“The sort of advocate that most clients dream of instructing.”
The Legal 500 2016
Karen Gough specialises in construction, engineering and related professional negligence disputes; international commercial arbitration and general commercial litigation, arbitration and ADR. She represents a wide range of clients including governments, government agencies, local authorities, educational institutions, contractors, sub-contractors, and major commercial organisations. Her construction practice has included disputes concerning private domestic developments, major public works, water, sewage and power plants, hospitals, prisons, nuclear facilities, roads, sea wall defences, railway stations and infrastructure, shopping centres, factories and general commercial developments.
She has recently undertaken a number of high profile commercial disputes including Azevedo and Alvarez v Imcopa Importacao, Exportacao E Industria De Oleus Ltda and Others, concerning the legality of consent payments in corporate debt restructuring proposals; a substantial and long-running banking dispute arising out of an international commodities transaction which is currently before the Courts in Jamaica; National Housing Trust v Y P Seaton & Associates Company Limited which was an appeal before the Privy Council concerning the power of an arbitrator to award compound interest under a commercial agreement governed by Jamaican law, and a number of UK insolvency/insolvency related disputes.
She is currently the chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Insolvency Licensing Committee, being the first lay chairman of this important Recognised Professional Body for the regulation of insolvency practitioners in the UK. In April 2016 she completed a course at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and was awarded a Certificate of Legal Education and in July 2016, Karen was admitted to practise as an Attorney-at-Law in the Courts of Jamaica.
She is described in Chambers UK as being “Just the person you want if the battle is going to be hot” in construction claims and having “immense arbitral experience”, and by Legal 500 as “outstanding in her detailed and analytical grasp of her field and fearless in her protection of the client”.
She has extensive experience of domestic and international commercial arbitration, both as counsel and as arbitrator, dealing in particular with substantial international construction disputes, especially under the FIDIC forms of contract. She is a past President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; a Chartered Arbitrator; and an accredited TECBAR and CEDR adjudicator.
Karen was President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators from 2001-2002 and is recognized for her considerable experience of both domestic and international arbitration law and practice, acting as counsel or as arbitrator (the latter since 1991). In domestic arbitration she has experience with most domestic forms of arbitration rules and procedures. She has practiced in the field of international commercial arbitration (since 1987), having worked under and/or gained knowledge of the workings of the AAA, ICC, UNCITRAL, WIPO, LCIA arbitration and ADR rules and has considerable experience both of common law and civil law procedures and international arbitration law and practice.
“Very experienced and very approachable.” Chambers & Partners
In her construction and engineering practice Karen has litigated or arbitrated disputes over a period approaching 30 years under most of the recognised standard forms of building and engineering contract and she has a particular expertise in the arbitration of disputes under the FIDIC forms of construction and engineering contract.
Karen is an accredited TECBAR adjudicator and a CEDR “super adjudicator” and has undertaken a number of adjudications.
Karen has undertaken a number of high value and high profile commercial disputes both in the UK and abroad involving debt restructuring, banking and insolvency claims and she also has particular experience of claims arising from and relating to the recognition and enforcement of international arbitration awards in different jurisdictions.
Karen has also successfully conducted claims/defences in a range of general commercial matters, including banking and insolvency claims.
In her professional liability practice she has advised and/or prosecuted and defended architects, engineers, surveyors, quantity surveyors, construction management professionals, accountants and solicitors. In addition, Karen has extensive experience of advising arbitrators and parties concerning matters of conduct and procedure in commercial arbitrations (she appeared recently in the case of Cofely Limited v Bingham and Knowles , and she has expertise in the regulation of the conduct of barristers and solicitors.
