Mills Selig > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Firm Profile

Mills Selig
21 ARTHUR STREET
BELFAST
BT1 4GA
Northern Ireland

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

With ‘a great depth of knowledge and client service throughout the entire team', Mills Selig’s practice has been enhanced with the promotion of practice head Fiona McFall to the partnership. McFall is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and advises on wills, trusts, and estate planning and administration issues. She is also highly skilled in advising on residential and commercial property mandates.

Practice head(s):

Fiona McFall

Testimonials

‘Great depth of knowledge and client service throughout the entire team. A diverse practice able to offer complete succession planning for both individuals and family businesses.’

‘Going over and beyond normal working hours to assist clients. Travel to location outside of the office is much appreciated ensuring planning time scales have been met.’

‘Mills Selig offers a diverse and professional team, but there is also a personal approach taken which makes the practice very easy to deal with.’

‘Professional and competent, but with it very personable.’

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Mills Selig has a strong reputation for handling local deals, as well as acting as local counsel on UK-wide and international transactions. The team has recently taken lead roles on some of the biggest deals in the domestic market, including advising EG Group on the Herbert Group’s sale of the largest KFC franchise in the UK and Ireland. Managing partner Chris Guy specialises in major M&A and private equity transactions. Senior partner John Kearns has expertise in corporate and restructuring issues, while the team has also been boosted with the arrival of senior associate Darren Marley from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP - he is particularly strong in VC deals.

Practice head(s):

Chris Guy

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Darren Marley is exceptional. He goes beyond law and thinks commercially – advising the businesses we invest in on what matters and what doesn’t; picking the right fights so as to get the most for the businesses from us as the VC, which I respect. There are few lawyers who can give quality advice with a very strong commercial focus on what really matters. This helps to close deals efficiently and effectively.’

Key clients

Euro Garages Limited

First Derivatives plc

Devenish Nutrition Limited

Golf Now

Questel SAS

Quinn Industrial Limited

Cancom Limited

Natural World Products Limited

Portview Holdings Limited

Whiterock Capital Partners LLP

BSI Wind Ltd

Savage & Whitten Group

Hughes Insurance

ValueCabs

Warrenpoint Port Harbour

Clanmil Housing Association

TruCorp Group

SDC trailers Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised EG Group on its acquisition of the largest KFC franchise in the UK and Ireland.
  • Advised First Derivatives in relation to its divestment of shares in Quantile Technologies.
  • Acted for the management team of TruCorp Limited on its management buy-out.

Northern Ireland > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Mills Selig’s broad dispute resolution practice is particularly strong in the real estate sector, especially in cases involving obtaining injunctive relief against construction and title disputes. This line of work is primarily handled by practice head Emma Hunt, highlighted for her 'good judgement and problem-solving skills in difficult cases', who has additional expertise in disputes concerning IP and technology. The 'great all-round litigation team' also includes Maeve Fisher, who also focuses on property disputes and is experienced in licensing cases, and Kirsten Magee, whose key expertise lies in professional negligence disputes.

Practice head(s):

Emma Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I find the team at Mills Selig very professional and well oriented in the details of our case. I also find the organisation capable of handling challenging situations very well, while being communicative, open and able to explain the intricacies of the legal system to foreign participants. In these challenging times, the team was able to move personal meetings seamlessly into productive videoconferencing, so we could cover all the necessary tasks on time.’

‘Mills Selig is a trustworthy, dependable and solid firm with an excellent reputation for straight-dealing and pragmatism. I have no hesitation at all in strongly recommending them to clients. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Emma Hunt has a commitment to the task at hand which is exceptional. She has good judgement and problem-solving skills in difficult cases, which adds huge value for clients. She displays an integrity in her dealings which instils confidence in clients. An excellent lawyer.’

‘I have used Mills Selig for many years for various legal services and have always found them knowledgeable and extremely professional. Their approach throughout their practice, in my view, is efficient and proactive whilst maintaining a relaxed and informal feel.’

‘Emma Hunt and Kirsten Magee provided straightforward and understandable advice on a timely basis. They were always available and adapted well to the change of issues over the life of the case.’

‘Great all-round litigation team, providing clear, proactive and friendly advice.’

