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Judge moves Singh court case to May Fair hotel

25 November 2013 by
Judge moves Singh court case to May Fair hotel

One of the country's senior judges will this week swap the utilitarian surroundings of a courtroom used by the High Court of Justice for the five-star splendour of London's May Fair hotel, near Berkley Square.

Sir William Blackburne is taking the unusual step of relocating the trial concerning Jasminder Singh - chief executive of Radission Blu Edwardian and one of the richest Asian businessmen in Britain who is locked in a battle with his father over the family wealth - to a conference room in the hotel. This will enable the elderly father to give his evidence in more comfortable surroundings.

Bal Mohinder Singh, the father of 62-year old Jasminder Singh, claims that under Sikh tradition he is entitled to a third of the family wealth. He is due to give evidence in the trial this week but, due to ill health, he is unable to attend court.

Mr Singh, who requires 24-hour care, will instead take to the stand in a conference room at the hotel, which is planned to be arranged to resemble the layout of Court 23 at the Rolls Building.

Jasminder is said to be worth around £415m. But the court claim is said to be worth about £50m.

However, the father claims the case is not about the money, but rather about tradition and his son's failure to abide by the "Mitakshara" system from Sikh and Hindu traditions which implies a sharing of family wealth.

The judge is being asked to decide as a preliminary issue, if the family property is subject to any constructive trust under English law, and if so what the terms of such a trust were.

If he decides that such a trust is binding there would be another trial to decide how much is due, if agreement cannot be reached.

The hearing continues.

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