First-of-its-kind UK Sikh Court set to make a difference

The alternative dispute resolution provider is set to provide the Sikh community with mediation, arbitration services. If successful, it may provide a valuable template to Sikhs elsewhere to create a similar system

0
2068
The inauguration of the Sikh Court at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in the event on April 20, 2024

By Asia Samachar | Britain |

A large number of Sikh legal professionals came together in London last week for the inauguration of the UK Sikh Court, a unique experiment at providing mediation and arbitration services to the community, a first of its kind for Sikhs globally.

The mediation court has pulled together judges, lawyers and other legal practitioners to serve as judges for the court and magistrates.

“The Sikh Court is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) based on a ‘Med-Arb’ framework, a forum created by Sikh and non-Sikh lawyers and judges from across the world to resolve disputes within the Sikh community,” said the Sikh Court chief judge Baldip Singh, an international family law barrister at the London-based law firm No 5 Chambers. He is also the chairman of the Sikhs in Law Association.

He said the initiative was meant to support the judicial system and work in tandem in dealing with disputes that currently clog up the ever growing burdened judicial system, adding that with lengthy delays in listing, the UK courts were simply understaffed and under resourced.

“The Sikh Court is a good idea so that justice can reach more people, importantly people who can’t afford it as litigation is expensive and not everyone have access,” said Gurprit Kaur Mattu, a barrister from London-based law firm N05 Chambers, who has been appointed as one of the judges. Her sister Amarjit Kaur has been appointed as a magistrate at the Sikh Courts.

If successful, the initiative may provide a valuable template to Sikhs elsewhere to create a similar system.

The appointed judges took their oath at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in the event on April 20 officiated by Judge Manpreet Singh of the United States.

The appointed judges promised declared and affirmed that they would ‘uphold the principles of justice, equality and integrity as prescribed by the teachings of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the Sikh faith’. They pledged to discharge their duties ‘without fear or favour, or ill will, and to interpret and apply the law and rules of this Court fairly and justly.’

They also accepted the responsibility to serve as an arbiter of justice within the Sikh community and broader society.

One of the key roles of the Sikh Court is to provide mediation and arbitration services, with an eye to resolving civil and family disputes within the Sikh community, thereby reducing strain on the court resources. The Sikh Court also intends to provide courses addressing mediation issues to ensure holistic resolutions. Another potential benefit of the initiative is valuing Sikh values in dispute resolution and promoting inclusivity.

“As the first such court anywhere in the world, this indeed was Sikh history in the making and another expression of Sikh sovergnty. Though there have been objections from some quarters, it was comforting to know that the whole project went ahead with the blessing/endorsement Akaal Takht Amritsar,” said Dr Gurnam Singh, Professor of Sociology at University of Warwick and an active columnist at Asia Samachar.

Baldip said: “Today, we honour our fathers and forefathers who sacrificed so much— their own happiness and health— working in factories and foundries to provide us with the education and positions we all now hold. They sowed the seeds, knowing that one day we might be able to do something for the betterment of the Sikh Panth. Today marks just one initiative that their labours have borne fruit.

Why the name Sikh Court? Explaining the rationale in an interview with the Punjab Feed, Prof Satvinder Singh Juss, a professor of law at King’s College London and a barrister-at-law in Gay’s Inn, said: “Any other name such as the Sikh Arbitration Tribunal or Sikh Mediation does not have the same resonance and meaning within the Sikh community. It operates under arbitration rules and most importantly it comes into being only if the parties agree.”

Prof Satvinder, one of the judges of the Sikh Court, is also the author of ‘The Execution of Bhagat Singh – Legal Heresies of The Raj‘.

Another Sikh Court judge Paman Singh described the Sikh Court as a ‘game changing’ initiative. “It’s something never done before. A Sikh is given the freedom to develop our professional skills now being able to give back this professional seva back to the community,” he said.

Paman is a solicitor advocate and principal associate in the employment, pensions and immigration team with Weightmans LLP.

JUDGES OF THE SIKH COURT
Baldip Singh MCIArb (CJ)
Gurbani Kaur (CMJ)
Prof. Dr. Satvinder S. Juss, FCIArb (CDL)
Sharan Bhachu (FDL)
Harjap Bhangal (IL)
Andy Hayher KC
Mani Singh Basi
Nisha Bambhra
Brinderpal K. Khara
Davinder Dhaliwal
Paman Singh
Aruna Verma
Gurprit Mattu
Tohmev Singh

ACCOCIATE JUDGES
Justice Talwant Singh (Sr. Advocate)
Andy Hayher KC
The Hon. Judge Manpreet Singh

MAGISTRATES
Amarjit Kaur
Amrique Kaur
Avtar Singh Thandi
Daljit Kaur
Dr Dalvir Kaur Gill
Dalvir Singh Panesar
Davinder S.
Dalvinder Singh
Giani Sukha Singh
Gurpreet Singh
Dr Japjit Kaur Pnaiser
Kiranjit Dhillon
Mandeep Kaur MBE
Navjot Kaur Virk
Parv Sains MBChB LLM(Med Law) MD FRCSEd
Rajvinder Kaur Gill
Sarbjit Kaur
Satnam Singh
Sachnaam Singh ACMA CGMA
Randeep Kaur Kular
Gurpreet Kaur Virdee
Kulwant Singh
Sukhdeep Singh Randhawa
Devinder Kaur
Navrup Kaur
Gursharan Kaur
Dr Simarnam Singh
Kamalpreet Kaur
Nirmaljit Singh
Tripatpal Kaur
Nimrita Bahia

REGISTRARS
Lovejoyt Singh
Sanjay Toora
Sehaj Kaur
Preetam Singh Samra
Banita Wilkhu
Mehr S.

RELATED STORY:

Sikhs in Law attends Future Flare at Smethwick (Asia Samachar, 13 Feb 2024)

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. You can leave your comments at our website, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. We will delete comments we deem offensive or potentially libelous. You can reach us via WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 or email: asia.samachar@gmail.com. For obituary announcements, click here

NO COMMENTS