‘Emma Hunt is a formidable litigator, personable and determined with a ready ability to resolve even the most complex cases’

‘Maeve Fisher is an excellent litigator with a well-earned reputation in all things licensing.’

Key clients

Fannin NI Limited

Value Cabs Limited/ The McCausland group

Warrenpoint Harbour Authority

Mannok Industrial Holdings (Formerly Quinn Industrial Holdings)

Channel Four/ ITN

Vita Liberata

Choice Housing Ireland Limited

Hagan Homes Limited

First Derivatives plc

Twitter International Company

Work highlights

  • Acting for one of the successful tenderers, Fannin, in relation to a procurement challenge where the value of the underlying contract is circa £300m.
  • Acting for Lambeth Magnetic Structures in a case alleging breach of a patent by a Northern Ireland-based manufacturer of circuit boards.
  • Acting for Warrenpoint Harbour Authority in a successful appeal to the First Tier Tribunal against a decision of the Information Commissioner which had significant implications for both the client and the wider industry.

Real estate > Commercial property Tier 2

Mills Selig's real estate practice is highlighted for its involvement in high-profile transactions and its success in winning new clients recently, including names such as Rentokil and Mamas and Papas. Anne Skeggs leads the team, which has a strong track record acting for tenants, landlords and developers in the retail sector. It is also active in areas such as energy, telecoms, natural resources and manufacturing, among others. Skeggs assisted EG Group with its acquisition of KFC franchises across the UK and Ireland. She works with Anna-Marie McAlinden, who is notably strong in acting for Northern Ireland-based clients on property matters in England and Wales. McAlinden's experience includes assisting clients with the management of shopping centre portfolios and the acquisition and sale of hotels.

Practice head(s):

Anne Skeggs

Other key lawyers:

Anna-Marie McAlinden; Caroline Glover

Testimonials

‘Unique amongst solicitors is their commercial nous. Ability to spot a commercial angle, an alternative option, and to explain it patiently in layman’s terms.’

‘Anne Skeggs– a brilliant mind- so commercial, sharp, and at the same time very down to earth.’

‘Extremely thorough approach.’

‘Very approachable.’

Key clients

Herbert Group/Kirk Bryson Limited

Murdock Property Group/Lotus Group

Ducales Capital

Lynwood Homes

Bamford Bus Company

Euro Garages

Hagan Homes

Glenmayne Group

Galliard Homes Limited

Marcol Group Limited

IMC Cinema Group

ITV Group plc

Clanmil Housing Association

Total Produce Limited

Quinn Industrial Holdings (now Mannok Holdings)

Waterways Ireland

A P Wireless Ireland Investments Limited

Quicklet Properties Limited

Earlsfort Capital Partners

Lloyds Development Capital (Holdings) Limited

Rexel Group

Reed Group

Ortus Secured Finance

Mamas and Papas

Rentokil

Work highlights

  • Advised EG Group on its acquisition of the largest KFC franchise in the UK and Ireland
  • Advised LDC on the NI aspects of the sale of its interest in Texthelp Limited to Five Arrows.
  • Advised the seller on the sale of over 30 separate 250kw wind farm projects.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 2

Mills Selig advises on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious work, with notable expertise in patent litigation. Litigator Emma Hunt jointly leads the practice and has represented clients in both patent and trade mark infringement cases. Also leading the team is Glenn Watterson, who focuses on non-contentious issues including handling licensing and registration matters for business start-ups.

Practice head(s):

Emma Hunt; Glenn Watterson

Key clients

First Derivatives plc

Novosco Limited

Locum Match Limited

Bluesona Limited

Devenish Nutrition

Ampliphae Limited

Limitless Digital Solutions Limited

Sussd Limited

SDC Trailers Limited

One Million Steps Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a US spin out company in relation to patent infringement proceedings of significant value.
  • Acting for a financial services client in defence of trade mark infringement proceedings and related proceedings before the IPO.
  • Providing advice on a proposed comparative advertising campaign to a manufacturing company.

Northern Ireland > Employment Tier 3

Mills Selig's employment team operates under the leadership of Kiera Lee, who is an expert in advising on major restructurings as well as day-to-day employment and HR issues. She is also highly skilled in handling employment tribunal claims and the employment aspects of major M&A deals, with multinational clients including Virgin Media and Dunnes Stores. She is supported by solicitor Andrew Edwards, who is well versed in employment matters relating to contracts and TUPE regulations.

