Carson McDowell’s healthcare team has unrivalled knowledge and experience of this sector in Northern Ireland. The team advises medical defence organisations, insurers, healthcare practitioners, private clinics, pharmacists, optometrists, and care homes.

In addition to defending clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims on behalf of practitioners from across the spectrum of health related disciplines, the healthcare team includes lawyers who are dedicated to defending healthcare professionals in regulatory and disciplinary matters. We have represented the needs of healthcare clients at a range of high profile inquests and inquiries, including the Vale of Leven Hospital and the Hyponatraemia inquiries.

We pride ourselves on adopting a practical and proactive response to the legal problems faced by our clients. In achieving this, we recognise the need for a rapid response. This comes to the fore for many of our clients when facing complaints or enforcement action by regulatory bodies, such as the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

We also deal with ethical issues and advice on policy and procedure. Our experience allows us to fully understand and assist with the complex issues surrounding information governance with experience in data protection and freedom of information issues.

Our healthcare team is the largest in Northern Ireland, specialising exclusively in healthcare law.

What we do

  • Management and defence of clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims on behalf of their medical defence organisations and insurers
  • Representation before the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation in disciplinary proceedings brought by employers
  • Advice in relation to enforcement action by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority and registration issues
  • Advice on issues in relation to the Primary Medical Services Performers List
  • Advising in relation to proceedings by the Regional Professional Panel of the Health & Social Care Board
  • Assisting with investigations by the Commissioner of Complaints for Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation at Inquests
  • Advice in relation to data protection and confidentiality of patient information
  • Training on a range of medico-legal issues
  • Reviewing policies and procedures and advising on legal position and Departmental Guidance and Circulars specific to Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation at Public Inquiries across the United Kingdom
  • Advice on Mental Health practice and procedure in Northern Ireland
  • Public law advice and judicial review proceedings

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Clinical Negligence:

What the team is known for

Premier practice led by a well-resourced team, adept at defending high-value clinical negligence claims. Provides legal services to a vast range of clients in the healthcare sector, with particular strength in dental claims. Routinely represents prominent defence and protection organisations, as well as indemnity organisations.


Sources say: "It is a pre-eminent practice with a big department."

Notable practitioners

The "excellent" Roger McMillan is praised by market commentators for his "very approachable" nature. He frequently defends clients in failure of diagnosis cases as well as in surgical negligence claims.

Jacqueline McAleese is a well-regarded defence practitioner best known for her work in dental disputes and negligent surgery cases.

Claire Harmer is noted for her expertise in defending healthcare professionals in delayed diagnosis cases as well as matters involving birth injuries.

Professional Discipline:

What the team is known for

Experienced team of professional discipline specialists regularly representing clinicians involved in complex regulatory matters. Acts for the full range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses and opticians. Accomplished in matters relating to claims of drug mishandling, hospice care and sexual misconduct.


One source says: "I sleep better at night having instructed Carson McDowell."

Another states: "They are a well-run and specialised team."

Notable practitioners

Roger McMillan is an exceptional practitioner who often represents medical professionals before the GMC. A client says: "Roger has an ability to use a wide-angled lens on a case at the same time as grasping all of the minutiae. He is forward-thinking. He commands confidence through his thoughtful approach."

Leigh Linton is sought after for her experience defending healthcare practitioners before bodies such as the GMC and GDC. Clients say: "She is a diligent lawyer who leaves no stone unturned. She is completely unflappable."

The Legal 500 2018

Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence: Defendant

What the team is known for

Industrial disease claims, catastrophic motor accidents and employer and public liability cases are key areas of instruction for Carson McDowell’s personal injury and healthcare practice, which is also adept at handling high-value healthcare claims.

Significant clients

Recent clients include Faraday Insurance and Riverstone Insurance.

Notable practitioners

Claire Harmer, who is highly recommended for her expertise in industrial disease and inquests, heads the personal injury practice; the group represents companies in catastrophic injury and related criminal investigations. Senior associate Catherine Carton has experience in defending clients in personal injury litigation resulting from motor claims and industrial disease cases, and senior associate Niall Skelton is well versed in representing the Motor Insurance Bureau in road traffic accident claims. On the healthcare side, Roger McMillan, who is singled out for his "superb client care", heads the team, in which Jacqueline McAleese ("hardworking and a tough negotiator") is a key name for defending medical and dental practitioners and clinicians in litigation, and is well known for representing the Medical Protection Society.