Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant in Northern Ireland


BLM 'has a strong, client-focused approach to PI litigation'; the team acts for major insurers across the UK and Ireland, regularly handling motor, employer and public liability claims. Areas of expertise include clinical negligence and high-value, complex catastrophic injury, casualty and occupational disease claims. The team also handles investigations by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. Practice head Cormac Fitzpatrick specialises in large loss claims, while Peter Campbell has extensive experience in cases involving RTAs.

Practice head(s):

Peter Campbell; Cormac Fitzpatrick


BLM’s insurance team is my first stop for legal advice in Northern Ireland. The team is knowledgeable, approachable and really understands the market and the interests of insurance clients.

Cormac Fitzpatrick enjoys an enviable, if not unrivalled, experience of handling catastrophic personal injury cases in this jurisdiction. He has developed a wide network of clients who will have witnessed his exceptional legal ability while benefitting from his standing within the legal profession as a person of the highest integrity and trustworthiness.

The Belfast BLM team is exceptionally strong in defence insurance litigation.’

Alison Cassidy is great – she’s incredibly knowledgeable about insurance law, and combines this with a strong commercial appreciation of what is important to her clients and what they need to know and comprehend. She’s a pleasure to work with.

Graeme Moore is calm under pressure, his advice is excellent, and he always adopts a common-sense commercially focused approach and is excellent with clients.

BLM stands out from not only a technical excellence point of view but also by providing a very high level of good client service.

Alison Cassidy is a very impressive partner.

Key clients



AXA insurance




Education Authority



Work highlights

  • Acting for an insurer in a household public liability claim.
  • Acting for NFU Mutual in an employers’ liability claim involving a plaintiff who was injured at work in a factory.
  • Acting for NFU Mutual in an employers’ liability claim.
  • Acting for an insurer in an RTA claim.
  • Acting for NFU Mutual in three cases resulting from an RTA.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell has strengthened its insurer client base following its merger with niche defence firm Francis J Irvine; it also acts for a range of large employers, public bodies, healthcare professionals and medical defence organisations. 'The market leader in Belfast in clinical negligence', the team also has extensive experience in industrial disease, marine personal injury and fatal accident claims. Roger McMillan heads the healthcare team, while Jacqueline McAleese leads the clinical negligence claims team. Claire Harmer, who heads the defence litigation department, is noted for her inquest expertise.

Practice head(s):

Roger McMillan; Claire Harmer

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline McAleese


The ultimate one-stop shop for medical practitioners seeking legal assistance in Northern Ireland. The team has a unique and unrivalled strength in depth in every facet of medical law, be it clinical negligence or regulatory. They are unique in their absolute commitment to the client’s cause, leaving no stone unturned in defending breach or causation.

Roger McMillan is the top clinical negligence defence lawyer in Northern Ireland. He stands out for his absolute unwavering dedication to client care. He brings a dogged determination to the defence of his clients which is unrivalled not only in Northern Ireland but across the UK. He is totally on top of the law, with a razor-sharp intellect and superb analytical and tactical skills which achieve outstanding results for clients.

Jacqueline McAleese is superb with clients and extremely thorough.

The team is very well-organised, commercially minded and provides high-quality in-depth legal analysis with clear recommendations.

Jacqueline McAleese is an excellent lawyer who is always willing to go the extra mile to secure great results for her clients.

There is no doubt that this is the strongest clinical negligence team in Belfast.

Roger McMillan is one of the best practitioners in Belfast in clinical negligence.

Associate Laura Menary has very strong technical expertise and is particularly good at clinical negligence defence litigation.

Jacqueline McAleese is highly experienced in clinical negligence. She is very competent and has huge technical knowledge.

The team has a clear understanding of insurer clients’ needs and the insurance market and cycles, with a focus on indemnity spend and ultimate costs.

The team has expertise in marine personal injury and industrial disease claims, and is quick to respond, friendly and easy to work with.

Claire Harmer and associate Cathal O’Neill know their stuff, will always respond quickly and take into account commercial as well as legal issues.

It is a team of very capable lawyers offering a broad range of expertise within the field of employers’ liability and public liability defence litigation. What makes them stand out, however, is their ability to assess each matter both as a standalone claim, but also in the context of any wider impact such claims may have on their client company.

