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A&L Goodbody

42-46 FOUNTAIN STREET, BELFAST, BT1 5EF, NORTHERN IRELAND
Tel:
Work +44 28 9031 4466
Fax:
Fax +44 28 9031 4477
Email:
Web:
www.algoodbody.com
Belfast, Dublin, London, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco

Northern Ireland

Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody ’s litigation team is noted for construction, real estate, professional negligence and procurement disputes, and has seen an uptick in financial litigation, product liability cases and judicial reviews. The group acts for a broad spectrum of clients, including banks, governmental bodies, developers, housing associations and insurance companies. Practice head Brendan Fox is leading the team advising the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on the termination of five multimillion-pound lot contracts following a breach of contract by a professional consultant. In a standout mandate, Micaela Diver (‘personable, expert, engaging and empathic’) represented the Renewable Heat Association Northern Ireland in a judicial review of the decision of the Minister and the Department for the Economy to release the names of the participants in the highly publicised RHI Scheme into the public domain; the review was successful and the decision was reversed. Diver is acting for the same client in a judicial review of the decision of the Department for the Economy to implement the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017. Barbara Creed is a key name for commercial and corporate litigation.

Leading individuals

Brendan Fox - A&L Goodbody

Next generation lawyers

Micaela Diver - A&L Goodbody

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Northern Ireland: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody ’s corporate group is highly regarded for its ability to provide ‘expert advice across the broadest range of corporate law’. 2017 saw the team handle inbound investments into Northern Ireland and high-value M&A work, predominantly in the manufacturing and renewables sectors. In an energy-related highlight, Mark Thompson, who attracts praise for his experience in energy-related corporate transactions, led advice to Viridian in its acquisition of renewable energy company Dargan Road as part of its expansion from wind and natural gas to the waste-to-energy sector. In a tech-related highlight, practice head Alastair Keith  represented the shareholders of ticketing software company Ingresso in a £17.5m disposal of the issued share capital in the company to Accesso Technology Group. In a prominent M&A deal, the team assisted JBS, a Brazilian meat processing company, with its $1bn sale of Northern Ireland-based poultry producer Moy Park to US-based poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride. The team also includes Peter Stafford, who is singled out for his ‘calm head and tremendous attention to detail’.

Leading individuals

Alastair Keith - A&L Goodbody

Mark Thompson - A&L Goodbody

Peter Stafford - A&L Goodbody

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Northern Ireland: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s finance team has an established client base of local and international banks and investment firms, as well as experience in advising borrowers. The group’s wide-ranging expertise spans loan portfolio sales, project financings, financial services regulatory matters and refinancings for clients drawn from the real estate, financial services, retail and energy sectors. The team continues to act as Northern Ireland counsel for the European Investment Bank and advised the client on the regulatory aspects of the £150m bilateral loan provided to Choice Housing Ireland Limited to finance a number of social housing schemes in Northern Ireland. The firm is advising HSBC on the Northern Ireland aspects of ring-fencing its retail business. In other highlights, the group acted for Clydesdale Bank in its £10.4m acquisition of Silvan House in Edinburgh, and represented Morgan Stanley Senior Funding and US Bank National Association as the term lenders in the $440m refinancing of the Agro Merchants Group. Other clients include Barclays and Danske Bank. Judith Brown heads the team, which also includes project finance expert Ciaran McAlinney and Louise Bailey .

Leading individuals

Ciaran McAlinney - A&L Goodbody

Judith Brown - A&L Goodbody

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

Viewed as ‘one of the leading firms in this area in Northern Ireland’, A&L Goodbody’s insolvency practice provides a ‘quality service’ and ‘very strategic’ advice on, among other things, administrations and restructurings in the construction and property sectors. The firm has a track record in assisting a number of the Big Four accountancy firms, including KPMG, Deloitte and PwC. The ‘excellentMichael Neill, who garners praise for ‘his strategic thinking and ability to anticipate and counter the other side’s next moves’, leads the team, which also includes associates Sam Corbett (‘his work ethic is second to none’) and Ross Kane. In a key mandate, Neill led advice to the administrator of Geotech Construction on exiting the administration process; this involved a successful application to the High Court for release and exit from administration, allowing the company to be re-capitalised. In another matter, the group is representing the liquidator of Dornan’s Service Station in a dispute over the ownership of property; the company director claims the property was transferred to him while the liquidator maintains the property is in the name of the company. The firm is continuing to assist banks with the restructuring and sale of loans. Other clients include Santander and Cerberus Capital Management.

Leading individuals

Michael Neill - A&L Goodbody

Next generation lawyers

Ross Kane - A&L Goodbody

Sam Corbett - A&L Goodbody

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Northern Ireland: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

The employment practice at A&L Goodbody represents employers in contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Clients are drawn from a range of sectors, including manufacturing, retail and technology. Recent highlights include acting for Bewley’s Tea & Coffee in a restrictive covenant matter after a former employee left to work for a competitor, and advising JBS on employment issues arising from its $1.3bn sale of Moy Park. The ‘responsive, pragmatic and proactiveGareth Walls  leads the team.

