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Tony Allen has handled well over 300 mediations during his career and is regarded as a pioneer in mediating and developing mediation for personal injury, clinical negligence, professional indemnity and insurance claims in which he is widely regarded as pre-eminent. He is also praised for his work on commercial claims where he regularly works on disputes related to numerous sectors particularly banking, construction, partnerships and property. Disputes involving public law and judicial review, claims against the police and prison services, abuse of minors and adults with health and learning difficulties also form a significant part of Tony’s impressive practice.
Many of Tony’s cases involve international parties, particularly commercial travel disputes, and he has mediated in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, where he is one the few English mediators on CEDR Ireland’s panel. Tony is also highly regarded for his work on employment cases (especially workplace stress), wills and family trusts disputes. He has designed and mediated several high profile group litigation claims.
Tony was a full-time CEDR Director for 11 years, having previously been Dispute Resolution head in a Sussex solicitors’ firm for over 25 years, where he represented many clients at mediations.
An experienced member of the Court of Appeal Mediation Scheme panel, Tony also trains mediators internationally and writes extensively on ADR and civil procedure. His book Mediation Law and Civil Practice was published by Bloomsbury Professional in September 2013. In 2010, he was awarded the Lord Slynn Memorial Prize for his contribution to the development of mediation in the UK. He combines his career as a mediator with training for CEDR, which has taken him all around the UK, Europe, the Middle and Far East, Africa and the USA.
- A sale of goods claim over quality and delivery of medical equipment by a manufacturer to a wholesaler; settled at a 9-hour mediation.
- A dispute between a bank and a trade customer over the enforcement of a guarantee for £250,000: settled after a day’s mediation.
- Claims by householders in product liability for supplying infested pet food leading to structural damage to their house: settled after a day’s mediation.
- A dispute over a multi-million pound share sale agreement in which a US purchaser company alleged corrupt payments made by an employee and condoned by the UK vendor, who was dismissed and then counterclaimed for non-payment of sums due and wrongful dismissal; adjourned pending a criminal court hearing and later settled once criminal proceedings were dropped.
- A claim by a supplier for breach of contract in respect of delivery of signage on its UK sites against a multinational company, involving complex calculations over stock valuation and damages and difficult procedural implications in default of settlement; issues narrowed but not settled, despite considerable follow-up
- A dispute between two companies over allegedly improper use of confidential information in a customer database, following search and seizure proceedings and an injunction claim: involved subsequent determination by the mediator of each party’s rights after detailed comparative review of each company’s client lists
- A dispute between a large travel company and former employees over alleged breach of covenant in restraint of trade and breach of confidence
- A claim for breach of contact between art dealers over the right to sell a valuable work of art
Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence
Tony is an expert in the field of personal injury, clinical negligence and related professional indemnity claims and has mediated over 180 such cases. Nearly 90% of these settle on or shortly after the mediation day. These cases have ranged from telephone mediations of fast-track claims for schemes devised by him for insurance companies to multi-million pound injury and dependency claims and group litigation cases.
Recognised as a market leader in these sectors for twelve years or more, having been one of the first mediators in the UK to mediate such cases. Tony was one of the mediators in the NHS Pilot mediation scheme in 1997-8. When in private practice he encouraged both claimant and defendant clients in such cases to use mediation for the first time, and became a very effective advocate for clients within mediation. He has experience of the heaviest catastrophic cases, and is at ease with complex schedules and expert reports, future loss calculations, periodical payments, provisional damages cases, and with medico-legal issues. More importantly he recognises the need for the parties themselves (whether claimant or defendant) to derive benefit from engagement in the process, whether to assuage strong feelings about having been injured or (in the case of clinicians) about being the subject of professional criticism, whether or not justified. He is used to exploring the possibility of finding imaginative solutions to claims in terms of both process and also of outcomes beyond what the courts can deliver.
