Limited

KPMG

Northern Ireland Water Limited

CPD Powerline

Ulster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association

Randox Laboratories Limited

Telecoms Management Limited

Farrans

Work highlights

  • Defended FP McCann in adjudication proceedings commenced by a party which claims to have had its sub-contract wrongly terminated.
  • Advised KPMG on seeking an order as to the validity of the termination of the construction contract for the flagship University of Ulster campus construction.
  • Acting for Northern Ireland Water in the defence of three separate procurement challenges brought by unsuccessful tenderers to a capital works framework with an aggregate value of £1.6bn.

Kennedys

Recognised internationally for insurance defence work, Kennedys has a strong presence in Northern Ireland and fields an experienced team. Amanda Wylie leads the practice and has notable expertise in health and safety investigations as well as product liability claims. Raymond Gilmore is another key figure and is particularly active in representing insurers in professional negligence claims in the accountancy sector.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

A strong domestic firm, Millar McCall Wylie LLP provides a 'comprehensive service' in dispute resolution, but is particularly prominent in the realms of procurement and construction litigation. The 'excellentCaroline Prunty, who is described as a 'major driving force' within the team, helms the practice and focuses on these areas; she has represented clients before the High Court and lower courts, as well as in mediation. Prunty is also highly skilled in handling matrimonial cases. Personal injury is another strong point of the practice, largely owing to the talents of William McSorley, who particularly excels in acting on workers’ claims of hearing loss.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Prunty

Other key lawyers:

William McSorley

Testimonials

‘The practice is very friendly and knowledgeable. Usually happy to help and assist when asked.’

‘Millar McCall Wylie provide a comprehensive service in dispute resolution. They have particular expertise in employment and commercial cases. They issue regular newsletters online to clients, barristers and others. They are one of the most advanced firms in terms of collaborative effort in cases, whether traditional litigation, mediation or arbitration.’

‘Caroline Prunty is a major driving force in the firm. She is an excellent lawyer with an engaging personality which enables her to get on very well with colleagues, clients, decision makers or mediators. She is adept at distilling the essential points from voluminous materials and providing a concise, accurate analysis of the important points. A very hardworking solicitor, Caroline is always well prepared and she is an excellent advocate, orally and in writing.’

‘Millar McCall Wylie is able to provide excellent legal services to satisfy a traditional range of legal requirements but in my experience its personnel can adapt effortlessly to deal with cutting-edge issues involving data protection, which demand significant technical acumen and the great reserves of sympathy and empathy necessary to manage clients. They can fashion elegant solutions for the most demanding and well-resourced commercial clients, but are equally willing to fight for the underdog, keenly, with flexibility and the patience required to win.’

‘A local firm with significant resources, able to reach out within the sector and build relationships with other firms in a collaborative approach.’

‘It is a professional, well-run, competent, approachable legal assistant for both business and personal requirements. I could not recommend a better company to represent us.’

‘Caroline Prunty and her team are talented and hardworking. They leave nothing to chance and they are a pleasure to work with.’

‘The firm combines a professional approach with complete approachability. The level of expertise is outstanding and instils great confidence in a client.’

Key clients

IMT Medical Transport Limited

Karl Property Investments Limited

The Garvan O’Doherty Group

SERE Group

Interpower Induction Limited t/a Melting Solutions

Work highlights

  • Advised IMT Medical Transport Ltd in relation to a high-value tender for emergency medical transport services with NHSBT.
  • Acted for a cyclist who suffered serious life-changing injuries in a high-value personal injury claim.
  • Advised a high-profile local businessman on a high-value divorce and financial settlement.

Mills Selig

Mills Selig’s broad dispute resolution practice is particularly strong in the real estate sector, especially in cases involving obtaining injunctive relief against construction and title disputes. This line of work is primarily handled by practice head Emma Hunt, highlighted for her 'good judgement and problem-solving skills in difficult cases', who has additional expertise in disputes concerning IP and technology. The 'great all-round litigation team' also includes Maeve Fisher, who also focuses on property disputes and is experienced in licensing cases, and Kirsten Magee, whose key expertise lies in professional negligence disputes.

