Karen is a nationally recognised expert in surety law, specialising in advising on bond wordings and disputes in relation to performance bonds, indemnities and guarantees issued for construction projects.

She advises on resolving construction disputes, commercial disputes and professional negligence cases. She also has particular expertise in advising on disputes arising in relation to nuclear decommissioning projects. She has worked internationally in cooperation with clients and lawyers overseas in relation to large bonded contracts, notably shipbuilding, factories and power plants.

Karen has advised on a number of reported cases, including the leading case on performance bonds. She is a co-author of Practical Law on ‘Bonds, Guarantees and Standby Credits’.

Karen served as a Deputy District Judge for over 10 years until 2021, giving her a valuable and unique insight into how cases are viewed by the ultimate decision-maker, insight which she now brings to the table when advising her clients.

How do you help clients?

I love working with clients and helping them through issues, specifically dealing with and resolving disputes.

I particularly enjoy advising on complex, multi-party disputes. 

One of our USPs is that we strive to add value to our clients by delivering webinars and workshops which help them keep up to date with new cases, changes and developments which are relevant to them, and that’s something I’m very passionate about. This is why, in 2015, we formed the Gateley Academy for Sureties  with the aim of promoting knowledge of surety law within the surety industry. The Academy may be delivered by our own Gateley specialists or by external industry experts; our priority has always been to ensure we’re adding value. 


  1. Advising a leading surety syndicate in respect of a £400m pension bond syndication deal, drafting a bespoke new bond for this purpose.
  2. Drafting expert determination provisions to be included in performance bond wordings.
  3. Negotiating and advising on the wording of performance bonds; including advising on bespoke and unusual wordings.
  4. Advising in relation to claim on performance bond following the insolvency of the contractor where liability was not in issue but quantum was. Successfully resolved at a without prejudice meeting.
  5. Advising a contractor on a claim for Compensation Event arising under NEC3 form of contract based on ground 12 – physical ground conditions. A successful result achieved in favour of contractor at adjudication.