Carson McDowell’s healthcare team has unrivalled knowledge and experience of this sector in Northern Ireland. The team advises medical defence organisations, insurers, healthcare practitioners, private clinics, pharmacists, optometrists, and care homes.

In addition to defending clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims on behalf of practitioners from across the spectrum of health related disciplines, the healthcare team includes lawyers who are dedicated to defending healthcare professionals in regulatory and disciplinary matters. We have represented the needs of healthcare clients at a range of high profile inquests and inquiries, including the Vale of Leven Hospital and the Hyponatraemia inquiries.

We pride ourselves on adopting a practical and proactive response to the legal problems faced by our clients. In achieving this, we recognise the need for a rapid response. This comes to the fore for many of our clients when facing complaints or enforcement action by regulatory bodies, such as the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

We also deal with ethical issues and advice on policy and procedure. Our experience allows us to fully understand and assist with the complex issues surrounding information governance with experience in data protection and freedom of information issues.

Our healthcare team is the largest in Northern Ireland, specialising exclusively in healthcare law.

What we do

  • Management and defence of clinical negligence/medical malpractice claims on behalf of their medical defence organisations and insurers
  • Representation before the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation in disciplinary proceedings brought by employers
  • Advice in relation to enforcement action by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority and registration issues
  • Advice on issues in relation to the Primary Medical Services Performers List
  • Advising in relation to proceedings by the Regional Professional Panel of the Health & Social Care Board
  • Assisting with investigations by the Commissioner of Complaints for Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation at Inquests
  • Advice in relation to data protection and confidentiality of patient information
  • Training on a range of medico-legal issues
  • Reviewing policies and procedures and advising on legal position and Departmental Guidance and Circulars specific to Northern Ireland
  • Advice/representation at Public Inquiries across the United Kingdom
  • Advice on Mental Health practice and procedure in Northern Ireland
  • Public law advice and judicial review proceedings

What Others Say About Us

Chambers UK 2021

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. Handles birth injury cases as well as negligence claims that include delay and failure in diagnosis.


Clients say that the lawyers "consistently deliver excellent service and are always willing to go the extra mile."

Sources praise the team's "sensible, pragmatic advice with good attention to detail and tactical awareness."

Notable practitioners

Jacqueline McAleese

Roger McMillan

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.


"They are real specialists in this area," one client remarks, adding that the lawyers are "incredibly down to earth and user-friendly."

Notable practitioners

Leigh Linton

Roger McMillan

The Legal 500 2021

Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence: Defendant

The "excellent" Carson McDowell has "expertise in all areas of civil litigation, including industrial disease claims" and "experience in handling the defence of complex investigations." Managing partner Roger McMillan, who jointly leads the team, has extensive experience in handling clinical negligence claims. Fellow practice head Claire Harmer focuses on personal injury cases involving motor and work accidents, with expertise in examining employer's and public liability. Jacqueline McAleese splits her time between Belfast and Dublin and is an expert in clinical negligence claims.


"Excellent client-focused firm providing comprehensive advice."

"Strong technical knowledge in the litigation team. Very experienced solicitors. Expertise in all areas of civil litigation, including industrial disease claims."

"Experience in handling the defence of complex investigations."

"Readily approachable. Provide prompt and detailed advice. Always prepared to consider our views and that of our clients"

"There is real strength across the whole team. They communicate well and give pragmatic, well considered advice based on excellent attention to detail and analysis of the claim. They are tactically astute."

Key clients

  • Belfast Harbour Commissioners
  • Travelers Insurance
  • Axis Capital
  • Enstar
  • Sedgwick
  • Faraday Insurance
  • Chubb Insurance
  • Davies Casualty/Garwyn
  • TT Club/Thomas Miller Claims Management
  • Crawfords Specialist Liability
  • Services/Broadspire
  • Riverstone Insurance
  • Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Limited
  • Beale & Co
  • McLarens
  • Medical Protection Society
  • Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland
  • Dental Protection
  • National Pharmaceutical Association
  • Association of Optometrists
  • Beazley Group

Insurance (Ireland):

With offices in Belfast and Dublin, Carson McDowell is "an up-and-coming player in the defence healthcare market"; it has expanded its operations in the Republic of Ireland recently with a number of new arrivals at associate level. The firm represents insurers in cases involving product liability, injury, and employer liability. The practice is led by Roger McMillan, who also heads the healthcare group; Jacqueline McAleese, who specialises in clinical claims; and Claire Harmer, who acts in a wide range of claims.


"The team is excellent. Very user-friendly and give clear, well considered advice."

"Technical knowledge in civil litigation matters is a given for all practising solicitors, but this is matched at Carson McDowell by their commercial understanding and sensitivities of our insurer client’s needs and dynamics of the market. Their service is tailored to our individual client needs with cross jurisdiction experience which is essential in Ireland for cross-border trade and with Brexit looming. We first encountered them on a client’s set panel and have since recommended them to other clients."

"A relative newcomer to the market, Carson McDowell are making their mark. Quick turnaround and accurate advice are making them an up and coming player in the defence healthcare market in the Republic of Ireland."

"They are very experienced and technically sound in all aspects of civil litigation, consistently providing a very high level of service. They place the client first with a swift response to any technical queries. A pleasant and engaging manner."

Key clients

  • Medical Protection Society
  • Association of Optometrists
  • Faraday Underwriting
  • Enstar Group
  • Axis Capital Insurance
  • Irish Ferries
  • Thomas Miller Claims Management
  • London P&I Club
  • Weightmans
  • Stena Line
  • Riverstone Insurance