Practice head(s):

Emma Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Maeve Fisher; Kirsten Magee

Testimonials

‘I find the team at Mills Selig very professional and well oriented in the details of our case. I also find the organisation capable of handling challenging situations very well, while being communicative, open and able to explain the intricacies of the legal system to foreign participants. In these challenging times, the team was able to move personal meetings seamlessly into productive videoconferencing, so we could cover all the necessary tasks on time.’

‘Mills Selig is a trustworthy, dependable and solid firm with an excellent reputation for straight-dealing and pragmatism. I have no hesitation at all in strongly recommending them to clients. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Emma Hunt has a commitment to the task at hand which is exceptional. She has good judgement and problem-solving skills in difficult cases, which adds huge value for clients. She displays an integrity in her dealings which instils confidence in clients. An excellent lawyer.’

‘I have used Mills Selig for many years for various legal services and have always found them knowledgeable and extremely professional. Their approach throughout their practice, in my view, is efficient and proactive whilst maintaining a relaxed and informal feel.’

‘Emma Hunt and Kirsten Magee provided straightforward and understandable advice on a timely basis. They were always available and adapted well to the change of issues over the life of the case.’

‘Great all-round litigation team, providing clear, proactive and friendly advice.’

‘Emma Hunt is a formidable litigator, personable and determined with a ready ability to resolve even the most complex cases’

‘Maeve Fisher is an excellent litigator with a well-earned reputation in all things licensing.’

Key clients

Fannin NI Limited

Value Cabs Limited/ The McCausland group

Warrenpoint Harbour Authority

Mannok Industrial Holdings (Formerly Quinn Industrial Holdings)

Channel Four/ ITN

Vita Liberata

Choice Housing Ireland Limited

Hagan Homes Limited

First Derivatives plc

Twitter International Company

Work highlights

  • Acting for one of the successful tenderers, Fannin, in relation to a procurement challenge where the value of the underlying contract is circa £300m.
  • Acting for Lambeth Magnetic Structures in a case alleging breach of a patent by a Northern Ireland-based manufacturer of circuit boards.
  • Acting for Warrenpoint Harbour Authority in a successful appeal to the First Tier Tribunal against a decision of the Information Commissioner which had significant implications for both the client and the wider industry.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP's 'fantastic' team is experienced in acting in breach of contract cases and product liability claims concerning the financial services, construction, energy and manufacturing sectors. Insolvency and employment litigation are two other areas of expertise. The team has acted before the High Court and Court of Appeal, and has additional strength in mediation, where the team is ‘at the forefront of this work, including handling wholly online mediations’. David Kirkpatrick, who has notable expertise in contractual, energy, and partnership and shareholder disputes, leads the team. He is supported by Laura Gillespie and 'excellent' senior associate James Griffiths.

Practice head(s):

David Kirkpatrick

Other key lawyers:

Laura Gillespie; James Griffiths

Testimonials

‘The team is fantastic to work with, the level of communication is outstanding and nothing is too much to ask for. I find the breakdown of options to proceed far superior to other firms we use whereby the options are broken down into costs, time and feasible outcome.’

‘Pinsent Masons provide excellent service in a wide variety of commercial litigation. They have the resources to deal effectively with major commercial cases, including class actions, but they also provide a very effective service for less valuable cases. As the restrictions due to Covid have limited or delayed court hearings, the availability of alternative dispute resolution, particularly mediation, has been very important. Pinsent Masons have been at the forefront of this work, including handling wholly online mediations.’

‘At partner level, David Kirkpatrick has been a very effective organiser and administrator. James Griffiths has been consistently excellent in commercial cases. He has also been very successful in getting complex cases resolved through alternative dispute resolution, particularly mediation. His analysis of complex issues is first class.’

