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The Commission for Racial Equality is taking legal action on behalf of a leading London solicitor who claims he suffered racial discrimination by a former City client.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner of London-based Zaiwalla & Co, claims that legal work was withdrawn from him because of his Indian origins.
The CRE is suing Britannia Steamship Insurance Association, one of London's largest mutual insurance clubs.
Other defendants to the CRE action are Tindall Riley, the company which manages the insurance club and a Tindall Riley employee.
Zaiwalla is also taking legal action himself. The CRE will see a successful result as a deterrent that would have wide impact in the City.
Makbool Javaid, the lawyer acting for the CRE, says: "This is a significant and rare case which highlights discrimination in a well-established, traditional sector of the City - in the heart of the business world."
The defendants deny the allegations, says Warner Cranston partner David Dalgarno, who is acting for Britannia.
Zaiwalla is a British citizen of Indian origin. As a lawyer he has experience in maritime insurance law.
He also enjoys contact with high profile political, legal and diplomatic figures - as witnessed by the guest list to the firm's tenth anniversary party at the House of Commons several years ago.