- A claim seeking damages for the expense and loss of elective amputation of a painful, unsightly and largely functionless forearm when psychologically but not clinically required
- Clinical cases involving heart surgery, anaesthetics, orthopaedic surgery, spinal injury developing while under clinical care, late diagnosis of cancer, birth injury including cerebral palsy and gynaecological claims by mothers, dentistry, paediatrics, gastric surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, tropical medicine, psychiatrics and general practice
- A £2 million claim based on alleged failure to obtain informed consent to an orthopaedic procedure which gave rise to massive and life-threatening complications and involved a claim for very substantial business losses
- The Retained Organs litigation. Tony consulted all parties over its design and mediated quantum and costs in the National Organ Group Litigation action after judgment on liability
- Dependency claims arising from deaths while in care of healthcare professionals, often involving painful but open and constructive encounters between family and clinicians, explanations and apologies, reassurance of amended practice as well as compensation, often involving complex inheritance issues
- A claim (mediated in Ireland) by the mother of a premature baby who lost her sight allegedly as the result of negligence by her paediatrician: settled in a day
- A dependency claim by a family over the suicide of a father who was confronting both depression and alcoholism: settled in a day
- A multi-million claim for catastrophic infant injury for a minor who transferred residency to the US, involving consideration of the effects of US healthcare reform, and the right approach for compensation and recovery of outlay where care might be funded by a US provider: settled in a day
- A claim in South Africa for injury to a minor by a radiologist performing a barium X-ray which had proceeded for over 3 years: settled in 3 hours involving a rapprochement between family and doctor which had been prevented by the litigation.
- Claims based on alleged negligence over carbon monoxide poisoning
- Claims by Kenyan tribes people against the MoD in relation to injuries caused by unexploded ordnance after military training
- Multi-party holiday food poisoning claims, including complex generic and individual costs issues
- Multi-party claims arising from a chemical spillage causing allegedly widespread injury
- A dependency claim for just under £12 million in respect of the death of a rail passenger; settled after 3 days mediation.
- A claim for just over £11 million in respect of a high earner catastrophically injured in a road accident: settled within 5 weeks of mediation.
- A claim by the joint managing director of a company on whose premises he sustained serious injuries but who had moved to the Far East for recuperation and a fresh start; settled in 8 hours.
- A claim in respect of injuries sustained by an Australian national whilst on a Danish oilrig in the South China Sea; claim later not proceeded with.
- A claim by a foreign national child against his father for dependency arising out of the death of his mother in an accident in Belgium: issues narrowed, leading to later settlement on terms available at the mediation.
- A claim by an English agent against a mining company for alleged breach of their duty of care in protecting him from receiving gunshot wounds when carrying out work for them in South America: settled in a day.
- Claims by a married couple against a holiday company and a foreign airline over a plane crash in Africa, involving Warsaw Convention and Package Holiday Regulation issues; issues narrowed and settled after the mediation on terms close to those which emerged at the mediation.
- A claim arising out of a road accident in Dubai
- A claim arising from a catastrophic accident on an oil installation in Scotland, requiring mediation in Scotland between a Scottish pursuer and a multi-national company and its non-UK insurers: settled shortly before a further procedural appeal three weeks after the mediation for a substantial seven-figure sum which had emerged at the mediation.
- Claims by eight adult former pupils against the Governors of a school in respect of proven abuse inflicted on them by a former headmaster when children of up to 13 years; settled in a day's mediation.
- A claim in England for lost earnings as a miner in Australia as a result of an English workplace accident, the mediation being conducted with the claimant on Skype.
- A number of illness claims arising out of holiday travel
Employment & Workplace
- Effective intervention in a dysfunctional working relationship between two senior academic executives, who had found it difficult to communicate over many months, resulting in a high degree of harmony between them (no proceedings: settled in a day and reviewed in succeeding months)
- A number of workplace stress claims, including mediations involving police officers, senior insurance company executives, and school-teachers, mostly settled on the mediation day
- A dispute between a consultant surgeon and an NHS Trust over the terms of his return to work following protracted suspension and disciplinary proceedings; issues narrowed but overtaken by events before settlement agreed after a mediation over 2 days.
- Cases involving undercover operatives and alleged breaches of their terms of employment by public law enforcement agencies: details confidential, but settled before trial.
- A claim by a senior employee of a multi-national company disciplined for misconduct alleging stress as a result of a mishandled disciplinary process, and seeking reinstatement in a previous job and compensation: settled in a day.
- Claims where an owner of a business was in effect suing his own company (and thus its insurer) for substantial compensation (settled in a day’s mediation)
- A dispute between major insurers and credit hirer providers
- Significant claims against police forces arising out of deaths in custody, fatal road accidents, stress and vicariously for a sexual assault by one office on a female office (plus claims for malicious prosecution on a murder charge, false imprisonment and harassment).
