Setfords Consultant Solicitor, Brinder Khara, Appointed Judge at the World’s First Sikh Court in London

Judges of The Sikh Court were sworn in at The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn on the 20th April. Brinder Khara, a Consultant Solicitor at Setfords, had the honour of being appointed as a Judge of world’s first Sikh Court.

The court was set up by Sikh lawyers who felt courts lacked the religious and cultural expertise and resources to deal with disputes between Sikhs due to the pressure they were under.

The Sikh Court offers an alternative way to resolve civil disputes, including family issues pertaining to separation, children, finances as well as other civil matters. The Sikh Court utilises a “med-arb” process, which combines mediation with arbitration. This allows parties to attempt an amicable resolution through mediation, but also provides a guaranteed outcome through arbitration if mediation fails. It will operate in accordance with the Arbitration Act 1996 and, as such sits within the English Legal framework.

Brinder expressed her honour at the appointment, stating, “The appointment as a Judge of The Sikh Court is a truly humbling honour and one of the greatest achievements of my career. It grants me the opportunity to utilise my education, skills and experience to serve and support the community.”

The Sikh Court addresses several challenges faced by the Sikh community in resolving disputes. Traditional court proceedings can be expensive, time-consuming, and at times public, deterring some community members from seeking legal recourse. The Sikh Court offers a more familiar and culturally sensitive environment, with Judges who will operate within the jurisdiction of the English Courts, understand Sikh principles and speak fluent Punjabi.

Benefits for the Community and the Legal System

The Sikh Court not only benefits the Sikh community by providing a more accessible forum for dispute resolution, but it also helps ease the burden on the already overwhelmed court system. By handling civil disputes, the Sikh Court frees up valuable resources for the traditional court system to focus on more complex cases.

A Groundbreaking Initiative

The Sikh Court is a groundbreaking initiative in the UK’s legal landscape. It serves as a model for how alternative dispute resolution forums can be tailored to specific communities, promoting access to justice and fostering cultural understanding within the legal system.

Brinder’s appointment as Judge is a significant milestone for UK law and a testament to her dedication to serving the Sikh community.

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