Chambers & Partners
International Commercial Arbitration – Construction/Engineering
Chambers & Partners Global
“The kind of advocate that most clients dream of instructing.” Legal 500 2016
“She gives clear, concise advice, is extremely easy to deal with and has tremendous rapport with clients.” “She is good at changing the format of something with a long view.” Chambers & Partners 2016
“She provides all-round excellence through her super technical knowledge and practical approach.” Legal 500 2015
“She has superb technical knowledge, and is excellent all-round.” Legal 500 2015
“Has a wealth of experience in the construction law arena, both domestically and abroad. Offers first-rate advice and puts an emphasis on practicality.” “She’s superb with clients, achieving real understanding and empathy.” Chambers & Partners Global 2015
“Has considerable expertise in construction-related contractual disputes… Very experienced and very approachable.” Chambers & Partners 2015.
“Just the person you want if the battle is going to be hot.” Legal 500, 2014, (construction).
“Superb skills in a variety of areas and the first port of call on complex arbitration issues.”Legal 500 2014, (international arbitration).
“Offers first-rate advice and puts an emphasis on practicality.” “She’s superb with clients, achieving real understanding and empathy.” Chambers & Partners 2015
“Always impressive.” “She is utterly indefatigable.” “Offers first-rate advice and puts an emphasis on practicality.” “She’s superb with clients and achieves real understanding and empathy with clients.” Chambers & Partners 2014
Instructing solicitors are full of praise… recalling that she “instantly earned the respect of the building trade professionals who formed our interdisciplinary team.” She is “always meticulously prepared and is never caught off-guard by either counsel or arbitrator,” sources say, while others are impressed by her “immense arbitral experience.”: Chambers and Partners 2013
Construction expert Karen Gough spends much of her time acting as counsel in arbitrations and has extensive experience of a range of institutional proceedings… offers particular expertise in disputes arising from the Caribbean. Sources point to her “formidable arsenal of legal knowledge” and her “excellent advocacy skills.” Chambers & Partners 2013
Who displays ‘great knowledge and leadership’: Legal 500 2012
Is ‘outstanding in her detailed and analytical grasp of her field and fearless in her protection of the client’: Legal 500 2012
“who is always well prepared” and “effectively forceful” when in court. “A useful addition to any team,” Chambers & Partners 2011
“well versed in arbitration, current with her law and quick to analyse the relevant cases, guide the arbitrator and persuasively assert her viewpoint” Legal 500 2010
“seems to thrive on pressure and tight deadlines; she never loses sight of strategic or tactical considerations and her courtroom presence is strong and authoritative.” Chambers & Partners 2010
Construction & Engineering
Advising and appearing before an ICC tribunal to deal with matters remitted by the Privy Council in the case of NHIC v NIPDEC  UKPC 37
Advising an Airports Authority on claims arising from an airport refurbishment contract 2015-2016] on-going.
NHT v Y P Seaton & Company Associates Limited [2014-16]
Advising Jamaican company in connection with disputes arising from terminated development agreement including final account claims under a construction contract.
Y P Seaton & Associates v Housing Association of Jamaica 
Advising Jamaican company in connection with claims on final account agreements and summary judgment application.
Advising UK Health Trust on potential claims arising in connection with alleged breaches of PFI agreement.
Advising as a consultant to Trinidad and Tobago Attorneys on disputes arising in connection with a public procurement process between a government agency and substantial international developer.
Lanes Group Plc v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd  EWHC 1696 (TCC) 137 Con LR 1 also Court of Appeal  EWCA Civ 1617
Adjudication enforcement: the consequences of a refusal to serve a notice of referral.
Lanes Group Plc v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd (2012)
Arbitration of construction dispute.
Pilon Ltd v Breyer Group Plc 23 April 2010  EWHC 837 (TCC)
Adjudication enforcement – The court set out the law in relation to the enforceability of an adjudicator’s decision where he had taken an erroneously restrictive view of his jurisdiction, with the result that he decided not to consider an important element of the dispute referred to him.
(See also under Arbitration, Adjudication and ADR below).
