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Mischa Balen
“extremely hardworking and bright”.
Legal 500

Mischa Balen

Mischa is ranked as a leading junior in the field of professional negligence by The Legal 500, where he is described as “extremely hardworking and bright”.

Mischa specialises in commercial disputes with an emphasis on construction and engineering, infrastructure, shipbuilding and professional liability disputes. Mischa has particular experience of international construction disputes 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.

In England, Mischa acted in Accolade Wines Limited v GJ3 and GJ4 Limited (featured as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2014) and, in the professional negligence field, Wellesley Partners LLP v Withers LLP [2015] EWCA Civ 1146, a leading case on the rules of remoteness in contract and tort.

Mischa previously taught law at King’s College London.

CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE Open concertina Open concertina

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).

Recent instructions include:

  • Acting on behalf of a major contractor in an adjudication concerning delay in the completion of a large office space in central London for a multi-national technology company (NEC3).
  • Acting in an adjudication arising from disputes over airport runway extension and re-surfacing works under an NEC3 contract, involving expert delay and quantum analysis (NEC3).
  • Acting on behalf of an employer in an adjudication concerning a final account dispute for high-specification refurbishment works at a residential home in central London (JCT/MW).

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

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION: TECHNOLOGY & CONSTRUCTION Open concertina Open concertina

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 (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 Open concertina Open concertina

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 is ranked as a leading junior in professional negligence by The Legal 500 (2017) and was also ranked as a leading junior by The Legal 500 in 2016.

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 issues in the Court of Appeal included the rules on remoteness in cases of concurrent liability in contract and tort, and the assessment of damages for loss of a chance.

ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND UTILITIES Open concertina Open concertina

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.

TRANSPORT Open concertina Open concertina

Mischa is regularly instructed to advise employers and contractors on disputes arising from rail, road and airport projects, including the construction and operation of railways, road-building and strengthening, and airport re-developments.

COMMERCIAL AND CHANCERY Open concertina Open concertina

Mischa maintains a general commercial practice, in particular in relation to sale of goods and supply of services cases.

Mischa is also familiar with commercial landlord and tenant law. He has acted and advised in relation to the renewal of business tenancies under Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and he has advised on the enforceability and meaning of leasehold covenants, break clauses, and rent review clauses.

OTHER INFORMATION Open concertina Open concertina

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 Open concertina Open concertina

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