Practice head(s):

Kiera Lee

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

First Derivatives Plc

DCC plc

Bamford Bus Company Limited t/a Wrightbus

Virgin Media Plc

Arjo UK Limited

Dunnes Stores

Geda Construction LLP

Golf Holdings Limited

Kerr Henderson Financial Services Limited

Ulster Engineering Limited t/a Ulster Shredders

Work highlights

  • Advised the Kerr Henderson Group on the employment aspects of the sale of its pension scheme administration and actuarial consultancy arm to Deloitte by way of an asset sale with a split exchange and completion.
  • Advised a consortium of taxi firms, including Value Cabs Limited, on the employment aspects of the acquisition of the business and assets of Infocabs Ltd and the Infocab Partnership.
  • Advised global intellectual property supplier Questel SAS on the employment issues relating to its initial 51% acquisition of UK-based RenewalsDesk Limited.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

Mills Selig, which is noted for its focus on borrower-side mandates, demonstrates strong capabilities in transactions related to the energy, real estate and hospitality sectors, among others. Its recent work included acting for clients on university developments. Senior associate Naomi Gaston, who leads the banking team, specialises in secured and unsecured lending, with expertise in asset-based lending and loan sales from a Northern Irish perspective.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Gaston

Testimonials

‘It very much felt like the partner was giving us 100%. Answered all emails and calls extremely quickly and followed up with us numerous times.’

Key clients

Whiterock Capital

Bank of Ireland

First Derivatives plc

Ortus Secured Finance

Danske Bank

Charities Aid Foundation Bank

Privilege Project Finance

Close Leasing

Merchant Money

Murdock Property Group/Lotus Group

Work highlights

  • Advised First Derivatives plc on a secured financing involving collateral over property in England.
  • Advised large-scale mortgage servicer on the Northern Irish aspects of a mortgage sale portfolio as part of a UK-wide transfer.
  • Put in place facility arrangements in respect of a loan to a business impacted by Covid-19 under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Mills Selig offers ‘practical and pragmatic guidance to office holders, insolvents, creditors and family members’. Equally strong in personal and corporate insolvencies, the team's varied workload includes voluntary arrangements, company restructurings, administrations, receiverships, bankruptcies and liquidations. In addition, it handles purchases and sales of bankrupt businesses. Senior partner John Kearns stands out for his 25 years of experience working on insolvency cases in the local market. He is supported by experienced litigator Richard Craig, who made partner in 2020. The firm regularly generates a strong flow of work from major lenders, as well as insolvency practitioners, accountancy practices and businesses.

Practice head(s):

John Kearns; Richard Craig

Testimonials

‘I would consider them to be one of the most professional legal firms that I have dealt with in my 35 years in business. Mills Selig have over the years provided excellent advice and support when most needed.’

‘Richard was excellent at getting into the detail and understanding what my wife and I had been dealing with over a long period of time. He was diligent in keeping us informed of who he was dealing with and what was required to bring a our circumstances to an acceptable conclusion. We will be forever grateful for his expertise and skill.’

‘Richard Craig has a great attitude and is renowned for his work on difficult cases.’

‘Mills Selig offers a strong presence in this practice area, offering practical and pragmatic guidance to office holders, insolvents, creditors and family members. Where the needs of the case demand it, Mills Selig will fight the case, but always focussed on finding the best result for the client.’

‘John Kearns is a very experienced practitioner, offering clients sound, pragmatic advice. Richard Craig is experienced and knowledgeable in using the appropriate litigation and ADR processes to enable his clients to meet their aims.’

Key clients

PKF-FPM Accountants

Gildernew & Co Accountants

Keenan CF

Grant Thornton

Hannaway CA

Cavanagh Kelly

HNH Group

Arthur Boyd & Co

McKeague Morgan

Rachel Fowler Advisory

Work highlights

  • Advised a property developer on a debt settlement agreement with Promontoria.
  • Advising a local printing company on the procedure for appointment of an administrator where the sole director died while in office.

