Public and Administrative Law

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 and 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 2020

What the team is known for

Handles administrative and public law matters for clients in the public and charities sectors. Particular emphasis on advice work for public sector clients and regulators, complemented by noteworthy expertise in public inquiries and judicial reviews. Lauded for its niche strength in disputes arising from public sector pensions provision. Additional areas of expertise include planning and freedom of information claims.


A client notes: "In our dealing with Carson McDowell they have always given the impression that they are a professional firm who provide high-quality legal representations. They are client-focused and provide well-drafted, thorough work."

Another reports: "It was a real team approach. They got through a lot of work in a very short period of time by working in tandem with each other."

Work highlights

Advised Invest Northern Ireland on the appearance of its staff and senior executives before the Renewable Heat Incentive Inquiry.

Notable practitioners

Declan Magee is well known for his strong following of public sector clients and advice on all manner of governance and decision-making issues. He has also been active in high-profile public inquiries. A client comments: "He's very effective as a partner liaison and manages the relationship very well. He's also a vastly experienced, hugely effective litigator with an impressive list of contacts."

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.


A client has said: "The firm is extremely proficient and they act very quickly."

Work highlights

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.

Significant clients

Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland, Translink, and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Notable practitioners

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.