Leading individuals

Gareth Walls - A&L Goodbody

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Northern Ireland: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s highly regarded energy practice has notable expertise in handling project financings, energy-related M&A, project management matters and contentious energy-related instructions. In a high-profile example of the practice’s contentious work, litigation partner Micaela Diver is leading advice to Action Renewables on the establishment of a special interest group, the Renewable Heat Association, to represent the owners of non-domestic biomass boilers who took part in the highly publicised RHI scheme in Northern Ireland; the group has represented the client in three judicial reviews relating to the scheme’s closure and the retrospective change to the published tariffs. On the non-contentious side, wind-related mandates have been particularly prominent in the team’s workload; in 2017, Mark Thompson led the team advising Brookfield Renewables on the acquisition of a 16MW wind farm, which was purchased pre-construction with the intention of completing the acquisition once the project was finished. Thompson is also assisting the same client with a similar transaction for a 23MW wind farm. Thompson jointly heads the team with banking partner Ciaran McAlinney, who has expertise in project finance matters relating to the energy sector. Associate Mark Stockdale, who has experience in electricity, gas and renewables-related regulatory issues, is a name to note.

Leading individuals

Mark Thompson - A&L Goodbody

Next generation lawyers

Mark Stockdale - A&L Goodbody

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Project finance and PFI
Project finance and PFI - ranked: tier 2

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody is well known for representing banks and investment funds in traditional project finance matters, and has seen an uptick in instructions relating to the financing of solar and wind farms. Recent highlights include finance partner Ciaran McAlinney advising the Royal Bank of Scotland as the lender on the project financing of the 5MW Finvoy and 22MW Maghaberry solar farms, and assisting the First Trust Bank with the project financing of the 25MW Castlecraig wind farm. Other key clients include Ulster Bank, Brookfield Renewables and Bank of Ireland.

Leading individuals

Ciaran McAlinney - A&L Goodbody

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Northern Ireland: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s property team’s expertise includes assisting investment firms, property developers and banks with hotel developments, loan portfolio sales, and high-value acquisitions. Highlights in 2017 included Tracey Schofield leading advice to the Jurys Inn Group in the acquisition of an adjoining site to extend the city centre hotel by adding 80 bedrooms; Schofield then assisted private equity investor Lone Star with the Northern Irish aspects of the sale of the Jurys Inn Group to Swedish hotel investor Pandox. This complex transaction involved securing the site acquisition and new hotel licence before the disposal took place, and the disposal involved negotiating certificates of title and deeds of release. Mark Blair  heads the practice.

Leading individuals

Mark Blair - A&L Goodbody

Tracey Schofield - A&L Goodbody

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s construction practice combines ‘excellent knowledge’ with ‘a wealth of experience’. The team handles a broad range of instructions from architects, contractors and employers, and has seen an uptick in hotel and office development and student accommodation projects. Infrastructure, energy and residential projects are other key areas of strength. The group is advising a contractor in a £16.5m student accommodation project, involving the refurbishment and extension of an existing building to provide a 343-room residence, and is assisting Oakland with the renovation and extension of two landmark office buildings in central Belfast, which is a £20m project. In another key mandate, Micaela Diver is leading advice to the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company on the procurement process for the £175m Belfast Transport Hub project. Other clients include Jurys Inn Group and Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The ‘very experiencedBrendan Fox leads the team; associate John Dugdale  attracts praise for his ‘excellent construction and litigation knowledge’.

Leading individuals

Brendan Fox - A&L Goodbody

Next generation lawyers

John Dugdale - A&L Goodbody

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Planning and environment
Planning and environment - ranked: tier 3

A&L Goodbody

The ‘very robust and commercially minded’ planning team at A&L Goodbody is well known for handling regulatory and non-contentious work within the real estate sector and has notable expertise in providing planning advice to councils. Key clients include Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Property partner Mark Blair leads the team.

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Northern Ireland: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s team handles funding rounds, investment matters and regulatory issues for a broad range of clients, including large technology companies. Biotechnology, including medical technology, continues to be a key area of instruction for the group; highlights included assisting BrainWaveBank with obtaining investment funding for the development of a neuroscience platform to monitor brainwave activity; the platform’s findings contribute to a data bank to aid medical research. In another matter, the team acted for Neurovalens on obtaining private equity funding worth €1.3m for developing a weight-loss technology device. Other clients include Axial 3D and George Best Belfast City Airport. Mark Thompson and Brendan Fox jointly lead the team, which also includes associates Mark Stockdale  and Jonathan Hacking.

