Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE acts as arbitrator in high-value construction and commercial disputes. She also accepts appointments as an adjudicator and expert determiner in relation to international and domestic disputes. She also acts as a mediator (evaluative, facilitative or hybrid), including in multi-party disputes, and has recently assisted parties in innovative evaluative mediations.
Frances is widely recognised for her contribution to law and the administration of justice, for example she was awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (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 qualified as a solicitor in 1978. She 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 (TCC) judge in Birmingham, a post she held until her retirement from the bench in 2011.
During this period, she 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.
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. In 2009 Frances was appointed coroner in the Lakanal House inquest following a fire at a residential tower block in London in which six people died and over twenty were injured. 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 is a Justice of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a Chartered Arbitrator.
- 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 president in an ICC arbitration concerning a large chemical complex located in Middle East. Claims in excess of US$139million.
- 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.
- Appointed as co-arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration in respect of an EPC Contract for the construction of a recovered wood fuel chip fired power plant in the UK.
- Appointed as president in an ICC arbitration in respect of the design and construction of 2 multi use towers located in Middle East.
- Appointed as co-arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration regarding the design and construction of a data centre located in Ireland.
- Appointed as adjudicator in respect of the refurbishment of five high rise residential tower blocks. Issues concerned the defects in the design and implementation of the over cladding and external wall insulation.
- Appointed as adjudicator in connection with the construction of a prestigious 5-star hotel located in an iconic London building.
- Appointed as adjudicator in respect of delays to the redevelopment of a large property in London and the conversion from offices to 35 luxury apartments.
- Appointed as adjudicator in respect of delays to the upgrade of a major road in UK of approx. 40km.
- Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
- Chartered Arbitrator
- Justice of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre
- Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2011
- The Clare Edwards (TeCSA)
- Honorary membership (Arbrix)
- Honorary lifetime membership (Society of Construction Law)
Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE read modern languages at university.