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.

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

What we do

  • 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

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2020

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. Also handles shareholder and pensions-related litigation. Often acts for major manufacturing and agri-food sector clients. Continues to advise on high-value commercial disputes, with an additional presence in mediation work.


One client says the team is "very proactive and commercial in its advice, actively helping instead of just stating a legal position."

Another highlights the team's "excellent service," describing it as "very sharp and able to understand our requirements, and deliver the required results."

Work highlights

Acted for Sunday Life as the defendant in defamation proceedings relating to an article in which it was alleged the plaintiff was a senior member of a terrorist organisation.

Notable practitioners

As practice co-head, Declan Magee handles a broad range of commercial litigation, including shareholder disputes, breach of contract claims and defamation actions. One client enthuses: "He has the ability to distil very complicated commercial disputes down to key points, which helps us make decisions," while another singles him out for "looking beyond the obvious in developing lines of argument."

Lucy Clarke's work has lately spanned breach of contract, competition law and allegations of fraud. Clients single her out for her "expert assistance on contract disputes."

Peter Guzhar is a commercial disputes practitioner with particular strength in disputes relating to contractual rights and intellectual property. One market source describes him as "very pleasant to deal with" and notes his ability to handle "very significant" matters quickly.

The Legal 500 UK 2020

What the team is known for

The 'professional and friendly' team at Carson McDowell has a 'wide range of expertise with great depth of experience'; it has been particularly active in the media and public sectors, but has also handled contract and company, IP, procurement and competition litigation.

Work highlights

Represented the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland (PCNI) in the Court of Appeal in Hegarty’s Application, a judicial review which considered the legality of the prisoner licence revocation process.

Defended Independent News and Media against a libel action brought by Brian Gillen, regarding an article in which it was alleged that the plaintiff was a senior member of the IRA.

Defended Alpha News Group against a libel action arising from the publication of a police appeal for information relating to the alleged theft of goods from a supermarket.

Represented the PCNI in the Court of Appeal in Toal’s Application, a judicial review which considered the client's powers to call witnesses of its own motion.

Represented Telegraph Media Group, News UK and Associated Newspapers in an action taken by one of the hackers convicted in relation to the TalkTalk hacking scandal.

Notable practitioners

The 'responsive and approachable' Declan McGee leads the team alongside healthcare head Roger McMillan. Hugh McGrattan heads the professional indemnity and insurance defence side of the practice, which was strengthened by the firm's recent merger with Francis J Irvine Solicitors.

Significant clients

Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland, Alpha News Group, Sunday Life (Independent News & Media NI).