Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE > Atkin Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Atkin Chambers
1, Atkin Building, Gray's Inn


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. In 2020 she was appointed to the UKA Panel of Adjudicators.