Paul Balen

LLB (Hons), Solicitor & Consultant at Freeths LLP, Director of Trust Mediation, Commercial Mediator

Specialisms

Dispute resolution; professional negligence including clinical negligence; product liability; personal injury; defamation; sports law, and general commercial mediation.

Mediator Paul Balen Career History

Paul was educated at Nottingham High School; obtained a First Class Honours degree in Law and was President of the University Law Society at Cambridge. He was articled at Freeth Cartwright and Sketchley solicitors in Nottingham 1975; qualified as a solicitor 1977 and became partner of what is now Freeths LLP in 1980 where for the last 10 years he has been a Consultant, currently on a part time basis.

He was President of the Nottinghamshire Law Society 2005‐6; President of the Nottinghamshire Medico‐Legal Society 2007‐8; and Secretary of APIL 1998‐2000. He was one of the first Senior Fellows of APIL and is a former Chief Assessor for the Law Society Clinical Negligence Specialist Panel.

Paul is the Editor of “Clinical Negligence” now published by Lexis Nexis, the third edition of which was published at the end of 2018. He personally contributes the chapters on inquests and on the use of ADR.

Holistic approach

Drawing on his former roles as Chairman of the board of governors of a public school and Chairman of a successful private technology company, Paul is able to combine the right balance of leadership and legal acumen, devising unique practical strategies to help resolve otherwise unbreakable deadlocks. As a solicitor Paul has long experience in advising in a wide range of complex clinical negligence and personal injury cases. He has a national reputation for the coordination of multi‐party actions and the creation of compensation/alternative dispute resolution schemes in groups of clinical negligence and medical product claims.

He was recently a group action consultant to the Freeths team involved in the successful Sub-Postmasters Group Action. His approach with clients is renown to be holistic. He has been involved in the implementation of safer procedures within the NHS through meetings with the CMO; membership of the paediatric sub-committee of the former Patient Safety Agency and through the publication of case notes, lectures and training sessions. He has been commended in judgments in both the Court of Appeal and High Court. He routinely proposes ADR resolution of his own cases. He recently received judicial approval of a multi-million pound settlement achieved after adopting a collaborative approach with the defence solicitor which resulted in settlement without any relevant court directions, adversarial discussions or expert meetings.

Mediation

Paul is able to marry inter-personal skills with business and legal acumen often devising unique practical strategies to resolve deadlocks. Since qualifying as a mediator in 2004, Paul has conducted a wide variety of mediations ranging from personal injury and clinical negligence through to probate, contract, construction, and professional negligence disputes.

He has also mediated a dispute between two national professional sports bodies and a multi-party consumer action against a “Big 5” energy supplier. He has conducted mediations between defendants involved in contribution proceedings particularly in the health care section including disputes between suppliers of medical treatment/services and equipment suppliers.

He has on occasions been requested to provide a neutral evaluation as part of the mediation process. Paul was awarded Mediator Achiever of the year at Personal Injury Awards ceremony in Manchester on 28th November 2018. He has to date conducted well over 200 mediations; been invited to lecture on mediation to a national conference of forensic accountants and has devised and participated at mediation training sessions for solicitors, doctors and insurers. Paul is also currently a director of Trust Mediation and contracts manager responsible for liaising with NHS Resolution under the NHSR Mediation scheme for which Trust Mediation is one of the two authorised providers of mediators. He is also a member of Sports Mediation, Clerksroom; Midlands Mediators; Oxford Mediation and Effective Dispute Solutions.

Legal Directories

Paul has been described in legal directories as

  • “like a dog with a bone” when given a difficult case.
  • “He’s incredibly clever and hard- working and he gets results.”
  • “He is particularly commended for his strategic thinking”.
  • He “knows what’s what,” say commentators.
  • He is famed for his “extremely professional” demeanour “and his “sensible approach to cases”.
  • Described as ‘a good all-rounder’. 
  • He has been rated as “one of the most highly rated practitioners in the country”.
  • Sources describe Paul Balen as “extremely knowledgeable, proactive, technically impressive
    and friendly.” Balen has an extensive background in various medical negligence claims,
    including group actions. He is also recognised for his activity in mediation. (Chambers 2019)

Endorsements

“Just wanted to thank you for your mediation yesterday. I have to confess I have hitherto been slightly sceptical of the value of mediation, working on the basis that 2 reasonable counsel could thrash out most issues.”

 “ I have to say I was very impressed with the way you conducted matters and would be the first to concede that I very much doubt the claim would have settled but for your input.” (Claimant’s counsel 2009)

 “ For the record I have recommended you to several clients recently – you’re a natural!” (Defendant’s mediation counsel)

He had a brilliant grasp of all of the issues and was able to make sensible suggestions throughout to facilitate settlement.”

 “He had a relaxed and informal manner and was material in assisting the parties achieve Resolution.”

 “He was material in achieving a settlement and earlier in the day than was expected”

 “Excellent mediator. Particularly emotive mediation handled well.”

Overview of experience

Mediator Paul Balen has long experience in advising in a wide range of complex litigation cases including professional, clinical negligence and personal injury cases, particularly involving medico-legal or product liability issues and also libel and slander.

He has a national reputation for the coordination of multi-party actions and the creation of compensation/alternative dispute resolution schemes in groups of claims including liaison with foreign jurisdictions.

He has a wide interest in sports law, including acting from time to time in disputes involving international sportsmen in the rugby, cricket, shooting and football fields. He has extensive experience in dispute resolution in particular in negotiating and implementing settlement schemes involving both public bodies and commercial (and international) insurers.

Mediator Paul Balen mediation experience

Paul has mediated a wide variety of mostly commercial based disputes including:

  • Contractual dispute between driving school and ex-instructor;
  • Commercial dispute over faulty servicing of laser cutting machine and counterclaim for loss due to downtime
  • Computer software contract dispute
  • Commercial dispute arising from installation of alleged faulty boiler
  • Construction contract dispute between supplier of timber frames and builder with counterclaim
  • Personal injury following assault
  • Employment dispute/dismissal of director
  • Professional negligence dispute between householder, architect and builder
  • Share valuation dispute between directors and former director/shareholder
  • Postgraduate student in dispute with University over degree award 
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