Gary McGhee > Carson McDowell > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Lawyer Profile

Carson McDowell
Northern Ireland

Work Department

Commercial property.


Partner with specialist areas of practice in planning and environmental law. Types of work undertaken include: the co-ordination of major planning applications for commercial clients; representation of clients at planning and enforcement appeals; instigation/defence of judicial reviews of planning decisions. Mr McGhee is currently involved in a series of judicial reviews on behalf of commercial clients, challenging and defending decisions of the Department of the Environment. His clients include Tesco Stores plc, the Port of Belfast, Belfast International Airport, Northern Ireland Electricity and House of Fraser.


Trained Carson McDowell; qualified 1996; assistant solicitor 1996-2001; associate solicitor 2001-04; partner 2004 to date.


Environmental and Planning Law Association of Northern Ireland; UK Environmental Law Association; and Associate of the Royal Town Planning Institute.


Queens University, Belfast (1994 LLB Law).

Lawyer Rankings

Northern Ireland > Real estate > Planning and environment

(Hall of Fame)

Gary McGheeCarson McDowell

Carson McDowell‘s first-rate practice is led by one of the few planning specialists in the area, Gary McGhee, who has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of planning and environmental law’. His recent workload has spanned matters connected with the energy, infrastructure, housing, education and tourism sectors. In 2020, a highlight for the team involved acting for Linen Mills Studios on the planning and environmental law aspects of an application for a Game of Thrones Studio Tour attraction. McGhee works with Grant McBurney, who acts for clients such as Belfast International Airport and Belfast Harbour Commissioners. Senior associate Sarah Dunlop is another key figure, as is associate Faye Phillips.

Northern Ireland > Projects, energy and natural resources > Energy, project finance and PFI

Carson McDowell has a diverse offering and particularly stands out for its expertise in advising private equity houses on energy investments; it assisted Brookfield Renewables with its investments in Northern Ireland. Other core areas of focus for the group span wind energy work, natural gas mandates and electricity regulations. The team is led by Neasa Quigley, who is an expert in corporate energy deals. Corporate partner Gerard Armstrong is also active in this area, along with planning specialist Gary McGhee, financing expert Sinead McGrath, as well as property experts Emma Cooper and Dawson McConkey.