Projects, energy and natural resources > Energy, project finance and PFI Tier 3

Mills Selig has been particularly busy in the renewables sector, most recently advising on projects involving wind energy and anaerobic digestion plants.  The team is led by Anna-Marie McAlinden, who is supported by corporate partner Glenn Watterson.

Practice head(s):

Anna-Marie McAlinden

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Mills Selig are smart, fast, humble and value for money – I don’t think there’s any more to it for an entrepreneur – it’s surprisingly unique in my experience!’

‘Anna-Marie McAlinden and Glenn Watterson are stand out, amongst a stand out team.’

‘I have worked with Glenn Watterson on several small transactions and his delivery is superb. Communication is super; tempo and time management great; controlling the situation; protecting my interests with no ego. He’s a ‘go to’ professional.’

‘Anna-Marie I have known for a long time – and worked on transactions in property and energy. She has always been a dream to work with – and has remarkable empathy for the client which means she always goes the extra mile, and when combined with being super smart – it’s a heck of a combination.’

Key clients

Natural World Products Limited

Power On Technologies Limited

Girona Energy Limited

BSI Wind Limited

Jurgen Fuhrlander

3T Power Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Girona Energy on the contractual aspects of the “Girona Project”, which involves a smart grid ecosystem in the Causeway Coast and Glens District Council area.
  • Advised solar energy company Power On Technologies Limited on licensing issues.
  • Advised BSI Wind Limited on the sale of wind farm projects.

Real estate > Construction Tier 3

Mills Selig's growing reputation in the construction arena has seen it become a particularly popular choice among housing associations, and it is particularly sought after in claims against contractors and professional consultants. Also notable is that the firm's other key clients include AES (which owns two of the three power stations in Northern Ireland) and BSG Civil Engineering. The main contact at the firm is practice head Adrian Kerr, who is skilled in resolving disputes, due to his experience of litigation, arbitration proceedings and adjudications. In addition, on the non-contentious side, he has extensive expertise in drafting and negotiating various forms of construction documentation, such as building contracts, collateral warranties and demolition contracts, among others.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Kerr

Testimonials

‘We have worked with Mills Selig since 2016 and find them to be client-focused, professional, knowledgeable and pragmatic.’

‘ We have dealt to date with Adrian Kerr, Head of Construction. Adrian has wide-ranging knowledge of construction and contract law.’

‘Very pleased with Mills Selig’s commercial approach to business-related matters and ability to get resolution to matters raised to date.’

‘Adrian is excellent at getting to the heart of the matter, backed up by a combination of experience, detail, accuracy and speed of response.’

Key clients

Clanmill Housing Association

Radius Housing Association

Graham Construction

Choice Housing Association

AES Kilroot and Ballylumford Power Stations

William & Henry Alexander Limited

BSG Civil Engineering

CAF Bank

Lotus Homes

GEDA Construction

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 3

Mills Selig regularly advises on commercial contracts and licensing mandates involving software, particularly in relation to fintech, e-commerce and agriculture issues. Corporate partner Glenn Watterson leads the team, and counts major financial software company First Derivatives as a key client.

Practice head(s):

Glenn Watterson

Key clients

First Derivatives

Sugar Rush Creative

Girona Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised First Derivatives PLC in relation to the licensing of key FD technology to investee companies.

The firm: Mills Selig is one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and progressive corporate and commercial law firms. It acts for leading plcs, private equity funds, entrepreneurs, private companies and businesses, property developers, leading retailers and national and international media organisations.

Its expert lawyers also advise on English law and are regularly involved in high-level property, corporate and commercial transactions in Ireland, Great Britain, mainland Europe and worldwide.

Notable clients include First Derivatives plc, Bank of Ireland, Devenish Nutrition, ITV, DCC Energy, Murdock Group, Hughes Insurance, Wine Inns, SDC Trailers, and White Rock Capital Partners. The firm has experienced considerable growth over the past few years in restructuring, liquor licensing, banking, construction, energy and environment.

Principal areas of work
Banking and finance: Mills Selig advise borrowers and lenders on property and corporate finance transactions across many different sectors and can assist individuals and businesses as well as banks on all aspects of financing transactions. The firm’s experienced team have expertise in advising on recovery of secured debt and fixed charge receiverships.