The team stands out for its provision of expert legal advice covering a wide range of circumstances; clear desire to understand the environment within which its client company operates; and availability and willingness to talk through individual issues on an ad-hoc basis.

The team has sound and detailed technical knowledge of all aspects of litigation, fast response times, and is prepared to go the extra mile.

Claire Harmer is technically very knowledgeable: she does not need to constantly rely on counsel and engenders confidence in her decision-making ability. Claire is very personable and approachable, building strong relationships with large corporate clients. She is able to grasp the issues and relay them succinctly, in layman’s terms.

The team is professional, reliable, approachable and knowledgeable in its field.

The whole team is technically strong and gives clear and sensible advice. They are commercially aware and I trust and value their views.

Jacqueline McAleese is an exceptional lawyer. Her advice and tactical awareness cannot be faulted.

Key clients

Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Chain Reaction Cycles

Axis Capital Insurance

Enstar Insurance

Willis Towers Watson

Sedgwick (formerly Cunningham Lindsey)

Faraday Insurance

Riverstone Insurance

Davies Casualty/Garwyn

TT Club/Thomas Millar Claims Management

Crawford & Co Loss Adjusters/Broadspire

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Ltd

Beale & Co

McLarens Loss Adjusters

Travelers Insurance

Stena Line

IF P&C Insurance

DW Sports

London P&I Club

Terex GB Ltd


Medical Protection Society

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland

Dental Protection

National Pharmaceutical Association

Association of Optometrists

Beazley Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Axis Capital on an employers’ liability claim on behalf of a local shipping services provider.
  • Representing Beale & Co in the defence of a high-value claim relating to an RTA.
  • Acting for Northern Ireland Electricity Networks in a wide variety of employers’ liability and public liability claims.
  • Acting for Allianz in a claim brought by a minor plaintiff against the client’s policyholder, who had struck the plaintiff with his vehicle.
  • Acting for the London P&I Club in an employers’ liability claim in which the plaintiff alleged that he developed asbestos-induced asbestosis due to working conditions.

McKinty and Wright

In July 2019, DAC Beachcroft officially launched in Northern Ireland via a takeover of Belfast firm McKinty and Wright, with 17 fee earners, including six partners, becoming part of the international firm. The team acts for major insurers, companies and public sector bodies in Northern Ireland, and has particular expertise in handling product liability personal injury and industrial disease claims. Practice head Sean McGahan specialises in large and complex loss claims, while senior partner Lester Doake advises on occupational illness cases. Aisling Mellon has expertise in motor claims and associate Catriona McCorry is particularly active in clinical negligence cases.

Practice head(s):

Sean McGahan

Key clients

Northern Ireland Water

MS Amlin

Willis Towers Watson


Larmour Investigations Limited


Marks and Spencer

Next plc




MedPro International

Sompo Japan

Resolute Management

Hill Dickinson


Work highlights

  • Advised LBG on a matter involving occupiers’ and employers’ liability.
  • Advising Vericlaim/Sedgwick on a high-value, complex personal injury claim involving indemnity issues for the insurer.
  • Advising Northern Ireland Water on a suspected fraudulent claim relating to allegedly defective street furniture.
  • Advising Arnold & Green on a personal injury travel claim.
  • Acting for Ecclesiastical in a high-value public liability claim relating to a catastrophic injury sustained during a cycling event.


Kennedys' 'knowledgeable and supportive' team has recently added to its strong insurer client base with several private companies. It advises on employers' liability, public liability and occupational disease claims, as well as an increasing number of motor insurance cases. The team is also noted for its expertise in clinical negligence, acting for several private hospitals and insurers. 'Excellent' practice head Amanda Wylie is active in catastrophic injury claims and has a niche specialism in marine personal injury claims. Senior associate Megan Boyd handles industrial deafness and disease claims.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Wylie

Other key lawyers:

Megan Boyd

Work highlights

  • Acting for a private general practitioner’s service in a claim related to delayed X-ray results.
  • Representing a private hospital in a claim involving a nursing care assistant who was injured at work and subsequently developed further injuries due to a negligent operation.  
  • Defending a private hospital in a claim relating to treatment following a surgical procedure.
  • Defending an out-of-hours service in a claim relating to a diagnosis error by a GP.


