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)
“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
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.
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
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.
Paul is able to marry inter-personal skills with business and legal acumen often devising uAnique 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 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 around 150 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 panel member of Sports Mediation and Clerksroom.