Commercial: Well-drafted commercial agreements are fundamental to successful business. Robust terms and conditions and distribution agreements are imperative in today’s competitive environment. Mills Selig’s commercial contracts team are experts at striking the balance in their advice so that client contracts are both workable from a day-to-day business perspective but also offer all appropriate safeguards to limit the risk of contract disputes.

Commercial property: Mills Selig’s dedicated commercial property team have the technical edge to offer sound and decisive commercial property advice in Northern Ireland, England and Wales. The team works closely with clients and their agents to deliver effective, business-minded solutions in all areas of commercial property law.

Construction: Mills Selig is a market-leading construction specialist employing a dedicated team focusing entirely on construction-related issues — the team has a proven track record of dealing with high-value and technically complex cases. The firm sets itself apart by providing solution-focused advice in relation to live construction projects and provides the full construction legal package.

Corporate: Mills Selig’s corporate team is made up of market-leading specialist corporate lawyers and solicitors who combine superior technical expertise with substantial transactional experience of high-value, complex transactions both nationally and internationally. The team’s approach is based on clear, direct, problem-solving advice driven by business needs and objectives to get the deal done.

Dispute resolution and litigation:
Mills Selig has a highly successful, market-leading team adept at handling all types of litigation — with notable experience in managing high-value and complex cases. The litigation team is particularly skilled at adopting a trusted advisor approach and providing not only commercial but strategic advice.

Employment: Mills Selig’s highly regarded employment team is recognised for its experience in all types of employment matters. In this specialised and complex area of law, the firm’s dedicated team focus on delivering expert advice with a strong commercial focus.

Energy and environmental: Mills Selig’s energy and environmental team draws on key sector knowledge from across the firm’s practice areas, including corporate, commercial and property. The team has advised a wide range of clients involved in the generation of energy from renewable and non-renewable sources, as well as businesses operating in the supply chain.

IP and technology: Mills Selig offers legal expertise across all aspects of IP. The firm advises businesses on strategies that enable their intellectual property assets to be fully protected and commercially exploited – this includes copyright, trademarks and design rights through to joint venture collaborations, franchising and licensing.

Licensing: The licensing team at Mills Selig are recognised market leaders, combining detailed knowledge and practical experience of a wide range of licensing applications. Chambers and Partners ranks the Mills Selig licensing team Band 1. The team’s services include; applications for new licences for public houses, hotels, off licences and restaurants, all types of renewal application, transfers, sale and purchase transactions, protection orders, amendments/additions to licence terms, objections to applications and social club applications.

Media and defamation: Mills Selig’s media and defamation team are recognised experts, representing national newspapers, broadcasters, book and online publishers as well as high-profile individuals. The team enjoy longstanding recognition in Chambers UK legal directory as a leader in defamation and reputation management and have been involved in many of the major libel and media cases in this jurisdiction— including Northern Ireland’s first-ever State Immunity case.

Private client: Mills Selig’s specialist private client team assists individuals and families for whom wealth preservation is a fundamental objective. The team is trusted locally and throughout the UK and Ireland to handle all private client matters sensitively, professionally and with unparalleled expertise. The team has extensive experience in a range of private client matters including wills, trusts, business succession, estate planning and creating bespoke structures to protect personal and family wealth.

Residential property: Mills Selig’s restructuring and insolvency team advises debtor companies, secured and unsecured creditors, financial institutions, banks, insolvency practitioners and failing businesses needing support on all aspects of recovery, turnaround and insolvency. The team is highly regarded for its expert, timely guidance, which has on several occasions helped businesses avoid formal insolvency arrangements.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Senior Partner - Restructuring and Insolvency John Kearns
Partner - Head of Property Anne Skeggs
Partner - Head of Construction Adrian Kerr
Managing Partner - Head of Corporate Chris Guy
Partner - Head of Litigation Emma Hunt
Partner - Head of Employment Kiera Lee
Partner - Energy and environment Anna-Marie McAlinden
Partner - Head of Private Client Fiona McFall
Partner - Restructuring and insolvency Richard Craig
Partner - Head of Corporate Glenn Watterson
Partner - Corporate Darren Marley
Partner - Litigation Kirsten Magee
Partner - Litigation Maeve Fisher
Number of UK Partners : 13
Number of other UK fee-earners : 14