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

Carson McDowell has expertise in both personal injury and clinical negligence matters, with a client roster spanning medical associations, insurers and private companies. Managing partner Roger McMillan leads the medical negligence side with additional expertise in professional indemnity work. Leading the personal injury work is Claire Harmer, whose speciality lies in motor accidents as well as employer and public liability issues. The team also features Jacqueline McAleese, who is an expert in clinical negligence work, and Catherine Carton, who focuses on public and employer liability claims.

Ireland > Insurance

Carson McDowell has continued to develop its Dublin practice following the appointment of Sinéad Keavey as head of the office in November 2020. She is building an offering that leverages the expertise of other senior colleagues that split their time between the firm’s Belfast headquarters and its office in Dublin; this includes Jacqueline McAleese, the head of clinical claims, and clinical negligence specialist Claire Harmer. Personal injury, employer’s liability and public liability claims are also a forte for the team.