Firm Profile > Kennedys > Belfast, Northern Ireland

Kennedys
5TH FLOOR, LESLEY BUILDINGS
61-65 FOUNTAIN STREET
BELFAST
BT1 5EX
Northern Ireland

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant Tier 1

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.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Litigation and dispute resolution specialist Kennedys has a strong client base of leading insurers, and also acts for major companies in the healthcare, retail, transport and real estate sectors, among others. The team's caseload covers a wide range of areas, including commercial litigation, defamation, procurement disputes and construction claims. Practice head Amanda Wylie has recently been active in a number of product liability cases; the team also includes Raymond Gilmore.

Testimonials

A very well-resourced, competent and professional outfit. One of the leading firms in Belfast with a great reputation before the courts.

Raymond Gilmore is absolutely tenacious. He understands the construction market better than any other solicitor in Belfast and is accordingly exceptionally strong in construction disputes.

Solicitor Darren Thompson is extremely diligent. He is also unflappable in court.

Kennedys has an excellent client base mainly focused on defence insurance work and is well supported and resourced by a large UK mainland insurance-based practice. As a result, it has excellent experience and visibility in this area.

Amanda Wylie is a well respected and commercially astute operator and is excellently supported by associates Frances Thompson and Megan Boyd, who are always fantastically prepared, completely on top of their cases and calm under pressure.

The Belfast office of this international firm reflects the London offering of a dedicated dispute resolution practice. The office was established following requests from the firm’s existing clients based in the London markets that were not receiving the level and understanding of service requirements that they needed in the local market.

The firm: Kennedys responded and opened the Belfast office in 1996, and has gone from strength to strength as one of the only pure litigation practices in this jurisdiction. Its ethos is that, regardless of geographical location, its clients’ will receive a London standard of service but at the lower Northern Irish charge out rates. Legal jargon is redundant. Its lawyers speak in plain English and offer a no-nonsense, straight talking service. The firm knows that the costs must be commensurate with the claim and that the insurers and insureds’ positions must both be considered and protected.

Belfast offers a pan-island service, benefiting from a London office and regional mainland network as well as a Dublin office. As an international firm it can benefit from the expertise of partners in other offices, which is particularly valuable in multi-jurisdictional disputes. It has a ‘very large back office’.

Kennedys continues to challenge the local firms and has expanded exponentially in recent years to meet clients’ needs. It intends to continue to challenge the legal processes in Northern Ireland for its clients’ benefit and to deal with matters the ‘Kennedys way’.

Types of work undertaken: Insurance: like the London office, Kennedys Belfast specialises in insurance litigation, which involves advising on coverage and defending claims. It advises on a range of professional indemnity disputes in the areas of construction, medicine, financial lines and directors and officers. This includes acting for architects, engineers, surveyors, valuers, property managers, design and build contractors, brokers, accountants, financial advisors and solicitors.

Liability/personal injury defence: the firm defends claims in the areas of employers’ liability, public liability, industrial disease, fatal accidents, catastrophic claims, road traffic liability and marine matters.

Employment: directors and officers claims, unfair dismissal and discrimination claims and advising on coverage for such claims.

Clinical: Kennedys Belfast has grown a healthy and expanding clinical team which advises on regulatory, disciplinary and claims matters. This includes appearing at public inquiries and the General Medical Council.

Alternative dispute resolution: this is an area regularly engaged in by the Belfast office, particularly in high-value commercial actions and construction claims. The team advise on mediation, arbitration, adjudication, conciliation as well as expert determinations and early neutral evaluations.

Marine and transport: as the Freight Transport Association solicitors and the Federation of Passenger Transport solicitors in Northern Ireland, the Belfast office is unique in dealing with logistics claims transport regulatory matters and marine claims to include personal injury matters as well as loss of vessels, collisions, fatalities and Marine Accident Investigation matters and MCA prosecutions.

Defamation: the team advises both on coverage and in defence of proceedings in relation to defamation. In particular the team specialise in Norwich Pharmacal orders seeking to trace the IP addresses and identities of those who defame on the internet under the cover of anonymity. Following on from this the firm seeks Anton Pillar/search orders against identified individuals. The firm also advises in data protection matters and freedom of information requests.

Commercial: the firm acts for public bodies, private companies and high-net-worth individuals in relation to breach of contract disputes, freezing orders, search orders and dealing with recovery actions for insurers and insureds to include pursuing companies into administration and dealing with insurance issues arising out of company administrations.

Health and safety: the firm acts for insureds and companies in relation to inquests, health and safety prosecutions and criminal proceedings arising out of accidents involving employees to include advising in relation to corporate/manslaughter charges and other health and safety breaches as well as dealing with the personal injury/dependency claims arising out of fatal accidents.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Nick Thomas
Managing partner (Belfast) Amanda Wylie
Other contact partner Raymond Gilmore
Number of UK partners : 130
Number of other UK fee-earners : 670

DIVERSITY AT KENNEDYS

As a growing global law firm, attracting and retaining talent from a variety of different backgrounds has allowed us to develop a distinct culture that we are proud of.

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity at Kennedys. Our principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity apply not only to our employees, but also to the way we treat our visitors, clients, customers and suppliers.

Demonstrating our commitment, we were proud to be the global gold-level partners of the Dive In festival for the first time in 2018. Dive In is a multi-award winning festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance run by Inclusion@Lloyd’s, a cross market collaboration of C-suite executives and industry associations driving the strategic push for greater diversity in the Lloyd’s market.

Our equality and diversity policy

We support our workplace and clients by following our equality and diversity policy. Our policy covers:

  • Discrimination
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Training and promotion
  • Termination of employment
  • Treating outside parties
  • Monitoring
  • Disabled employees.

Everyone at Kennedys has a duty to act in accordance with our equality and diversity policy. They must treat others with dignity at all times, and not discriminate against or harass job applicants or other employees regardless of their status.

Discrimination

Discrimination is prohibited on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Recruitment and selection

Job applicants do not suffer discrimination, job selection criteria are regularly reviewed to ensure they are relevant to the job, and short listing of applicants is completed by more than one person.

Training and promotion

Training needs are identified through regular reviews. All promotion decisions will be made on the basis of merit.

Termination of employment

Any disciplinary procedures and penalties are applied without discrimination and redundancy criterion and procedures are fair and objective.

Treating outside parties

Kennedys is free to accept instruction from any particular client and refusal to act will not be based on any protected characteristics. Lawyers will be instructed based on their skills, experience and ability.

Monitoring

Workforce composition is monitored at all levels to ensure equality of opportunity across the firm. Where appropriate, steps will be taken to identify and remove unjustified barriers.

Disabled employees

Those with a disability will be treated fairly and reasonable adjustments to the workplace, or job content, will be made to ensure that an employee with a disability is not disadvantaged.