- A claim arising out of a serious assault on a Category A prisoner by other prisoners – the mediation was conducted in a high security prison (settled at a day’s mediation)
Professional Negligence/Professional Indemnity Claims
Tony is well respected for his experience in the professional indemnity field. Inevitably he is in demand for dealing with claims alleging negligence in the conduct of personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
- A claim by a client against a solicitor for over £200,000 for alleged breach in complying with an undertaking over the delivery of a debt; settled at a day’s mediation.
- A claim against solicitors and barristers for negligent conduct of a criminal defence as a result of which the claimant was imprisoned until successful appeal: settled two days after a day’s mediation.
- A claim against solicitors for negligently failing to check planning restrictions when acting on a commercial conveyancing transaction; settled at a day’s mediation
- A claim for over £300,000 against former solicitors for failing to protect their client over a property fraud: settled soon after mediation.
- Claims against psychiatrists for alleged negligence over patient suicide
- Alleged solicitor’s negligence arising during an appeal mediation
- A claim for omitting a bequest of the main estate asset (a house ) to the daughter of the deceased testator
Having developed training schemes for lawyers in government, Tony has considerable understanding of the particular dimensions of disputes in the public law arena.
- Disputes between a tribunal and persons wrongly named in its published report, giving rise to the risk of community reprisals, and consequent compensation; settled after a day’s mediation.
- A dispute between a regulator and a supervised services supplier over alleged unequal treatment between supervisees, requiring detailed understanding and application of the statutory provisions of the regulatory scheme involved. Settled.
- A claim by an asylum-seeker in respect of a forcible deportation, involving injury compensation alleged breach of human rights and a negotiated extension of a temporary right to remain
- Claims by minor asylum-seekers found to have been wrongfully detained in secure centres for adults
- Several disputes between care home providers and local authorities over financial arrangements
- A claim by an asylum-seeker over an official’s allegedly improper handling of her application
- Judicial review sought against the Local Government Ombudsman over its maladministration review of its de-selection by a local authority: settled at mediation
- A dispute over the implementation of the terms of a dissolution of a partnership; settled shortly after a day’s mediation.
- Dispute between dentists requiring dissolution of their partnership and asset division. Settled after a day’s mediation.
- Post-dissolution dispute between accountants involving allegations of fraud and misrepresentation, requiring re-negotiated terms: settled at a day’s mediation
- A dispute between a retiring and continuing solicitor in partnership over terms of retirement and the validity of a termination notice.
- A dispute between shareholders in a clinic where the business was doing well but trust had apparently broken down between several directors and shareholders: after discussing how to continue, the sale of two shareholdings to the remaining two directors and shareholders was agreed during the day.
Trusts, Wills and Probate
- Dispute between brothers over where to bury their late father’s ashes, which had held up even an interim distribution of the estate for several years. Highly emotional case in which no direct personal communication between all the brothers was tolerable. Agreed terms emerged after 11 hours of mediation, although they never met at any point during the day.
- Dispute between family members over rights to properties held within a family company and said to be subject to rights of occupation for some family members contested by others. Not settled.
Tony has considerable experience of designing ADR processes and schemes, having been responsible for the redesign in 2003 of the Court of Appeal Mediation Scheme, as well as being an experienced mediator of appeal cases. He was also responsible for designing the mediation pilot for resolving second stage NHS complaints commissioned by the Healthcare Commission in 2005, and the complex mediation process that led to the settlement of the retained organs group litigation.
Much process design involves skilled intuitive appreciation of the needs of the parties particular to them and the nature of their dispute, with responses based on a wide range of experience and flexibility of thinking. Tony has deployed the whole gamut of process options ranging from mediations which take place wholly in joint meetings to cases where the parties never meet at any time, with a widely varied mix of private and joint meetings in between. He takes full responsibility for proposing process options but remaining sensitive to the wishes and needs of the parties.
Tony was appointed to the Court of Appeal Mediation Scheme panel in 2003, and has conducted a number of such specialised cases in the personal injury and clinical negligence sectors, particularly over reviews of liability and apportionment of liability between parties and appeals over procedural defects.
