Karen Kirkham appointed as new JCT chair

Karen Kirkham, who is a solicitor and head of construction at BDB Pitmans LLP, has been appointed the new chair of JCT. She is the first woman to hold the post.

Karen has 30 years’ experience working with JCT contracts, advising clients from all sectors of the industry. Her clients include commercial developers, occupiers, charities, local authorities, public infrastructure companies, contractors, sub-contractors, architects, and individual householders.

She has been listed as a leading construction legal practitioner in Chambers since 2008 and regularly publishes articles on topical construction issues.

Karen’s involvement and interest in JCT goes back a long way. She is a former legal director of the Construction Confederation during a key period for the industry when major legislation, including the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and Arbitration Act 1996, was being passed.

Karen Kirkham, said:

“As a committed user and advocate of JCT contracts, I am delighted to be taking up the role of JCT chair.

“I believe that the industry is facing a bracing, but also potentially exciting, few years. We need to respond to a huge number of challenges: Covid 19 and its economic aftermath, Brexit, so called ‘levelling up’ between regions and urban and rural populations, building safety after Grenfell and climate change. In responding, we also need to embrace greater diversity, new technologies and a spirit of collaboration.

“I welcome the opportunity to bring my experience to bear in leading JCT to support the industry in meeting these challenges.”

Neil Gower, JCT chief executive, said:

“Karen Kirkham has been a leading practitioner in the industry for many years, with an especially long association with JCT and its contracts.

“Karen exemplifies JCT’s values with her wide-ranging experience across multiple sectors and disciplines, her understanding of the requirements of different industry groups, and the need to bring them together for the benefit of all.

“We are delighted to announce Karen Kirkham as JCT chair, and look forward to her leadership and expertise as JCT supports the industry through the challenges ahead.”

Karen Kirkham’s tenure as JCT chair commences on 01 March 2021.