‘Involved in most major construction disputes in NI, also great on the data protection side of disputes.’

‘A full-service UK and Ireland commercial, blue-chip law firm. It has depth and breadth of knowledge, and is of particular value for commercial clients in relation to cross-border issues that are increasingly arising in litigation due to Brexit. The team is unique because it has home-grown Northern Ireland/Belfast talent, combined with a full UK practice, and now complemented by a high operational Dublin office, with a total commercial dispute resolution offering across the islands.’

Key clients

Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Limited

Frylite Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Dunnes Stores on a leasing dispute with its landlord concerning Covid-19.
  • Advised Frylite Limited in relation to proceedings for breach of contract against a former employee, who is alleged to have covertly run a competing business whilst employed.

TLT

TLT has 'a wealth of experience', particularly in litigation in the financial services sector, acting for a client roster that includes major local and national banks and handling cases relating to professional negligence, repossessions and fraud. Property litigation is another cornerstone of the practice, which has expertise in tenancy and land ownership disputes and cases involving professional negligence during construction. Additionally, the team is highly skilled in intellectual property claims, including rights ownership cases. Financial services litigator Katherine Kimber, who is 'a star of the market', leads the team. She is supported by the 'exceptionalFergal Maguire, an expert in property and land-related disputes, and legal director Eoin Devlin.

Practice head(s):

Katharine Kimber

Other key lawyers:

Fergal Maguire; Eoin Devlin

Testimonials

‘The team has a wealth of experience and the Belfast office is supported by the other national offices.’

‘Fergal McGuire is exceptional. Nothing is an issue or problem for him. He is able to steer you in the right direction and is always very clear on the action you need to take.’

‘The team deliver on time and in line with our expectations. Communication is managed to avoid any disappointment and we are always kept appraised of any changes or developments.’

‘They understand and demonstrate how to deal with the complexities that are presented, and will accept the challenges that we may put to them. We are not always going to agree on the tactics but the firm will defend or show a willingness to take on board some of the strategies we present.’

‘They are forceful in presenting the case whilst remaining focused on the outcome.’

‘The team have remained committed, motivated and engaging throughout 2020.’

‘Katharine Kimber is a star of the market who offers a professional service alongside a personality which makes relationship hospitality a genuine pleasure rather than an obligation. She leads a very strong team and is always available to offer ad hoc advice or spend the time explaining the unique intricacies of Northern Irish law.’

‘Eoin Devlin has a strong technical background, especially in respect of title rectification and professional negligence.’

Key clients

Subway Realty Limited

Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

Tim Hortons UK & Ireland Ltd

BW Homes & Construction Limited

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Limited

Peacock Stores Limited

Deepbridge Capital LLP

Total Relocation Solutions Limited

K. Hughes & Co Limited

Dwellworks LLC

Maureen Lynn Recruitment Limited

McDon Peat Supplies Limited

Cathedral Graphics Limited

SSE Airtricity

PrettyLittleThing.com Ltd (owned by Boohoo Group Plc)

JMW Farms Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for restaurant chain Tim Hortons UK & Ireland Limited in a real estate dispute worth upwards of £500,000.
  • Defending Northern Irish housing developer BW Homes & Construction Limited against a nuisance claim worth in excess of £100,000.
  • Acting for restaurant franchise Subway in the defence of a third-party discovery summons.

BLM

BLM‘s renowned insurance defence practice handles professional negligence cases involving engineering professionals as well as those in the construction, financial and legal services sectors, and its client base includes many major insurers. The team takes a ‘multinational‘ approach to cases, with experience acting alongside the firm’s other UK offices. Graeme Moore leads the team and is highly skilled in handling professional indemnity claims.

Practice head(s):

Graeme Moore

Testimonials

‘BLM brings a large multinational approach to preparation, resource and technical ability but combines that with a local/regional style approach to client care, management and communication.’