Tony brings flexibility of thought and experience to ensure that the process is suited to the needs of each individual case, and will always be alive to the possibility of new approaches in making resolution possible. He also tries to bring a light touch to the most sensitive and emotional of cases without in any way detracting from the seriousness of the cause of the dispute or the difficulties in resolving it, thus helping parties to cope with often profoundly painful matters constructively and thus to make closure possible at all levels. He is experienced in handling cases with an apparently serious imbalance of power between the parties, and is used to handling highly charged and emotional disputes.
He has developed particularly effective negotiating techniques for dealing with bargaining over financial compensation by using confidential communication with each party over modifications to their disclosed positions so as to ascertain true gaps, and deploying that knowledge to assist parties to bridge even substantial differences with minimal loss of face. Such techniques have closed gaps as large as £9 million.
Feedback – Directories
- "Authoritative but courteous," Allen is a firm favourite for personal injury and clinical negligence mediations. Instructing solicitors are full of praise for his "smoothing manner in multiparty cases," noting that he "effectively works his way through seemingly irresolvable disputes."
- Allen remains an extremely highly regarded mediator with expertise in personal injury, clinical negligence and public law disputes. He also handles a number of commercial disputes, especially where there is an insurance element. Interviewees say he is "a wonderful mediator, loved by clients and very personable and congenial."
- Tony Allen of CEDR Solve is a mediator of rare qualities. He has a ‘warm, avuncular style’ and radiates ‘commitment’ and ‘calm’. While handling various types of dispute, his experience in practice makes him one of the go-to mediators for complex personal injury and clinical negligence disputes.
- “acts on an array of personal injury and clinical negligence matters. Praised by instructing solicitors, he is noted for his amenable client-facing manner and his great communication skills.”
Extracts from Chambers & Partners Guide to the Legal Profession and The Legal 500
Feedback – Clients
- “Excellent, absolutely excellent. He had just the right approach and did a splendid job”
- “His reputation precedes him and he was able to live up to it on the day”
- “Tony did it again! Mediation at its best”
- “Tony inspired confidence in the process…he understands the mediation game and plays it well”
- “Tony was very sharp. He really knew what he was talking about and was quick to pick up the main issues. He was approachable and highly competent”
- “Tony was brilliant. We were very impressed with the way he analysed issues and reconciled people’s concerns”
- “Tony could talk on the level with QCs and equally with clients. His attention to detail was amazing”
- “Tony is an affable, relaxed and friendly man. But he can be firm and evaluative when he needs to be”
- “Good rapport with all sides and especially the client… grasped the issues very quickly”
- “Tony worked very hard. He took a robust and challenging approach which was right and proper in this case”
- “It was quite clear that he had come to terms with the issues and assimilated a large amount of information in a short space of time. He dealt with the mediation in a logical and well thought-out way”
- “It was a classic case where a sensible mediator, thoroughly prepared and with exactly the right touch, made (perhaps) all or (certainly) much of the difference between achieving and not achieving a sensible compromise”
- “He always has a very good grasp of all the technical issues and is able to deal with the broader picture. He is very personable and his style is always just right. His knowledge both from a legal point of view and of the mediation process is first rate”
- “absolutely the best mediator I’ve come across.”
- “very pro-active - not proactive though in trying to influence anyone”
- I would definitely be happy to use Tony “again and again and again”!
- ….this case [which] involved virtually everything that makes litigation difficult to settle: high emotional levels, a challenging/forceful counsel (in at least one case), insurance parties operating behind the scenes, and settlement efforts being initiated only in the late stages of litigation after each side had invested heavily in the dispute. Not only was Tony at home and at ease in navigating this minefield, he was superbly capable of putting the parties themselves at ease and helping them overcome these barriers.”
- “Tony did it again! Mediation at its best”
- Claimant lawyer: Tony was very good at engaging [my] client: he made her feel the mediation was about her and that her views were listened to and taken seriously – she “had her say”
- Defendant lawyer in the same case: Tony Allen was excellent and handled the issues very well. It was a case that had to be settled but [I] wasn’t optimistic going into the mediation as the parties were so far apart in both quantum and the issues involved. He would most certainly have gone to court had the mediation not reached settlement. Tony handled the defendant, a surgeon, extremely well with the right level of sensitivity to the fact that he was reluctant to pay anything, given he felt he’d done nothing wrong.
- He “understood issues – well prepared, good deft touch – dealt with everyone appropriately. The claimants were there which made things very emotional at times and Tony was very good at managing this. Realistic; facilitative; clearly thinking about the issue as he was bringing up points that even their QC hadn’t thought of.”
