Stephen Cross > Cleaver Fulton Rankin > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Lawyer Profile

Cleaver Fulton Rankin
Northern Ireland
Stephen Cross photo

Work Department

Corporate finance and banking.


Stephen is head of Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s corporate finance and banking department. Stephen advises on corporate finance, banking and commercial law, acting for public sector bodies, financial institutions and businesses in Northern Ireland. Examples of specific areas of Stephen’s practice include project finance, ABL, structured finance, renewable energy projects (for developers and funders) and funding by public bodies and other intermediaries to third sector bodies.


Trained Pickering Kenyon, London; qualified 1993. Worked at Coffin Mew & Clover, Fareham, Hants and Parker Bullen, Salisbury before joining Cleaver Fulton Rankin in 1996. Admitted as solicitor in England & Wales, 1993 and admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland, 1996. Partner in present firm 2001.


Law Society of Northern Ireland (2004 – Present); Law Society of England and Wales (2010 – Present); Irish Wind Energy Association.


University College of Wales, Aberystwyth; College of Law, Chester.

Lawyer Rankings

Northern Ireland > Finance > Banking and finance

(Hall of Fame)

Stephen CrossCleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is prominent in a large number of high-value transactions in Northern Ireland, and its first-rate reputation is further evidenced by the fact that it acts for all of Ireland’s Big Four banks, as well as major banks headquartered in Great Britain, Europe and the US. Led by practice head Caroline MacLaughlin, the team demonstrates strong capabilities in a wide range of transactions, including those involving corporate finance, project finance, real estate finance, asset-backed lending and structured finance. MacLaughlin works with Stephen Cross, who has notable expertise acting for funders and developers on the financing of major energy projects. He has over 20 years of banking and finance experience. Elsewhere, the group’s other banking work has a nexus to industries, such as technology, private equity and real estate. Associate solicitor Peter Moorhead is another key individual.

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

(Hall of Fame)

Stephen CrossCleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is ‘diligent and effective in the Northern Ireland renewable energy sector’, advising on wind and solar farms in the region. The team also handles traditional energy work, especially projects involving natural gas and mining issues. Stephen Cross leads the practice and is also equipped to handle projects involving the tourism sector and agribusinesses. Also supporting the team is corporate partner Hilary Griffith and property expert Joe Marley, who both have expertise in energy and infrastructure matters.

Northern Ireland > Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery

Jeanette Donohoe leads Cleaver Fulton Rankin‘s practice, which demonstrates strong capabilities in administrations, liquidations, corporate and financial restructurings, and voluntary arrangements. On the transactional side, the team handles disposals of assets, as well as purchases and sales of distressed loans. In addition, contentious work is another mainstay of the practice, including directors disqualification proceedings and fraud-related matters. The client base consists of major Irish banks as well as big UK names such as HSBC and Grant Thornton. The team is equipped to handle disputes and advisory work, with strengths in transactions involving distressed assets as well as debt and equity swaps. Practice head Jeanette Donohoe is highly skilled in insolvency litigation, particularly in cases involving property assets. Stephen Cross and Caroline McLaughlin also have restructuring and insolvency experience. In addition, associate Maria McNally is another name to note.

Northern Ireland > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and M&A

Manufacturing and technology are two core areas of focus for Cleaver Fulton Rankin, which has expertise in M&A, private equity and VC transactions. Practice head Hilary Griffith is a council member of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and and jointly leads the firm’s technology sector group; her client base includes fintech, e-commerce and e-learning businesses. The energy sector is another area of focus for the practice, largely due to the expertise of Stephen Cross. Senior associate Kathryn Laverty, who assists Griffith on most matters, is also recommended.