Project Finance / PPP / PFI

Carson McDowell is one of Northern Ireland’s leading commercial practices with strong experience in delivering successful projects. Carson McDowell is one of the few Belfast based law firms to offer the range and depth of cross-disciplinary experience necessary to bring a complex infrastructure projects to close and beyond.

We advise on projects across a wide range of sectors including education, energy, water, waste, roads and accommodation. This has included advising in relation to a wide variety of schemes and projects, including PPP, PFI, DBFO and DBFOM projects as well as more traditional and “non-PFI” models of project finance. The firm has advised clients involved in all aspects of projects including public bodies, building contractors, funders, equity providers, consultants and bondsmen. We pride ourselves on being attuned to the commercial drivers and motivations of our clients and our goal is to help our clients to navigate their way through complex legal issues in a practical and timely fashion.

Key Contacts

Gerard Armstrong, Partner, Head of Project Finance Team

Michael Johnston , Managing Partner & Partner, Project Finance

The team includes specialists with expertise in areas such as procurement law, banking law, construction law, planning law, environmental law and commercial property. This ensures that clients are able to call on the services of a multi-disciplinary team which contains all of the skills and talents which are necessary in order to ensure the successful delivery of infrastructure projects.

What we do

  • Advising in relation to PPP, PFI, DBFO and DBFOM and similar “public-private” infrastructure projects
  • Advising in relation to energy projects including wind farms, energy from waste and biomass
  • Advising on the negotiation of project agreements and documents
  • Advising on building and construction contracts and sub-contractor arrangements
  • Advising in relation to consultants’ appointments
  • Advising on construction bonds and retention bonds
  • Advising in relation to financing and funding arrangements including the taking of security and grant of guarantees
  • Advising on collateral warranties and direct agreements
  • Advising on joint venture arrangements including shareholder agreements, construction joint venture agreements and partnering agreements
  • Advising on frameworks and strategic partnerships
  • Advising on constitutional, governance and vires issues including the issue of legal opinions in relation to financing arrangements
  • Advising on title and property issues in relation to projects
  • Advising on planning consents and permissions in relation to projects and construction activities
  • Advising in relation to environmental permits and consents including sector-specific advice (such as advice on the transfrontier shipment of waste in the context of waste projects)
  • Advising on contaminated land and remediation issues
  • Advice in relation to project refinancing
  • Undertaking legal due diligence in respect of project refinancing

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2015

What the team is known for

Active across areas including transport, waste, education and health. Significant experience acting for contractor clients, and also handles secondary market work.

What's new?

New client wins include Amey Lagan Roads.

Work highlights

Acted on the Emerald Partnership Consortium's bid for the Newry and Lisburn Primary and Community Care Projects, advising Northstone as shareholder in construction contractor Emerald.

Acted for Lagan Construction and Lagan O&M on the N17 and N18 Gort to Tuam Roads Project in the Republic of Ireland.

Notable practitioners

Lead partner Gerard Armstrong advises a wide range of contractor and bidder clients on work across fields including social infrastructure, waste and transport. He is active in Northern Ireland, England and the Republic of Ireland.

Managing partner Michael Johnston acts on work in areas including transport, healthcare and education. He acts for a broad array of clients, including bidders and contractors.

Significant clients

Graham Construction, Biffa, McLaughlin & Harvey, Veolia, H&J Martin.

The Legal 500 2015

Carson McDowell LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is jointly led by Gerard Armstrong, who ‘can explain risks in simple terms because he understands the issues’, and Michael Johnston. Highlights include advising McLaughlin & Harvey on the circa £50m Ayrshire College Kilmarnock Campus NPD project, and assisting Lagan Construction with the N17/N18 Gort to Tuam project.

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