RBTT Bank Jamaica Limited by Y P Seaton and Ors  JMSC Civ 34
Acting as international legal consultant to Jamaican group of companies in long-running litigation concerning funds seized from bank accounts of customers by predecessors to the Claimant bank in the early 1990s, Currently advising on appeal proceedings. Whether bank entitled to take money from account of customer – Allegation of overpayment – Quistclose trust – Mistaken payments – Money had and received – Abuse of process.
Ibid.  JMSC Civ. 139
Acting as international legal consultant on related and parasitic claims forspecific disclosure, compound interest, costs on the indemnity basis, interim payment on account of costs and interest on costs.
Jamaica Mortgage Bank Limited v Ebony View Limited and Ors 
Advising Jamaican clients on proceedings commenced by the Bank concerning loan agreements and guarantees.
Addestone Properties & anr v Gohil 
Proceedings for freezing injunction and claims arising from commercial loan agreement.
Azevedo and Alvarez v Imcopa Importacao, Exportacao E Industria De Oleus Ltda and Others  EWHC 1849 (Comm) & CoA.
The legality of consent payments in corporate debt restructuring proposals.
Frontera Eastern Georgia Limited v Arar Inc and Ors  Comm Ct
Commercial Arbitration, resisting enforcement of international arbitration award.
Ali Marzook Ali Bin Kamil Al Shamshi & Ors v Terna Bahrain Holding Company Wll  Comm Ct
Resisting enforcement and anti-suit proceedings and challenging international arbitration award.
Arbitration, Adjudication and ADR
Cofely Ltd v Bingham and Knowles  application to the Commercial Court to remove an arbitrator on the grounds of apparent bias, significance of the IBA guidelines on conflicts.
Acting as lead counsel in an appeal to the Privy Council from the Jamaica Court of Appeal  UKPC 43
The appeal concerns a dispute about the jurisdiction of an arbitrator to award compound interest on an award which had been upheld by the Jamaican Court of Appeal.
Party nominated arbitrator (2014)
Appointed to resolve disputes arising from a substantial construction project in Dubai under the FIDIC 1999 conditions of contract for construction and DIAC arbitration rules.
Adjudicator of disputes arising from major construction contract (2013-2014)
Acting as adjudicator appointed by TECBAR in 3 related construction adjuducations.
Counsel in substantial private adjudication proceedings (2013)
Acting as counsel for major UK company in proceedings brought by local authority concerning leged breaches of a waste management contract.
Lanes Group Plc v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd (2011-2012)
See above under “construction” acting as counsel in arbitration and adjudication proceedings arising from the termination of a construction contract.
Lead Counsel in an International Arbitration
Between a government agency in Trinidad and Tobago and contractor in US30m dispute concerning a major hospital construction project (2007-2011) (2015 – ongoing)
Acting as counsel in an International Arbitration between major Irish/Spanish JV and Employer
Concerning a major motorway upgrading scheme in the Republic of Ireland, value of some €200 million.
2009/10 Acting as an arbitrator appointed by the Government of Botswana
In a dispute between the Government and a major contractor concerning a major infrastructure project in Botswana.
2006-2008 Acting for a member of a substantial group of companies based in Turkey
Engaged in the provision of power generating facilities in Turkey in (a) a dispute with a major international construction company over an EPM contract under ICC Rules; and b) in a dispute with an Italian company in connection with a contract for the design, supply and installation of plant and equipment under CPR Rules for Non-Administered International Arbitrations 2005.
McGowan v Sense of Space Limited and Anr 
Claim for professional negligence and breach of contract brought against architects and contractors.
Gibson v L M Associates Limited 
Substantial claim for damages against a firm of architects.
Co-operative Group Limited v John Allen Associates and Ors  EWHC 2300 TCC, and Court of Appeal (2011)
Engineers design duties and ability to rely on advice from specialist sub-contractors in discharge of those responsibilities.
Charles Church Developments Ltd v Stent Foundations Ltd & Anor (2006)/(2007)  EWHC 3158 (TCC)
Engineers negligence; limitation, failure of Claimants to comply with pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes.