Claire Harmer > Carson McDowell > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Lawyer Profile

Carson McDowell
Northern Ireland

Work Department



Partner and specialises in defence litigation. Claire acts for a number of Medical Defence Organisations and Lloyd’s Underwriters and is a key member of a specialised unit with an exemplary track record dedicated to the specific management and cost effective administration of a wide range of mixed but primarily large loss claims. Clients include the Medical Protection Society (the largest worldwide Medical Defence Organisation (MDO)) and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, another leading UK MDO. Regularly appears at all levels in the High Court before the Master and Queen’s Bench Judiciary. She has successfully represented two defendants in one of the longest running civil trials in Northern Ireland legal history involving allegations of clinical negligence. Claire has also represented a variety of healthcare professionals in a number of Article 2 compliant inquests. Although Claire primarily specialises in clinical negligence claims, she also continues to deal with EL, PL claims (including industrial disease) and marine claims to include passenger claims and cargo claims. Represents a number of the leading UK P & I clubs and has extensive experience in post accident/incident investigations including PACE interviews, MAIB/MCA investigations and the preparation for and conduct of inquests to fatal accidents at sea. In relation to land-based operations has also advised clients in relation to health and safety prosecution proceedings and investigations by the HSENI.


Trained Horwich Farrelly, Manchester; qualified 2001; assistant Johnsons Solicitors, Belfast 2001-08; assistant Carson McDowell 2009; associate 2009-14; partner 2014 to date.


Law Society of Northern Ireland; Law Society of Ireland.


Loreto College, Coleraine; University of Ulster (1996); Manchester University (1999 LPC).

Lawyer Rankings

Northern Ireland > Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant

(Next Generation Partners)

Claire HarmerCarson McDowell

Carson McDowell has strengthened its insurer client base following its merger with niche defence firm Francis J Irvine; it also acts for a range of large employers, public bodies, healthcare professionals and medical defence organisations. ‘The market leader in Belfast in clinical negligence‘, the team also has extensive experience in industrial disease, marine personal injury and fatal accident claims. Roger McMillan heads the healthcare team, while Jacqueline McAleese leads the clinical negligence claims team. Claire Harmer, who heads the defence litigation department, is noted for her inquest expertise.

Ireland > Insurance

With offices in Belfast and Dublin, Carson McDowell is ‘an up-and-coming player in the defence healthcare market‘; it has expanded its operations in the Republic of Ireland recently with a number of new arrivals at associate level. The firm represents insurers in cases involving product liability, injury, and employer liability. The practice is led by Roger McMillan, who is also heads the healthcare group; Jacqueline McAleese, who specialises in clinical claims; and Claire Harmer, who acts in a wide range of claims.