DWF

DWF is best known for its work in professional negligence claims, with additional expertise in handling contractual disputes and property and financial services litigation. Mark Taggart, who is praised for his 'practical legal knowledge and good tactical judgement', sits at the helm of the practice and has been highly active in advising the Law Society of Northern Ireland on professional negligence claims, in addition to handling commercial litigation and debt recovery actions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Taggart

Testimonials

‘The practice is part of a major international firm, yet retains its roots in and connection to the Northern Ireland legal scene.’

‘Mark Taggart is first class on detail, client relations and litigation strategy. He is approachable, a team player and responsive.’

‘DWF’s Northern Ireland practice offers a strong commercial and banking litigation service. They offer sound legal and practical advice to clients, focused on meeting their needs through litigation or negotiation as appropriate.’

‘Mark Taggart has strong practical legal knowledge and good tactical judgement. There is a consistency of quality inherent in the organisation.’

Key clients

Law Society of Northern Ireland Master Policy Insurers

Bank of Ireland

Allied Irish Banks

NFUM

RSA

BT

Mobile Broadband Networks Ltd

Lidl NI

Hiscox

Keltbray

Work highlights

  • Defended an architect on behalf of the RSA in a negligence claim valued at £8m.
  • Defending solicitors in a negligence claim valued at £7m on behalf of the Law Society of Northern Ireland master policy insurers.
  • Defending a test provider in a judicial review concerning the timing of P7 transfer tests.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland’s dispute resolution repertoire includes procurement, construction, insolvency and insurance cases, with a client list that features household names such as Lloyds, Aon and PwC. The 'very technically adeptMatthew Howse leads the 'superb' practice. He is highly experienced in the aforementioned areas, particularly financial services and insolvency cases, with expertise in both litigation and alternative dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Howse

Testimonials

‘Very efficient and fast to respond. Sympathetic to our situation.’

‘Matthew Howse is very technically adept and an elegant draftsman but what stands out is that he is absolute terrier for his clients. He is relentless in pursuing every detail in a dispute until all are arranged to his clients’ maximum advantage.’

‘The team stand out for their attention to detail and ability to communicate effectively with the client.’

‘The firm is superb to work with.’

In the Covid era they have been ahead of the game in utilising modern technology to ensure they can maintain their high standards in practice while working remotely. The firm already used electronic bundling and video conferences which allowed the switch to remote working to be seamless.’

‘Matthew Howse stands out for his industry and hard work.’

‘Very communicative and helpful.’

Key clients

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council

CSC Computer Sciences Limited t/a DXC Technology

PwC

AON UK Limited

Northstone NI Limited t/a Farrans

Legal & General Group Plc

Agua Fabrics Limited

Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited

Harcourt Construction (NI) Limited

Northland Deutsche Bucht GMbH

BDO

Lloyds Bank General Insurance Limited

Four Seasons Healthcare Limited

AP Wireless II (UK) Limited

Clover 51 Limited

Ellard Limited

Funding Circle Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising AP Wireless II (UK) Limited on a portfolio of incoming claims in relation to contested business tenancy renewals and the interplay between business tenancies legislation and the Electronic Communications Code 2017.
  • Acting for Lloyds Bank General Insurance Limited in a range of defended commercial and insurance litigation claims.
  • Advising Funding Circle Limited as sole provider in Northern Ireland in relation to a range of insolvency and banking litigation/enforcement matters.

McKees

Banking litigation is a particular forte of McKees, with a client roster including two of Ireland's 'Big Four' banks as well as Nama, a major government agency in the Republic of Ireland. The team has further expertise in commercial disputes, defamation cases, intellectual property disputes and professional negligence litigation. Managing partner Chris Ross is the key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Chris Ross

Key clients

EP Kilroot Limited

LE Pritchitt Limited

Ulster Bank Limited

Concept Life Sciences Ltd

McCulla Ireland Ltd

Druids Golf Ltd

Tarrant International Ltd

NAMA

Orla Wallace, Wallace & Company, Administrator and Trustee in Bankruptcy

AIB Group (UK) plc

MCS Group

Ulster Garden Villages Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for roofing company in relation to refusal of policy cover due to the alleged breach of a policy condition, following a major fire which destroyed the Primark building, a listed building in Belfast City Centre.

