Project finance and PFI in Northern Ireland

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast's 'responsive' team provides 'clear and comprehensive advice' on procurement issues to a range of public sector clients, including public bodies and government departments, as well as acting for leading private sector clients. 'Very approachable' practice head William Curry handles both contentious and non-contentious procurement matters, and is particularly active in relation to real estate, social housing and energy work.

Practice head(s):

William Curry


Arthur Cox is capable of tailoring its advice to suit the scale and complexity of the issues and provides strong impartial advice. The team is held in very high regard.

William Curry is approachable, very knowledgeable in his area of expertise, and provides a high-value service at competitive rates.

The team is able to provide rapid and accurate advice in this field. They understand the procurement of public contracts from the inside, from the design of a competition to meet the commercial needs of a contracting authority, to the defence of that design in litigation.

William Curry is a good analytical thinker and knows the subject inside out.

William Curry is very approachable and always happy to offer advice. He is quick to respond and provides clear explanations and rationale.

Key clients

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

Ulster University


Ards and North Down Borough Council

Department of Finance (LPS)

Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association

Apex Housing Association

Premier Transmission Limited


Work highlights

  • Advising arc21, a group of six district councils in the eastern region of Northern Ireland, on the procurement of the largest PFI/PPP project and the first procurement of an energy-from-waste facility ever to be undertaken in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Ulster University on all matters associated with the procurement of a construction contract for the development of a new campus in the centre of Belfast (the Greater Belfast Development).
  • Advising Apex Housing Association Limited on various procurement issues.
  • Advising the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on five separate sets of legal challenges to contract awards in relation to an important tender.
  • Advising Choice, one of Northern Ireland’s largest housing associations, on the procurement of a design and build framework.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP specialises in advising on complex local, national and international infrastructure projects, acting for a range of public and private sector clients. The practice is led by London-based Adrian Eakin and Richard Murphy, who focuses on energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Eakin; Richard Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Ciara Seymour

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody is noted for its strength in advising lenders on the financing of energy projects, including solar, wind and waste-to-energy, and has also been active in relation to projects in the healthcare and education sectors. The team regularly advises on multi-jurisdictional transactions. Mark Thompson leads the practice alongside Ciaran McAlinney, who specialises in high-value, portfolio and syndicated lending transactions, particularly in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Ciaran McAlinney; Mark Thompson


A&L Goodbody is the first choice firm in Northern Ireland for energy project financing.

Ciaran McAlinney is driven, hardworking across all the detail of the transaction, and inspires confidence.

Key clients

Bank of Ireland

Ulster Bank

First Trust/AIB Bank

Société Générale

Brookfield Renewables

Royal Bank of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advising Brookfield on the project financing of the Elginny wind farm immediately post acquisition.
  • Advising a lender on the Northern Ireland aspects of a bond issue to fund the development of a new gas transmission pipeline.
  • Acting for Bayern as lender to the purchaser of a large portfolio of operational single wind turbines.
  • Advising RBS on the project financing of the Laurel Hill solar farm, which was recently acquired by Foresight Group.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell regularly acts for funders on significant projects in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK, as well as in the Republic of Ireland. The team has been active in the energy sector, and has also advised on a range of infrastructure, education and healthcare sector transactions. Practice head Gerard Armstrong is noted for his expertise in large-scale infrastructure and PFI/PPP projects, while Neasa Quigley specialises in energy.

Practice head(s):

Gerard Armstrong

Other key lawyers:

Neasa Quigley

Key clients

O’Hare & McGovern Limited

Belfast Metropolitan College

Amey Roads

Dalradian Resources

Heron Bros

Valero Energy

Northern Ireland Networks Limited

Firmus Energy

System Operator for Northern Ireland

Belfast Educational Services

Work highlights

  • Advising Amey Roads in relation to the DBFO 2 Roads Scheme, the largest roads project in Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Belfast Metropolitan College on the BMC PPP Project to design and build a new college.
  • Acting for Valero Energy on its acquisition of a petroleum storage facility business.
  • Advising GPG Lisburn in relation to a project for the construction of a new  primary and community care centre at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Simple Power Limited in relation to the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Foresight Group.