'One of the leading medical defence firms in Northern Ireland', Tughans counts a large number of insurance companies and government bodies among its clients, while the 'highly regarded' clinical negligence team acts for leading medical defence organisations. Areas of expertise include catastrophic personal injury cases and occupation disease claims. Kathy McGillie heads the practice alongside Andrew Anthony; he focuses on clinical negligence cases, as does Alistair Wilson. Neil Smyth specialises in claims involving accidents abroad.

Practice head(s):

Kathy McGillie; Andrew Anthony

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Wilson; Neil Smyth


Tughans has strength in depth and can handle large and high-profile cases with considerable skill.

Andrew Anthony is a first-class lawyer. He has a good intellect as well as good judgement, and his contribution to cases is very sound.

Alastair Wilson has strong interpersonal skills; he prepares his work well and is excellent with clients.

Nicola Dooher is a first-class associate with excellent attention to detail.

Tughans has an enviable reputation in defence litigation and provides a very efficient, cost-effective and professional service.

Kathy McGillie is the market leader in defence litigation. She is very client focused and extremely commercial. She is well known for being able to quickly assess those cases to be contested and then preparing them with efficiency and skill and ferociously contesting them, whereas she is also quick to realise those cases to be settled and to do so with great efficiency. A master tactician and highly regarded litigator.

Tughans’ expertise in the local market is second to none. The firm has huge experience of the jurisdiction, which shows in terms of its expert advice and guidance.

Kathy McGillie is always available, provides expert advice and is fully supportive.

Neil Smyth involves the client in the decision-making process, and is pleasant, extremely professional and knowledgeable on the subject matter. Neil goes that extra bit further to ensure due diligence is completed on all cases, and is open and transparent in all dealings with the client. Overall, he provides a professional service at the highest level.

Associate Nicola Dooher is efficient, hardworking and returns all emails quickly. Her instructions are clear and concise.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast advises on employers', public and occupiers' liability claims; the team is noted is strength in occupational disease cases, as well as in handling product liability personal injury claims for large multinationals. Other clients include a number of large insurers, corporates and public bodies. Chris Ritchie leads the team; he has been active in cases involving complex product liability issues, asbestos-related illnesses and noise-induced hearing loss.

Practice head(s):

Chris Ritchie

Key clients

Bayer plc

Prosight Syndicate at Lloyds


AKZO Nobel UK Ltd

UIA Insurance

Courtaulds plc

Bier plc (purchased McNicholas Construction)


Education Authority of Northern Ireland

Field Fisher

Work highlights

  • Advising Zurich on a personal injury claim relating to an RTA.
  • Acting for Prosight in an important and substantial employers’ liability case in respect of an employee who fell from height and sustained potentially life-changing injuries.
  • Advising AXA in relation to legacy noise-induced hearing loss claims relating to various former textile works in Northern Ireland.
  • Acting for medical device manufacturer Zimmer (now Zimmer Biomet) in a claim in respect of a metal-on-metal hip implant.
  • Advising manufacturer AKZO Nobel in relation to the recovery of a portion of damages from the T&N Trust following the resolution of three related asbestosis claims involving 14 defendants.

Johnsons Solicitors

Johnsons Solicitors acts for large insurers and corporates, and is particularly noted for its strength in large loss personal injury cases, especially those involving brain injuries or injuries to minors, and defending against dental clinical negligence claims. The team also regularly advises on product liability personal injury cases. The practice is led by Kenneth Chambers, who specialises in employers' liability cases; David Craig, who is an expert in large loss claims; and Gareth Liddy, who has experience in clinical negligence matters.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Chambers; David Craig; Gareth Liddy


Johnsons Solicitors’ team produces consistently excellent advice promptly. The team is very experienced and is willing to fight actions, often to very successful conclusions.

Kenny Chambers and Gareth Liddy are both very approachable lawyers with vast knowledge and they take a very thorough approach to their work.

The team has a professional, pragmatic, cost-effective and considered approach in all cases it handles.

Ken Chambers is an outstanding lawyer with considerable technical ability and negotiating skills. He is highly respected by his peers and is also commercial in his approach when appropriate.

The practice has a wide level of expertise and customer-focused solicitors providing exceptional service.

