Sarah Dunlop > Carson McDowell > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Lawyer Profile

Carson McDowell
Northern Ireland

Work Department

Planning and Environmental Law Team


Sarah is an Associate at Carson McDowell and specialises exclusively in the Planning and Environmental Law team.


Sarah obtained her law degree (LLB (Honours) 1st) from Queens University, Belfast in 2009 and subsequently obtained her Certificate of Professional Legal Studies from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. She qualified as a solicitor in September 2011 and joined the Planning and Environmental Law Team in Carson McDowell in January 2012. Sarah is one of the few solicitors in this jurisdiction who specialises exclusively in Planning and Environmental law. Sarah was made an Associate in May 2017.

Sarah’s experience includes assisting in the instigation and defence of judicial reviews of planning and environmental decisions; assisting with the co-ordination of planning inquiries for regionally significant applications; advising on the form, content and lawfulness of Environmental Statements; advising on planning conditions; advising generally on the legal framework set out in the Planning Act (NI) 2011 and subordinate legislation; providing planning due diligence support for the acquisition, disposal and financing of renewable energy developments in Northern Ireland; providing general planning and environmental law advices.


Member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Committee Member of the Environmental and Planning Law Association of Northern Ireland.

Member of the UK Environmental Law Association.


Queen’s University, Belfast 2009: Law degree (LLB (Honours) 1st)

The Institute of Professional Legal Studies: Certificate of Professional Legal Studies

Lawyer Rankings

Northern Ireland > Real estate > Planning and environment

(Rising stars)

Sarah DunlopCarson 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.