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Her Honour Frances Kirkham Atkin Chambers

Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE

Chartered Arbitrator, Adjudicator & Mediator

“Widely recognised for her contribution to law and the administration of justice”

Frances Kirkham graduated in modern languages and initially worked in banking. She qualified as a solicitor in 1978. Frances was a construction and engineering law specialist, assisting professional and corporate clients with contract formation and dispute resolution.

In 2000 Frances was appointed the Technology and Construction Court judge in Birmingham, a post she held until her retirement from the bench in 2011. During this period, Frances built up the TCC work in the Midlands, and indeed in the early years attracted significant cases away from London.

Frances case managed and tried cases not only in the TCC but also in the Chancery, Mercantile and Administrative Courts.

Frances is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a Chartered Arbitrator. Before her appointment as a judge, she acted as arbitrator in consumer and commercial disputes. While a TCC judge, Frances acted as arbitrator in a number of high value construction disputes. Since her retirement from the bench in 2011, she has acted as arbitrator in high-value construction and commercial disputes, including an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration.

Frances conducts adjudications and expert determinations. She also acts as a mediator, including in multi-party disputes, and has recently assisted parties in innovative evaluative mediations.

Frances is a Justice of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre.

Frances has been widely recognised for her contribution to law and the administration of justice, for example by the award of the CBE in 2011, the Clare Edwards award from TeCSA, honorary membership of Arbrix and the award of honorary lifetime membership of the Society of Construction Law.

Frances is available to accept appointment as arbitrator, adjudicator, mediator (evaluative, facilitative or hybrid) and expert determiner in relation to international and domestic disputes.


  • Appointed as president of an arbitral tribunal (ICC, Dubai seat). Regarding defects in relation to a metro system in the Middle East. Claims in excess of US$40million
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator (ICE Arbitration) in relation to the construction of a road and associated infrastructure located in the UK. Claim over £26million.
  • Appointed as president of an arbitral tribunal (DIAC) regarding construction works for a mixed-use development in the Middle East. Claims over AED$80million.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (ICC, Dubai seat) regarding sub-contractor claims at a mixed-use development comprising 257acres of land in the Middle East.
  • Appointed as Mediator in a dispute regarding the refurbishment and maintenance of more than 1500 properties in the north of England under a PFI agreement.
  • Successfully mediated a case arising from claims from a fire in a commercial property.
  • Appointed as Mediator in a dispute with a contractor regarding the construction of new college buildings in the north of England claim circa £4million (successful).
  • Appointed as Mediator regarding a trade agreement concerning a freight and customs brokerage contract (successful).
  • Appointed as Mediator concerning the delays in the refurbishment of a property in London under a JCT IFC contract (successful).
  • Appointed as Arbitrator concerning the defects in the design and construction of a roof of a leisure centre operated by a local authority.
  • Appointed as sole Arbitrator by the QICCA.
  • Appointed as an Expert concerning the design and delay refurbishment of a luxury development in London.
  • Appointed as co-arbitrator on an ICC dispute relating to the design and construction of a sub-sea pipeline.