The practice has great people skills, supporting customers and providing the right technical information to steer them through what is sometimes a traumatic and emotional experience. The team anticipates customer needs and is proactive in managing expectations. Stand-out partners would be David Craig, Kenny Chambers, and Deaglan Lundy.

Key clients



Allianz NI


Bombardier Transportation/Aerospace

Henderson Retail Group


Moy Park Limited


Prestige Underwriting Services

Work highlights

  • Representing AXA in a large loss personal injury matter arising out of a road traffic accident.
  • Representing AXA in a large loss personal injury matter arising out of a road traffic accident.
  • Representing Aviva in large loss personal injury matter arising out of an accident on a construction site.
  • Representing Garwyn/Davies Group in a large loss personal injury matter arising from an accident on a construction site.
  • Representing AXA in large loss personal injury matter arising out of an RTA involving a cyclist.

Lacey Solicitors

Lacey Solicitors is noted for its 'excellent all-round knowledge of the legal systems in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland'; the firm has offices in Belfast, Derry and Dublin, and provides an all-island service which is particularly active defending claims involving RTAs and accidents abroad. Other areas of strength include public and employers' liability, catastrophic injury and industrial disease cases. The team is led by senior partner Terence Lacey and Damian McGeady.

Practice head(s):

Terence Lacey; Damian McGeady

Other key lawyers:

Ruaidhrí Austin


Terry Lacey and Damian McGeady are both ultimate professionals in their field. They both endeavour to bring early resolutions to matters and their advice and valuation of cases is normally spot on.’

The team has a clear understanding of insurer clients’ needs and the insurance market and cycles, with a focus on managing indemnity spend and ultimate costs to the clients.

Key clients

Ascot/Carraig Insurance

Casualty General Insurance Company

CNA Insurance Company

Collingwood Insurance Company

Contessa Ltd

Enterprise Insurance Company

Haven Insurance Company

Ladbrokes PLC

Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company

OSG-Loss Adjusters

Prestige Underwriting Ltd

Questgates Loss Adjusters

RSA Insurance Company

Service Insurance Company

Setanta Insurance Company

Wrightway Underwriting Ltd (Catlin)

Patrona Underwriting Ltd

Tradewise Insurance Company

Work highlights

  • Acting for Contessa in High Court proceedings arising from an incident in a nightclub in which the plaintiff sustained a dislocated knee.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin handles high-value personal injury claims for a number of large insurers, and also acts for several retail clients in employers' liability matters. The team's expertise also covers public liability, RTAs and occupational disease claims. Practice head Michael King has also expanded the firm's medical negligence practice. The team was strengthened by the addition of solicitor Marc Kelly from Hool Law in June 2018.

Practice head(s):

Michael King

Other key lawyers:

Marc Kelly

Key clients

RSA Insurance

AIG Insurance

AON Claims Management

Musgrave Limited

Equine and

Livestock Insurance Company


Irish Cycling Federation

BMI Healthcare Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for AON in respect of a claim where the plaintiff suffered an injury in a shop.
  • Advising AON on a personal injury claim by a retail employee who suffered a fall at work.
  • Acting for RSA Insurance in a personal injury claim relating to a slipping incident at an outlet of a national chain of restaurants in Belfast.
  • Advising AON on an occupier’s liability claim in respect of injuries sustained by the employee of a contractor.
  • Acting for RSA in relation to a personal injury claim arising from an RTA.


John McKee Solicitors has a strong track record of handling catastrophic and large loss personal injury claims related to farm accidents, workplace accidents on building sites and in factories, and RTAs. Clients include insurance companies and public bodies. Deputy County Court judge Leonard Edgar, who has longstanding experience advising on health and safety investigations and prosecutions, and managing partner Chris Ross lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Leonard Edgar; Chris Ross

Key clients

National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited


Ards and North Down Borough Council


CIE (Córas Iompair Éireann)

Sedgwick/ Cunningham Lindsey

Work highlights

  • Represented NFU Mutual in the settlement of a personal injury claim in the sum of £200,000 arising out of a serious road traffic collision.

Napier Solicitors

Napier Solicitors covers a wide range of personal injury claims, including employers’ liability, public liability and motor claims. The team also has a strong track record in industrial disease, including noise-induced hearing loss, and catastrophic injury cases. Joseph Napier leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Napier