Carson McDowell has a longstanding reputation in advising clients in the public sector in Northern Ireland. As a result our experience is longstanding in advising in the area of Public & Administrative Law.
We have considerable experience in supporting our public sector clients in their decision making processes, acutely aware of the close scrutiny that potentially contentious decisions can have in the modern forum.
Our cross disciplinary team provides expertise in contentious and non-contentious teams, enabling us to support our clients through each stage in the decision making process to include any challenges that may arise.
What We Do
- Support clients in establishing their processes to ensure they are robust
- Facilitate our clients in decision making processes to ensure compliance
- Regulatory advice on compliance obligations
- Real Estate advice for the public sector
- Support in assessing any challenges to the decisions by our public sector clients
- Freedom of Information and Data Protection advice and support
- Representation in Judicial Review proceedings
- Procurement advice and support
What Others Say About Us
Chambers and Partners UK 2019
What the team is known for
Handles administrative and public law matters for clients in the public and charities sectors. Particular emphasis on judicial reviews, public inquiries and other contentious claims, including disputes arising from public sector pensions provision. Additional areas of expertise include planning and procurement challenges. Another notable area of expertise is advising on data protection and freedom of information claims.
Sources say: "They are accessible, knowledgeable and know the subject matter well. They understand the market place."
Advised the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland in relation to the successful defence of a judicial review brought by a life-sentenced prisoner challenging the decision not to release him from custody.
The highly-regarded Declan Magee acts on a wide variety of public and administrative matters. A source notes: "He is always accessible, knowledgeable and prompt in reply. I have confidence in his ability to find a solution and in his understanding of how business works."
Chambers and Partners UK 2018
What the team is known for Handles administrative and public law matters for clients in the commercial, public and charities sectors. Particular emphasis on judicial reviews, public inquiries and other contentious claims. Additional areas of expertise include planning and procurement challenges. Another notable area of expertise is advising on data protection and freedom of information claims.
Strengths Sources note that the team carries out "a lot of good work."
Work highlights Represented Northern Ireland Local Government Occupational Pension Scheme in connection with a challenge against a provision within its Pension Scheme Rules requiring a nomination form to be completed by a person enrolled in the pension scheme if they were in an unmarried relationship, which was argued to be unduly restrictive for unmarried members in comparison to married members.
Acted for Infrastrata in a judicial review concerning its rights for exploration at a site outside of Belfast for potential gas reserves.
Declan Magee is "a very highly respected litigator" who acts in a wide array of disputes on behalf of public bodies. Sources say: "He is very professional and approaches cases in a very commercial way. He understands clients and heads up an effective team."
Chambers and Partners UK 2017
What the team is known for Handles administrative and public law matters for clients in the commercial, public and charities sectors. Particular emphasis on judicial reviews, public inquiries and other contentious claims. Additional areas of expertise include planning and procurement challenges.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I have been struck by their professionalism, but also their genuine warmth and desire to work with us to achieve the desired outcomes. The firm has great credibility within the field and a work ethic that is to be admired."
"They have a very wide skills base and a very user-friendly approach to their clients."
Work highlights Counselled Barnardo's in relation to evidence and provision of documentation to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry chaired by Sir Anthony Hart, which investigated allegations of abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.
Acted for the defendant, the Northern Ireland Local Government Occupational Pension Scheme, in proceedings brought by an individual claiming to be entitled to a pension scheme on the basis that she was engaged to a beneficiary of the pension who passed away. Further complexities concerned the claimant's use of crowdfunding to meet her litigation costs, which arguably was not permitted by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland and breached a relevant protective costs order.
Declan Magee is instructed in a range of contentious administrative and public law matters, including judicial reviews and procurement disputes. Sources report that "he is both thoughtful and encouraging. He has a particular strength in his ability to put clients at their ease and communicate with them in 'non-legal' language. He is always calm in a crisis."
Significant clients Translink, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Ulster Farmers Union, Simple Power, Portadown College and Lurgan College.
The Legal 500 2016
What the team is known for
Market-leading litigation team acting on a number of high-profile public and administrative law cases. Noted for its expertise in judicial reviews of planning decisions, public inquiries and challenges to public sector funding. Clients include individuals, public sector entities, charities and government bodies.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The firm is extremely proficient and they act very quickly."
Acted for an individual claimant in a challenge to the government's proposed temporary closure of Dalriada Hospital for cost-saving purposes. The firm successfully secured an interim relief to prevent further closures while the case was heard and then succeeded in its judicial review on the basis the decision was made without proper consultation.
Advised Barnardo's Northern Ireland on the ongoing public inquiry into institutional abuse.
Declan Magee's expertise ranges from public law challenges in the context of procurement to judicial reviews of the decisions made by public sector bodies.
Significant clients Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland, Translink, Northern Ireland Tourist Board