Napier Solicitors

Napier Solicitors' 'client-centred' team is highly skilled in financial restructuring, insolvency and partnership dissolution cases, most recently acting for Jeff Wright, the owner of the property and manufacturing facility of the since bankrupt Wrightbus. In addition, the firm is known for its expertise in public law, and has acted for religious orders in relation to the landmark reports and investigations surrounding Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland. Joseph Napier leads the team with Brigid Napier and Maria Glover, both of whom are insolvency specialists.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Napier; Brigid Napier; Maria Glover

Testimonials

‘They have a client-centred approach to work. The team have collective experience gained from both sides of the litigation fence and that experience places them in a unique position to deliver the best results for the individual client. The work undertaken by the team is focused and does not duplicate the work that others have undertaken, which provides cost savings for the client. It is a boutique service provided by a boutique team resulting in an individualised and tailored response for the client. The team recognises that the client is not part of the herd.’

‘Joseph Napier’s honest and transparent approach to work ensures that the client is placed at the centre of the problem at all times. He is a straight talker – he identifies the nub of the problem and gets to work with focus and avoids unnecessary billing hours. He demonstrates his breadth of knowledge and experience through the quality of the instructions of experts and engages with ease with all of them.’

‘What stands out is the professionalism, honesty and integrity of the team and its leadership.’

‘Attention to detail, the acceptance of responsibility for my requests, the realisation that humanity is what is at stake and the provision of good communication.’

Key clients

BT

Jeff Wright (Wrightbus)

Education Authority

Ards and North Down Borough Council

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Archbishop of Armagh

Council for Catholic Maintained Schools

Police Ombudsman NI

Work highlights

  • Acted for the majority shareholder of a large manufacturing group of companies and the landlords of certain premises where the group had traded in relation to the administration of the group of companies.
  • Represented various religious orders in the preliminary research into Mother and Baby Homes/Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland.
  • Acting for BT in the recovery of damages caused to an underground plant.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP is a growing name in the market, particularly in the areas of professional negligence and financial services litigation, with a client base that includes banks, corporations, lenders and debt purchasers. Gillian Crotty, who is singled out for her 'commitment to the client' and 'understanding of the issues', oversees the team and is an expert in mortgage litigation and debt recovery cases. She is supported by associates Emma Wightman, who focuses on banking litigation, and Rebecca Walker, who is also experienced in mortgage litigation.

Practice head(s):

Gillian Crotty

Other key lawyers:

Emma Wightman; Rebecca Walker

Testimonials

‘What stands out about the firm is the resources. When research is required they have the ability to provide it quickly and usefully.’

‘Gillian Crotty should be highlighted for her commitment to the client, understanding of the issues at an early stage and efficiency.’

Key clients

Close Brothers Limited

Simply Asset Finance Limited

Boots UK

Subway

Aramark Limited

Arkle Finance Ltd

Arrow Global Ltd

ABO Wind

Screwfix Limited

EPISO IV Banbridge SERL

Work highlights

  • Acted for a large accountancy firm in taking emergency injunction proceedings against a landlord who refused access to a major distributions warehouse in which the company in administration held a lease.
  • Acted for a company in relation to a commercial action in the High Court against its insurers over the insurer’s refusal to pay out on an insurance claim following the plaintiff’s business premises being destroyed by flooding.
  • Acting on behalf of a bank in an appeal against the bank’s attempt to recover the possession of property.

Worthingtons

Worthingtons hones its craft in the areas of public law and judicial review challenges. The team consists of practice head Ciaran McConnell, who specialises in shareholder and partnership disputes, and Claire McDaid, an expert in contentious commercial property issues.