CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors Northern Ireland are expert professional business solicitors. We combine our commercial expertise with a thorough understanding of your business to deliver strategic, pragmatic legal advice. We partner with clients large and small, public and private, local and international, to see them through any legal eventuality, working with a strong understanding of their commercial goals.
Although they appear superficially similar in some aspects to the domestic conveyancing familiar to our private clients, commercial property matters are very different both in terms of the law which applies to them and the manner in which the transactions are undertaken.
Property can be one of the biggest assets of a business, but it can also be one of the greatest liabilities. Compliance with restrictive covenants, planning regulations, environmental law, legislation and contractual obligations and leases can all lead to significant unexpected costs and a reduction of property asset values.
With these types of transactions, complex issues can arise in the negotiation leading up to the formation of a contract. For instance, issues can arise regarding rights to sublet, rights to assign leases, rights of way, party walls and other complex matters which require particular attention in addition to the protection and management of those rights.
Rather than place obstacles in the way of such transactions, our aim is to facilitate and progress such transactions, on behalf of clients within appropriate time scales and costs while, at the same time, striking a balance so as not to compromise the detailed attention needed to conduct such complex matters.
We offer a comprehensive range of commercial services. We act for a variety of clients ranging from property developers, retailers, pub companies, restaurants, charities and churches.
Amongst the areas in which we provide advice are:
• Office and Industrial leases
• Business Lease renewals and variations
• Freehold purchases and sales
• Estates and developments
• Planning Law
• Disputed repairing and dilapidation issues
• Commercial financing including remortgages
• Business sales and purchases
• Government departments, local housing authorities
We are accustomed to working alongside public and private sector organisations, in house lawyers and other professional advisers and adopt a partnership approach focused on attaining the client's objective.
We regularly advise landlords and tenants in commercial freeholds and leases for commercial and industrial premises including office blocks, industrial units, manufacturing depots and retail units.
Our company and corporate lawyers are involved in setting up companies limited by shares and advising on buying and selling businesses. We also advise on amendments to and the implications of Memoranda of Association, Articles of Association, Shareholders Agreements, directors and licensees responsibilities.
Our company solicitors assist businesses in purchasing other businesses whether incorporated or unincorporated.
We have provided legal advice in respect to:
• Mergers and Acquisitions
• Purchase and sale of private limited companies
• Setting joint venture entities
• Management buyouts
• Advising upon and setting up distributorships
• Due diligence
• Agency Agreements
• Franchise agreements and structures
• Advising upon the suitability of charities and companies limited by guarantee
• Private companies structures
• Employment matters
• Buying and selling businesses
• Securing property interests
• Acquisitions and disposals
• Corporate governance, directors' duties and shareholder relations
• Takeovers and mergers
In addition to acting for our own client base, we are appointed as Agents for many legal firms from Great Britain and abroad whose clients need representation in this jurisdiction either as Claimants or as Defendants. Being located adjacent to the Northern Ireland High Court and the Belfast County Court we can provide a speedy, accessible and efficient service in both these courts as well as acting in the local County Courts throughout the Province.
Our field of expertise includes:
• Contractual Disputes
• Building Contract and Construction Disputes
• Road Transport
• Contentious property and Land Issues
• Landlord and Tenant
• Commercial Agency
This is one of the most common types of dispute. At CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors we have considerable expertise across a broad range of contract types, including:
• Disputes arising out of the sale of goods or supply of services
• Retention of title to goods
• Damages for breach of contract
• Commercial contractual claim
• Failures to perform
We offer advice in all types of construction disputes: adjudication, arbitration, mediation or litigation, and have advised parties from main contractors and sub-contractors, to architects, surveyors and engineers.
the law offers a range of alternative methods to resolve construction disputes. We have experience to select the most appropriate, and will strive to ensure it achieves the best possible result for your business.
We act for a number of haulage companies and can assist with preparation of suitable Terms and conditions of Carriage and act in areas such as the resolution of contractual disputes, claims for freight and actions for damage caused to goods in transit.
We can provide advice and support including ultimately court representation on a wide range of issues which arise in connection with the acquisition, ownership and management of commercial and residential properties. Our primary aim is to enable clients to avoid disputes or to resolve them by negotiation, but if that is not possible in the final event, we provide effective court representation.
