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(Court of Appeal; Mummery and Hughes LJJ; 13 August 2010)
Both husband and wife were of Indian origin but had lived in England throughout their marriage. Their assets were worth between £7 and £12 million. In ancillary relief proceedings the husband claimed the assets were held on behalf of the extended family (Hindu Undivided Family arrangement). The husband's brother initiated proceedings in India claiming beneficial interest in some of the assets. The husband sought an adjournment of the English ancillary relief proceedings to await the outcome of the Indian proceedings. A brief adjournment was granted by the district judge to enable the husband to obtain certain documents, but not on the basis that the English court would wait until the Indian proceedings concluded. The husband's appeal was dismissed. The husband's fresh application to adjourn was refused by judge, who instead invited the brother to intervene in the English proceedings.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the husband's appeal. Although there were powerful reasons to adjourn, it was not right to grant such a general and open ended adjournment at such a late stage in English proceedings.
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