Stuart Murphy > Carson McDowell > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Lawyer Profile

Carson McDowell
Northern Ireland

Work Department



Stuart heads up Carson McDowell’s construction practice and works on a dedicated basis on construction and engineering matters. Stuart has experience of drafting and negotiating construction contracts, warranties and other documents necessary for the building process and of vetting and carrying out tender analyses. He has advised clients during the progress of construction works, to resolve issues as they arise and try to avoid disputes escalating. Where disputes are unavoidable, Stuart has a wide range of experience in the variety of different dispute resolution processes, including litigation, arbitration, adjudication and the increasingly frequently used alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation, expert determination etc. Stuart also lectures regularly on legal topics of interest to the construction and engineering industry. Stuart’s major clients include the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, several of Northern Ireland’s Housing Associations and the Construction Employer’s Federation of Northern Ireland and their members.


Trained Mills & Reeve, Cambridge; qualified 1992; worked in the construction department of Masons (now Pinsent Masons) 1993-2007, latterly as a senior associate; partner Carson McDowell 2010 to date.


Law Society of England and Wales; Law Society of Northern Ireland.


Royal Belfast Academical Institution 1979-86; University of Liverpool (1989 LLB (Hons)); Chester College of Law (1990 Law Society Finals).

Lawyer Rankings

Northern Ireland > Dispute resolution

Carson McDowell’s broad commercial litigation practice has standout strengths in handling procurement challenges as well as assisting manufacturing companies in disputes concerning their commercial agreements with suppliers and other parties. Declan Magee heads the ‘professional, efficient and thorough‘ commercial litigation and dispute resolution team and has extensive experience in procurement challenges, counting Translink as a key client. Another key area of expertise is insolvency litigation, with head of debt recovery Darren Toombs regularly acting on restructuring and debt recovery cases. Commercial litigator Peter Guzhar is another key name in the team; he acted for Tayto in a widely publicised trade mark infringement case against a supplier which was selling the Republic of Ireland’s similarly named yet separate crisps in bars and restaurants in Northern Ireland. Head of insurance Hugh McGrattan and head of construction Stuart Murphy are also highly recommended for disputes in their respective areas of expertise.

Northern Ireland > Real estate > Construction

(Leading individuals)

Stuart MurphyCarson McDowell

Carson McDowell’s team is led by Stuart Murphy, who has nearly 30 years of experience handling non-contentious and contentious construction mandates. John Dugdale and associate Gavin Kerr  are other names to note at the firm, which is a first port of call for challenging projects, with it being able to draw upon expertise in ancillary disciplines, such as procurement, planning and health and safety. In 2020, the group was sought after for advice on matters with a nexus to the social housing and education sectors. In addition, the offices market was another key driver of activity. Notwithstanding the challenges caused by Covid-19, the practice was able to secure new client wins in 2020, in addition to continuing to acting for existing clients. Recent work has included Murphy assisting Linen Mill Studios Limited with the construction contracts and professional team appointments related to a new Game of Thrones Studio Tour visitor attraction.