The healthcare sector in Northern Ireland is a core area of focus for Carson McDowell. Our multi-disciplinary team draws on commercial expertise across the firm to provide our public and private healthcare clients with clear and pragmatic advice and support. The team advises healthcare professionals, private clinics, health service bodies, residential and domiciliary care homes, third sector organisations, medical defence organisations, medical malpractice insurers.

What we do

  • PFI/PPP projects
  • Partnership agreements
  • Funding and shareholder arrangements
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • EU and competition queries
  • Real estate purchases
  • Transfers/restructures
  • Banking advice/security reviews
  • Defending clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims
  • Investigations and prosecutions by regulators, for example, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Data protection and confidentiality of patient information
  • Inquests
  • Planning issues
  • Contentious and non-contentious employment matters
  • Contentious and non-contentious construction matters
  • Fee recovery
  • Insurance
  • Dispute resolution
  • Training
  • Public Inquiries, including the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry (Scotland) and the Hyponatraemia Inquiry
  • Judicial review proceedings, including procurement challenges

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2020

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.


Clients say that the team has "very strong clinical negligence knowledge and a real understanding of the issues."

One source points to the "great bank of experts they have available" as one of the firm's key strengths.

Notable practitioners

Jacqueline McAleese maintains a strong practice defending against claims of clinical, including surgical, negligence. Sources describe her as "excellent," adding: "She is understanding, she knows the clinical side of things and she has really good tactical awareness."

"A true specialist," Roger McMillan is noted for his impressive defence practice which covers clinical and dental negligence, including fatalities and failures in diagnosis. He heads the firm's healthcare team.

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.


Clients say: "Carson McDowell is a go-to firm for complex and sensitive cases. It has a first-rate and well-deserved reputation for excellence in the field of healthcare law."

Notable practitioners

Leigh Linton is noted for her experience representing doctors and dentists in criminal and regulatory proceedings. One interviewee remarks upon her ability to "unpack complex issues in a methodical fashion for clients," before adding: "An air of calm always descends upon the cases under her command."

Roger McMillan is a prominent lawyer with considerable experience representing medical practitioners in GMC, GDC and Royal College of Physicians investigations and hearings. Clients say: "Roger McMillan is a skilful tactician who is highly intuitive when it comes to the needs of his clients.”

​The Legal 500 2020

Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence: Defendant

What the team is known for

Carson McDowell has strengthened its insurer client base following its merger with niche defence firm Francis J Irvine; it also acts for a range of large employers, public bodies, healthcare professionals and medical defence organisations. 'The market leader in Belfast in clinical negligence', the team also has extensive experience in industrial disease, marine personal injury and fatal accident claims.

Notable practitioners

Roger McMillan heads the healthcare team, while Jacqueline McAleese leads the clinical negligence claims team. Claire Harmer who heads the defence litigation department, is noted for her inquest expertise.


Advising Axis Capital on an employers' liability claim on behalf of a local shipping services provider.

Representing Beale & Co in the defence of a high-value claim relating to an RTA.

Acting for Northern Ireland Electricity Networks in a wide variety of employers' liability and public liability claims.

Acting for Allianz in a claim brought by a minor plaintiff against the client's policyholder, who had struck the plaintiff with his vehicle.

Acting for the London P&I Club in an employers’ liability claim in which the plaintiff alleged that he developed asbestos-induced asbestosis due to working conditions.

Significant clients

Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Chain Reaction Cycles, Axis Capital Insurance, Enstar Insurance, Willis Towers Watson, Sedgwick (formerly Cunningham Lindsey), Faraday Insurance, Riverstone Insurance, Davies Casualty/Garwyn, TT Club/Thomas Millar Claims Management, Crawford & Co Loss Adjusters/Broadspire, Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Ltd.