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Mischa Balen barrister at Atkin Chambers

Mischa Balen


Call 2011

"He is fiercely intelligent and works with the speed and efficiency of a barrister many years beyond his call."


Legal 500

Mischa specialises primarily in international commercial disputes with an emphasis on construction and engineering, infrastructure, shipbuilding and professional liability. Mischa has particular experience of international construction arbitration concerning projects in the Middle East and Asia, having spent time working in both Dubai and Seoul.

Recent experience includes acting (unled) on behalf of a member of a contractor consortium in a three week ICC arbitration concerning the termination of a major rail project in Asia, with a value of over €300 million, and acting as junior counsel to Stephanie Barwise QC on the independent review commissioned by Persimmon Homes.

Mischa is ranked as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Recent recommendations include: “Tremendously hard-working, intelligent, very responsive and user-friendly. He punches above his weight – a star of the future I am sure”, “A standout junior and one to watch. His chief strength is the intellectual contribution he makes – in this he is superb, bolstering the client’s case. Mischa is adept at tackling tricky disputes and getting straight to the meat of the issue”, “He is thoughtful and analytical” and “Extremely hardworking and bright”.

CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING & INFRASTRUCTURE

LITIGATION

Mischa is ranked as a leading junior in construction by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Chambers & Partners describes him as “A highly touted junior who is developing a superb construction practice, which sees him handle a range of contractual and professional negligence claims. He acts on behalf of employers and contractors and is proficient in international arbitration in addition to litigation.”

Mischa’s experience in the construction litigation field includes advising on contractual entitlements to loss and expense, and extensions of time under bespoke and standard form contracts, advising on the suspension and termination of works, and advising on the recoverability of damages for breach of contract.

Mischa has been instructed in relation to several of the largest construction disputes in the past few years, including:

  • Accolade Wines Limited v GJ3 and GJ4 Limited, VolkerFitzpatrick Limited, Keller Limited, Twintec Limited (featured as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2014): Acting on behalf of the defendant piling sub-contractor in a dispute relating to the construction of a warehouse in South West England: the case settled part way through trial.
  • CIP Property (AIPT) Limited v Galliford Try Infrastructure Limited: Acting and advising in relation to claims brought under an assigned warranty concerning defects with a large mixed use development, involving building engineering and mechanical and electrical expert evidence.
  • Obrascon Huarte Lain SA v Her Majesty’s Attorney General for Gibraltar [2014] EWHC 1028 (TCC): Assisting in the preparation for trial of a dispute concerning the termination of a contract for the construction of a large public works project under a modified FIDIC contract.

Mischa also has experience acting and advising in relation to domestic building disputes, including claims under the JCT Minor Works Contract and Federation of Master Builders Contract, drafting particulars of claim for payment on behalf of contractors and drafting defences and counterclaims on behalf of employers.

ADJUDICATION

Mischa’s experience in adjudication includes acting and advising in relation to claims for payment, claims for loss and expense, and extensions of time (including cases involving expert delay analysis, advising both employers and contractors on the merits and procedure of adjudication, and advising on the enforcement of adjudication awards).

Mischa is an accredited TECBAR adjudicator and welcomes instructions to act as an adjudicator.

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION: TECHNOLOGY & CONSTRUCTION

Mischa has particular experience of acting for clients in connection with arbitrations arising out of disputes in the Middle East.

He has acted for clients in relation to projects throughout the region, including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Recent work includes:

  • Acting on behalf of a consortium member in a joint venture dispute arising from the construction of a power plant in the Middle East (SIAC Rules, Singapore Seat).
  • Acting on behalf of a construction manager in a claim arising from a billion-dollar multi-use development in the Caucuses (ICC Rules, London Seat).
  • Acting (unled) in a three week arbitration on behalf of a member of a contractor consortium in an arbitration concerning the termination of a major rail project in Asia, with a value of over €300 million (ICC Rules, Zurich Seat).
  • Acting in a five-day arbitration for a fit-out subcontractor in its claim for loss and expense against the main contractor responsible for renovating a luxury hotel in Azerbaijan (ICC Rules, Zurich Seat).
  • Acting on behalf of a Korean contractor in a defects dispute surrounding the operation of a processing plant in Qatar (ICC Rules, Seoul Seat).
  • Acting on behalf of a contractor in a dispute with its structural façade consultant concerning the design and construction of a research facility in Saudi Arabia (LCIA Rules, London Seat).
  • Acting on behalf of a contractor in a delay and disruption dispute by its tank farm subcontractor in connection with an oil production facility (LCIA Rules, London Seat).

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

Mischa is ranked as a leading junior in professional negligence by the Legal 500 (2020) and was also ranked as a leading junior in 2019, 2017 and 2016.

Mischa has experience acting and advising in relation to professional liability, particularly where it has a construction or engineering component, including advising, drafting statements of case and dealing with expert architectural, engineering and quantum evidence.

Mischa acted as junior counsel in Wellesley Partners LLP v Withers LLP [2015] EWCA Civ 1146; [2014] EWHC 556 (Ch) on behalf of the successful executive search firm claimant in a nine day trial against a firm of City solicitors arising from the drafting of a partnership agreement. The Court of Appeal decision is one of the leading cases on the rules of remoteness in contract and tort.

ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES & UTILITIES

Mischa has experience advising on disputes arising from the construction, commissioning and operation of power plants, wind farms, and oil and gas facilities and pipelines.

Recent work includes:

  • Advising an energy supplier on the meaning and effect of its leasehold covenants in respect of the lease of a wind farm.
  • Advising the main contractor in relation to the performance of a combined heat and intelligence plant.
  • Advising the employer in relation to disputes arising out of the construction and performance of a biomass CHP plant under a bespoke contract.
  • Advising the employer in a dispute surrounding the operation of a nuclear power plant.

APPOINTMENTS & PUBLICATIONS

APPOINTMENTS

  • Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Supervisor, MSc Construction Law, King’s College London (2016 to present)
  • Non-Stipendiary Tutor in Law, Regent’s Park College, Oxford University (2012 to 2013)
  • Tutor and Examiner in Law, King’s College London (2010 to 2011)

PUBLICATIONS

Mischa is a Contributing Editor to Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts (Sweet & Maxwell, 13th edn, 2016).

Mischa frequently writes journal articles for legal publications. His work has been published in the LMCLQ, the Construction Law Journal and the King’s Law Journal.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • 2011: Called to the Bar of England and Wales (Gray’s Inn)
  • 2009-2010: BCL (Master’s in Law), St John’s College, Oxford, Distinction
  • 2006-2009: BA (Law), Pembroke College, Cambridge, Double First

RECOMMENDATIONS

“Tremendously hard-working, intelligent, very responsive and user-friendly. He punches above his weight – a star of the future I am sure.”
“A standout junior and one to watch. His chief strength is the intellectual contribution he makes – in this he is superb, bolstering the client’s case. Mischa is adept at tackling tricky disputes and getting straight to the meat of the issue.”
Construction, Chambers & Partners 2020

“He is thoughtful and analytical.”
Construction and Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2020

“He is fiercely intelligent and works with the speed and efficiency of a barrister many years beyond his call.”
Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2019

“Extremely hardworking and bright.”
Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2017

“One to watch.”
Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2016