Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our highly experienced Commercial Litigation Team strives to help clients avoid litigation where possible. We have been at the forefront of the movement towards alternative forms of dispute resolution in Northern Ireland and regularly represent clients in mediation, arbitration and adjudication settings. Where litigation cannot be avoided we guide clients through what can be a difficult process and provide commercially focused, strategic advice to deliver the best possible outcome.

What We Do

We regularly act in County Court, High Court with experience also in the Supreme Court and European Court of Justice.

Below is a selection of the type of matters we can assist with:

  • General commercial disputes including breach of contract and negligence
  • Contentious Corporate matters including Shareholder Disputes and SPA Disputes
  • Judicial Review
  • IP Litigation to include Patent, Trademark and Copyright Disputes
  • IT Disputes including issues surrounding procurement of IT Solution and Website Development
  • Civil Fraud cases (including dawn raids)
  • Banking & Financial Services Litigation
  • Insurance Disputes including coverage issues, material non-disclosure etc
  • Procurement challenges
  • Partnership Disputes
  • Media & Broadcasting/Reputation Management
  • Product Liability
  • Property litigation
  • Debt Recovery
  • Insolvency

At Carson McDowell LLP, ‘friendly and approachable’ joint head of disputes Declan Magee, undertakes judicial reviews, public procurement challenges and contentious intellectual property cases. Fellow co-head Roger McMillan handles professional negligence and clinical negligence matters. Magee represented Belfast International Airport in a high-profile contractual dispute against Aer Lingus. Also recommended is Darren Toombs.

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

What the team is known for Large, pre-eminent team, well versed in disputes arising from a wide spectrum of sectors and industries, including renewable energy and transport, with a proven track record of acting on behalf of important businesses based in Northern Ireland. Typical work includes contentious issues related to procurement, supply contracts and health and safety. Continues to advise on high-value commercial disputes, with an increasing amount of mediation work.

Strengths Clients are impressed with the firm's "strong resource pool," praising the team's "breadth and depth of quality."

Others described the firm as "very professional and easy to work with ."

Work highlights Continued to represent Belfast International Airport regarding its proceedings against Aer Lingus. The airport alleged that the airline had breached a ten-year agreement to operate out of Belfast International.

Acted for Northern Ireland Local Government Pension Scheme in a high-profile case relating to a person's entitlement to a deceased partner's pension despite their unmarried status.

Significant clients National Trust, Facebook, Marsh UK, Wrightbus, Translink.

Notable practitioners

Declan Magee is praised by clients as "a very savvy operator who tends to get straight to commercial issues." He advises clients on a full range of commercial litigation and is held in high regard for his "broad spectrum of knowledge."

Clients are impressed with Hugh McGrattan's "in-depth knowledge" and "commitment to getting good results." He is well known as a professional negligence and insurance specialist.

Chambers and Partners UK 2017

What the team is known for

Large, pre-eminent team boasting a tremendous reputation. Well versed in disputes arising from a wide spectrum of sectors and industries, including renewable energy and transport, with a proven track record of acting on behalf of important businesses based in the area. Typical work includes contentious issues related to procurement, supply, contracts and health and safety.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"You can trust Carson McDowell to do a good job."

"The team has a very good reputation."

What's new? Hugh McGrattan joined the team in 2015.

Work highlights Acted for Belfast International Airport on proceedings against Aer Lingus alleging a breach of contract that led to a significant loss in the client's profits. The dispute totalled £25 million.

Represented a client from the construction sector in a £5 million claim to defeat the appointment of a public procurement framework. The framework related to works worth up to £800 million.

Notable practitioners

Sources say that head of department Declan Magee is "always concise and available to give advice quickly." He enjoys a great reputation in the world of commercial litigation and is frequently asked to advise on a broad range of contentious issues, including procurement challenges and pension disputes.

Interviewees agree that Hugh McGrattan is "very widely respected in Northern Ireland" for his litigation practice. His expertise encompasses professional negligence and insurance litigation, and he has a particular focus on representing defendants.

Darren Toombs is known for his work within debt recovery, but also regularly acts on cases of fraud and financial services disputes. Sources comment: "He is a good lawyer and a good advocate for his clients."

Significant clients FP McCann, Independent News & Media, Gilbert Ash, NILGOSC, Wrightbus.

The Legal 500 UK 2016

What the team is known for

Outstanding litigation practice with a strong track record of County Court, High Court, Supreme Court and ECJ cases. Advises private and public sector clients on a range of matters, with particular expertise in pensions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"From day one, we were very impressed."

"The firm is extremely special in its manner of dealing with things. You can pick up the phone to them and you will always get somebody. They return your calls very promptly."

Work highlights

Represented Northern Ireland Local Government Occupational Pension Scheme on a Supreme Court case concerning the pension entitlements of unmarried beneficiaries.

Advised F P McCann on a damages claim relating to the awarding of a road project contract. The dispute raised the issue of bid assessments in the event of abnormally low bids for a contract.

Notable practitioners

Head of commercial litigation Declan Magee is praised as "very commercially aware"and able to "bring things down to layman's terms." He advises on both commercial litigation and procurement challenges.

Darren Toombs is "a very tenacious lawyer, who thinks outside the box," according to clients. He heads the firm's debt recovery team.