The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon
Work 028 9043 4015
Fax 028 9043 4016

Northern Ireland

Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 3


Worthingtons has a strong commercial litigation practice, including acting in shareholder and partnership disputes, and is also noted for its public law and judicial review expertise. Clients include local and multinational companies such as major retailers and legal expenses insurers, and a number of charities. Ciaran McConnell heads the practice along with clinical negligence partners Nikki McConnell and Claire McDaid.

Practice head(s):Ciaran McConnell; Nikki McConnell; Claire McDaid

Other key lawyers:Brian Moss


'The team is outstanding in terms of client care and case management, particularly regarding more complex cases involving sensitive issues. The members of the team have superb interpersonal skills and are highly effective communicators. They are professional, yet approachable and accessible. They are reliable and consistent in providing a high-quality service.'

'We have been particularly impressed by Brian Moss and solicitor Emily Paisley, who have shown great skill, professionalism and flexibility in working with a wide range of clients. They are able to maintain a highly professional approach while showing empathy and respect to clients and colleagues.'

Key Clients

AA McGuckian Ltd

Kinetic Insurance Brokers Ltd

AB1 and AB2 (minors)

Bradley Thallon Properties Ltd

HM1 (a minor)

Advantage Finance Ltd

MJ2 (a minor)

White Park Capital Partners Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing livestock company AA McGuckian in a judicial review of the highly publicised Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme after being denied accreditation to the scheme for its large-scale combined heat and power plant (CHP).
  • Defending Kinetic Insurance Brokers Ltd/Richard Long & Co in High Court proceedings relating to the operation of a performance and guarantee bond for a significant construction project.
  • Acting for two minors in an important immigration case regarding the rights of ‘extended’ family members of EU nationals and their right to live and work in the UK.
  • Acting for Bradley Thallon Properties Ltd in an ongoing dispute concerning an agreement to modify and improve an access route on a large industrial estate.
  • Acting for a minor in an important and wide-ranging challenge against the Education Authority concerning the role and operation of the classroom assistance panel system for determining the level of classroom assistance provision to be made for children with statements of special educational needs.

[back to top]

Northern Ireland: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 3


Worthingtons is noted for its strength in tribunal litigation, particularly defending insurance companies and representing local government bodies; the team's client base includes a range of public, private and third sector employers. Louise McAloon took over as practice head following the appointment of Maxine Orr as an employment judge. Newly promoted partner Niall McMullan regularly represents charities.

Practice head(s):Louise McAloon

Other key lawyers:Niall McMullan; Toni Fitzgerald-Gunn


'The team has an excellent understanding of the client's business and culture and, critically, the context in which they operate. Any advice is specifically tailored to reflect this.'

'Niall McMullan provides an outstanding service, with sound clear advice, in the most complex of employment matters.'

'The team is very efficient, personable and capable.'

'Niall McMullan is reliable, knowledgeable and understanding of the client's issues and concerns. He provides concise and practical advice.'

Key Clients

Firstsource Ltd

Gordon Downey

Derry City and Strabane District Council

Robinson Services Ltd

Work highlights

  • Defending Firstsource Ltd against an industrial tribunal claim for constructive unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and a flexible working complaint.
  • Representing an individual in a direct and indirect sex discrimination complaint against the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
  • Representing Derry City and Strabane District Council in the defence of a multiple equal pay action.
  • Successfully defended Robinson Services Ltd against a disability discrimination claim.
  • Defending a group action claim on behalf of a local authority in respect of unlawful deduction from wages claims worth around £10,000.

[back to top]

Northern Ireland: Insurance

Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant
Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 1


Worthingtons has a 'professional practice with a great reputation'; the team is particularly noted for its strength in clinical negligence claims, especially relating to neonatal and maternal injuries. The team also handles a range of personal injury work. The Newtownards-based team is led by managing partner Ciaran McConnell; Nikki McConnell, who specialises in birth injuries resulting in complex brain damage; and newly promoted partner Claire McDaid.

Practice head(s):Nikki McConnell; Ciaran McConnell; Claire McDaid

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Duncan


'The service I received from Worthingtons could not be better in any way.'

'Claire McDaid does more for the client than is strictly required.'

'Worthingtons is a very approachable, friendly, competent and professional practice to deal with. You are made to feel welcome and valued.'

'Nikki McConnell is always approachable and explains matters and all the legal jargon in plain English.'

'The team is wide-awake, dynamic, completely informed, and engagingly friendly but totally professional.'

'Nikki McConnell and Jonathan Duncan are on top of their game - they are competent, informed, and efficient.'

'Claire McDaid is extremely efficient. She doesn't over-promise and sets realistic expectations.'

Work highlights

  • Representing an individual in a complex cerebral palsy action.
  • Representing an individual in a complex case relating to a baby who sustained non-accidental brain injuries.
  • Acting for an individual in a claim relating to the failure to diagnose cancer.
  • Representing an individual in a complex birth injury case.
  • Acting for an individual in a claim over a surgical error.
Leading individuals

Nikki McConnell - Worthingtons

Next Generation Partners

Claire McDaid - Worthingtons

[back to top]

Northern Ireland: Real estate

Commercial property
Commercial property - ranked: tier 3


Worthingtons' 'extremely client-focused' team is known for its landlord and tenant specialism; the firm has particular strength in acting for retail tenants, with major local and national names among its clients. The team is also increasingly active advising on investment acquisitions, and advising clients in the telecoms and charity sectors in particular on the management of their property portfolios. Graham Pierce leads the team following the departure of David Wilson for Johnsons Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Graham Pierce


'Solicitor Michael Duffy is superbly professional, thorough and very approachable and generous with his time.'