Next generation lawyers

Jonathan Hacking - A&L Goodbody

Mark Stockdale - A&L Goodbody

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody has a solid track record in assisting technology companies, corporate clients and research institutions with branding, patents and enforcement issues. In a high-profile mandate, the team has been advising med-tech company Neurovalens on entering into a brand ambassador agreement with a retired Irish rugby player, which included protecting its IP rights and crafting a licensing agreement to allow the product to be featured in the ambassador’s social media. Other key clients include the Irish Football Association, which the team has been advising on trade mark matters, and the Old Bushmills Distillery, which the team is assisting with commercialisation of its IP rights pertaining to its promotional campaigns on social media. Mark Thompson and Brendan Fox co-lead the team.

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Legal Developments by:
A&L Goodbody

  • The Competition Law of Turkey

    The Article 167 of Turkish Constitution attributed to the government the duty to take ?for money, credit, capital, product and service markets, measures providing and improving healthy and regular procedures? to prevent ?monopolization and cauterization created as result of activity or agreement in the markets?.
    - A&L Goodbody

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Gulbenkian Andonain discuss NEW Tier 1 Start-Up Visa and the NEW Tier 1 Innovator Visa

    The document entitled "Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules" which was released by the House of Commons on the 7th March 2019, outlined and advised us on a number of changes that will come into place that will affect the Tier 1 Investor Visa amongst other visa programmes and schemes. The latest article on our website discusses both of these new UK business visa routes. Our immigration lawyers London are already up to date on all of the required information for both the NEW Tier 1 Start-Up Visa and the NEW Tier 1 Innovator Visa .
  • Upcoming Changes to the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa

    According to the new document from the House of Commons on March 7th 2019 titled “Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules”, a number of changes will come into place that affecting the Tier 1 UK Investor Visa programme amongst other visa programmes and schemes. Read about them in our latest  article . 
  • Brexit and non-EU Immigration

    There is no doubt that the UK has to date benefited immensely from visa-free EU immigration to the extent that visa conditions and caps on non-EU migrant have undermined and overshadowed the ability of this group to play a prominent role in British industry and commerce and in its expanding and overburdened NHS service. It is the view of  Gulbenkian Andonian  however, that after  Brexit, there should be a noticeable change in those skilled non-EU migrants contributing to British society in a meaningful way. 
  • Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors discuss Post Brexit scenarios - EU Nationals and Salient Immigration

    From 1 January 2021 everyone except for British and Irish citizens will be subject to immigration control in the UK.   Gulbenkian Andonian solicitors has already published an article on this topic of post- Brexit immigration and has discussed the case of EU nationals and family members after Brexit, you can find that article here as one of many in our blog .
  • DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS: THE BEST OPTION? OR A FLAWED IDEA?

    Tescoadmitted wrongdoing over its accounting scandal in order to obtain a deferredprosecution agreement and avoid a conviction. But with everyone charged overthe scandal having been cleared, Aziz Rahman examines whether the deferredprosecution agreement process needs revising.
  • DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS: OBTAINING ONE AND SEEING IT THROUGH TO COMPLETION

    With Standard Bank having become the first organisation to conclude a DPA, Aziz Rahman explains why gaining one is only the start of the challenge.
  • DISMISSAL AT NISSAN AND WORKPLACE CRIME PREVENTION

    The sacking of Nissan’s high-profile chairman may have beenproof that nobody is infallible. But Nicola Sharp argues that it should also beseen as an indicator that no company can be considered safe from wrongdoing.
  • Applying for A Sole Representative Visa

    Regardless of the Brexit outcome, the United Kingdom will remain one of the world most powerful economies. With a market of 65 million people and close ties with Europe, many overseas-based organisations look to establishing a subsidiary or branch office in Britain.
  • BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS IN MORE THAN ONE JURISDICTION: THE IMPORTANCE OF ENSURING A JOINED-UP DEFENCE AP

    Aziz Rahman considers the Ericsson bribery investigation and outlines how best to respond if you are investigated by more than one law enforcement agency
  • Have Changes to The Spouse/Civil Partnership Minimum Income Threshold Made A Difference?

    The plight of those denied a UK Spouse/CivilPartnership Visa or a Spouse/Civil Partnership Visa extension continues to feature in the headlines.   In August 2018, the Guardian reported on one young woman, driven to attempt suicide after her fiancé, an Albanian national, was not permitted to enter the country.   The Home Office ruled Paige Smith, a British Citizen, did not meet the £18,600 income threshold.   It later transpired the Home Office lost a crucial payslip proving that Ms Smith met the criteria, a document the department had been sent four times by a Solicitor and Ms Smith’s MP.   The appeal Judge took ten minutes to rule the Visa should have been approved; however, the couple still had to wait two months for the Home Office to declare it would not appeal the decision.