Areas of expertise include:
• Boundary disputes
• Lease renewals
• Termination of leases and notices to quit
• Rent reviews
• Rent recovery
• Property related insolvency issues
• Claims concerning rights of way and covenants
• Dilapidations and disrepair claims
• landlord and tenant - lease renewals, dilapidations, service charge disputes
• Enforcement action for breaches of covenant, including unpaid rent
• Development disputes - restrictive covenants, easements, option agreements
• Neighbour and boundary disputes including adverse possession claims
• Adverse possession
• Rights of way
• Service charge disputes
• Issues relating to social housing
• Professional negligence relating to property
CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors have acted in many Planning Agreements under Article 40 of the 1996 Planning Order. Under the 2011 Planning Act planning agreements remain an important part of delivering sustainable planning. A Planning Agreement under section 76 of the 2011 Act will often be used where a large scale development is to take place involving several landowners and where the Planners wish to offer a cohesive quality development providing certain agreed elements of infrastructure. The infrastructure can, for example, include the provision of lands for a school, community hall or local recreation facilities; the provision of public transport to serve the proposed development and the provision of satisfactory long term maintenance of open space which the developers will be required to provide as part of the Planning Approval.
Such arrangements are likely to include detailed negotiation and the preparation of agreements with Planners, The Council responsible, Transport NI and in addition the local education authority and perhaps a local authority who will provide landscaping and open space maintenance.
In addition relations between the various landowning parties must be negotiated and agreed and a Side Agreement will be required so that each party is compensated appropriately for any disadvantage affecting them as a result of the location of the required infrastructure. The Side Agreement will further provide for the granting of mutual rights and for the contribution to various costs and expenses for delivery of the common infrastructure elements.
We have considerable experience in the following fields:
• Negligence and Nuisance
• Public Sector Housing Disputes
• Product Liability
• Construction Disputes including Alternative Dispute Resolution
• Company and Partnership Disputes
• Debt and Re-possession
CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors has considerable experience assisting local, national and international businesses with legal debt recovery in both the High Court and County Court in Northern Ireland and in the UK and Europe. By means of our international network of law firms, we can also accept instruction in relation to debt collection matters throughout the rest of the world and can co-ordinate worldwide recovery proceedings.
We provide a specialised, professional quality debt recovery service for general debt matters from first instruction through to final enforcement which helps us a high degree of success. We also provide an efficient agency service for law firms outside this jurisdiction who seek specialist assistance with recovery of debts within this jurisdiction.
We are acutely aware of your priority to maximise debt recovery while keeping costs down and our efficient computerised case management system overseen by an experienced debt recovery partner means that you know that you will receive pragmatic and timely advice at each stage of the debt recovery process.
Our dedicated debt recovery department provides you with a single point of contact for advice and assistance on all aspects of recovery and enforcement on continuous or one off basis.
At CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors we particularly specialise in:
• Pre-Action Collection which includes issuing a letter before action requesting payment within a set period.
• County Court/High Court Proceedings which includes issuing proceedings, dealing with any response to those, entry of default judgement and subsequent best advice on the most suitable way in enforcing any judgement obtained.
• Bankruptcy is a measure of last resort relating to the recovery of debts from an individual. The word Insolvency is used in relation to the measure of last resort for the recovery of debts from a limited company. Bankruptcy and insolvency generally apply to higher value debts. If a Statutory Demand is required, we will issue the Demand and subsequent Petition, advertise the Petition where appropriate and attend court on hearing of the Petition.
• Defend Actions. If the debtor files a defence to a debt recovery action we will evaluate the strength of the defence and give you an early indication of the costs you are likely to incur. mindful of your best interests and with a view to minimising the costs incurred by you in recovery and enforcement we may suggest alternative courses of action. If no alternative courses of action are appropriate we will provide full advice with regard to the future progress of the case and a clear indication of the likely costs incurred in pursuing the matter to conclusion.
Because our computerised debt recovery system has been designed specifically in house, we are able to manage, track and report on the progress of bulk instructions quickly and effectively. Clients are updated at every step of the process and are provided with clear advice and the best options available for maximising recovery, but also taking into account the associated costs.
Our licensing lawyers have long experience in advising in this complex area of Law. From small local bars to pub operators, members clubs and restaurants, we have expertise in advising clients on the full range of licensing matters including renewals and transfer of existing licences to new licensing applications and strategic advice on contested licensing applications.
In relation to liquor licensing we advise clients who seek to transfer existing licenses and obtain new licences to sell alcohol either on or off premises. We also advise licence on the steps and stages to comply with licensing legislation and how to extend their opening hours.
Licensing requirements are quite frequently inter-related with property issues, and our licensing and property lawyers work closely together across these disciplines to ensure a full and integrated service for clients.
CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors, Belfast and North Down have an expert team of dedicated and specialist housing lawyers with extensive experience in advising a major housing authority/government department in relation to social housing in addition to commercial and private landlords. We advise in relation to litigation issues including:
• Possession claims - on all grounds against all types of occupier
• Shared owner and leaseholder disputes and breaches of lease
• Judicial review
• Planning and public enquiries in relation to housing matters
• Defending and pursuing personal injuries and fatal accidents cases involving public sector housing and private landlords where complex legal rules apply.
18 May Street
t: 028 9023 4606
f: 028 9032 6578
3 Market Street
t: 028 9145 7911
f: 028 9145 0679
Brian H Speers
Julie Ann Osborne