'The team is focused on the client and getting the best job done.'

'The team is committed to sorting issues out in a timely manner and take it as personally as if they were working for the client in house. Graham Pierce leads his team in this manner by example.'

'Worthingtons acts swiftly, professionally and completely to the clients' satisfaction.'

'Graham Pierce goes above and beyond to ensure every angle is covered in a detailed and professional way. He acts with speed and corresponds with clarity on all matters so that clients are fully informed throughout the process on progress and tight timescales are achieved.'

Key Clients

Golf Holdings Group

Dixons Carphone plc (including Currys PC World)

Telefonica (O2)

The Works Stores

Quiz plc


Premiere People (part of Cordant Group plc)

Hotel Chocolat


Build-A-Bear Workshop

Boux Avenue (Ryman Group)

Extern Ireland

Work highlights

  • Acting for Dixons Carphone plc in relation to the management of its Northern Ireland estate, consisting of shops and retail warehouses.
  • Acting for Golf Holdings group of companies across all its Northern Ireland portfolio of off-licences, convenience stores, pubs and clubs.
  • Representing Extra Care in its £2.34m acquisition of an investment property.
  • Acting for Quiz plc in relation to its Northern Ireland retail estate portfolio.
  • Acting for Extern Ireland in the purchase and funding of a portfolio of properties for conversion to secure accommodation.

[back to top]

Further information on Worthingtons

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Worthingtons in other jurisdictions.

Northern Ireland

Offices in Belfast

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Court of Justice rules on source of income for Derivative Residence applications

    On 2 October 2019, the Court of Justice delivered its judgment in Bajratari v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Directive 2004/38/EC) Case C-93/18 which concerns Chen applications and the source of funds for self-sufficiency. 
  • End of the ‚Äėcentre of life test‚Äô in Surinder Singh cases?

    In the recent case of¬† ZA (Reg 9. EEA Regs; abuse of rights) Afghanistan ¬† [2019] UKUT 281 (IAC ), the Upper Tribunal found that there is no basis in EU law for the centre of life test, as set out in Regulation 9(3)(a) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 (the ‚ÄúRegulations‚ÄĚ). It further found that it is not to be applied when Judges assess ¬†Surinder Singh ¬†cases that appear before them.
  • Terms of employment as a sole representative

    In this article we examine the working arrangements of sole representatives, looking at the terms and conditions of employment that the Home Office will expect a sole representative to have in order to qualify as a representative of an overseas business.  
  • Can Sole Representatives Be Shareholders?

    The Immigration Rules require that an applicant for a¬† sole representative visa ¬†is not ‚Äúa¬† majority shareholder in the overseas business‚ÄĚ.
  • Immigration Skills Charge - A Guide for Employers

    As a Sponsor, you may be required to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) each time you sponsor a migrant in the  Tier 2 General  or  Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Long-term Staff  subcategory.
  • 5 FAQS about paragraph 320(11)

    In applications for entry clearance where the applicant has a negative immigration history in the UK, the application may be refused under the general grounds for refusal, which are found in part 9 of the Immigration Rules. Where an applicant has ¬†‚Äėpreviously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the Immigration Rules‚Äô,¬† the application could be refused under paragraph 320(11). In this post we look at five frequently asked questions about paragraph 320(11).¬†
  • Multiple nationality and multiple citizenship (including dual nationality and dual citizenship)

    British nationality law permits multiple nationality and multiple citizenship, including dual nationality and dual citizenship.
  • Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the Exceptional Talent or Promise Category

    The  Exceptional Talent  and Exceptional Promise categories are for individuals who are recognised leaders or emerging leaders in their field of expertise. There are a number of endorsing bodies for lots of different fields of work, including  artists and musicians ,  architects ,  digital experts ,  scientists  and  academics . While there isn’t an endorsing body for every expert, the growing list means that many individuals could enjoy the flexibility that this category has to offer. 

    Syedur Rahmanconsiders the factors that determine when civil proceedings can go ahead before,or at the same time as, criminal proceedings relating to the same circumstances.
  • Rights of appeal after the Immigration Act 2014

    The Immigration Act 2014 (‚Äúthe 2014 Act‚ÄĚ) reduced the circumstances in which the refusal of an immigration application will give rise to a right of appeal.¬†The¬† explanatory notes ¬†to the 2014 Act state that the Act was intended to restructure rights of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal. Previously, a right of appeal to the Immigration Tribunal existed against any of the 14 different immigration decisions listed in s.82 of the¬† Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 ¬†(‚Äúthe 2002 Act‚ÄĚ). As explained below, whether or not the refusal of an immigration application currently generates a right of appeal depends on the subject matter of the application rather than its categorisation.