- A claimant: Tony gets 12 out of 10 in my book. At the end honour was satisfied. I I thought he was very friendly and open. Tenacious! The most energetic and enthusiastic mediator I have ever come across from the beginning to the very end! I would use him again and recommend him as well. I honestly couldn’t hold him in higher esteem.
- Defendant lawyer in the same case: “absolutely excellent! He was definitely the best mediator I’ve come across. He took a very pro-active role He really earned his money. A lot of mediators just seem to sit there. He was very pro-active - not proactive though in trying to influence anyone”
- We have used him two or three times before and would recommend him to anyone. I actually didn’t think this mediation would settle but it did! I guess it was thanks to him.
- Client in employment facilitation: Tony took time to be fully briefed but did not allow that briefing to “paralyse” his efforts at mediation, i.e. he did not assume that what he knew rules out various possibilities. He managed to get two very intransigent people, whose relationship appeared almost irreparably to have broken down, both to respond positively to mediation and each other and to come up with a way forward that I was very agreeably surprised to find. He was clearly extremely skilled at bringing out the best of both these individuals . mentoring and coaching by an earlier consultant who I rated highly simply failed to get anything like the response that Tony secured.
- Party in the same case: Tony really gripped the issues and the peripheral difficulties that had prevented an in-house solution to the problems. He thoroughly demonstrated an invaluable insight into what makes individuals tick, and his use of shuttle diplomacy between the injured parties was a master stroke. Thank you for bringing sunshine back to the workplace.
- Claimant’s solicitor in a clinical claim: “… a very experienced mediator who was well prepared: very good with the family as it involved a fatal case – [he] made the family feel like [the] main focus.
- Defendant’s solicitor in the same case: [he] got on well with the claimant’s family. Without him it wouldn’t have settled…. A lot of experience and well regarded.”
Tony qualified as a solicitor in 1969 after reading law at Pembroke College Cambridge, and joined Bunkers, Solicitors of Brighton & Hove where he was Head of Dispute Resolution for over 25 years.
During his career there, he has variously practised in the fields of personal injury and insurance (acting for both claimants and defendants), clinical negligence, childcare, commercial, landlord and tenant, criminal and civil advocacy and general litigation.
At CEDR Tony was responsible for promoting mediation in the personal injury and clinical negligence sectors (including the design of schemes); for reviewing and commenting on the place of ADR in the civil justice system; and also for relations with the judiciary and Government over ADR policy and CEDR’s responses to consultations in these areas. He is member of the Clinical Disputes Forum.
Tony’s book Mediation Law and Civil Practice, a comprehensive review of mediation’s place within the English civil justice system, was published in September 2013. He is also one of the co-authors of the third edition of : Commercial Dispute Resolution by Mackie, Marsh, Miles & Allen, published in 2007, being largely responsible for major revisions relating to the section on the law of ADR in the light of the Woolf reforms and the substantial body of case law and practice developed over the last 10 years. He also contributed a chapter to Butterworth’s Mediators on Mediation, published in August 2005. He is an authority on ADR and civil procedure and its case law and has written extensively on the subject in professional journals and spoken at conferences in the UK and many European countries. He was described in Advising and Representing Clients in Mediation by Walker and Smith as ”one of the most entertaining and perceptive commentators on the mediation scene”.
Training and lecturing experience
A member of CEDR’s internationally renowned training faculty since 1997, Tony has been responsible both for training and accrediting commercial mediators from all professional backgrounds and many nations, and also training lawyers and insurers in representing clients at mediation. He has led numerous mediator training courses for CEDR in England, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Hong Kong, South Africa, Rwanda, the USA, Sweden, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece and Malta, with delegates coming from much further afield. Both with CEDR and through the Civil Mediation Council, the Civil Justice Council and the Judicial Studies Board, he has taken a lead in developing mediation training for the judiciary, and has been involved in training for judges and lawyers in Scotland, Denmark and Pakistan. He has run many in-house courses and seminars for law firms, insurance companies, The Treasury Solicitor, and the Legal Services Commission. He is a visiting lecturer on ADR to the Cambridge University Law Faculty, and has also delivered seminars at University College, Birkbeck College and LSE, London University.
Updated: October 2014