Timeline

1980: Thyssen Junior is appointed as chairman of the TBG Partners' supervisory board

18 April 1983: The Baron and his son Georg set up a Bermuda-based continuity trust as an ownership vehicle for the family empire

September 1983: Georg Thyssen becomes chief executive of TBG

January 1997: A writ is issued by two plaintiffs, the Baron and LRT Trustee (PVT) and legal wrangles ensue, heard by Mr Justice Richard Ground

May 1997: Directions hearing for completion of pleadings and discovery

End of 1997: Application for discovery begins

Beginning of 1998: Appeals are heard in the Court of Appeal

August 1998: Judge Ground leaves the case

End of 1998: There is further discovery and a second round of appeals regarding privilege issues

18 January 1999: Mr Justice Denis Mitchell first sits on the case on an interlocutory hearing

February 1999: The trial is scheduled to begin but plaintiffs ask for an adjournment until May

May 1999: The first defendants make another application for discovery

11 October 1999: The trial begins with Michael Crystal QC's opening comments

27 April 2000: The corporate defendants' team led by Norton Rose launches an application to have the whole case dismissed. A hearing is set for 6 June

6 June 2000: Nicholas Patten QC explains that the Baron's witness statement was a “highly stylised document” and the whole case is misconceived

7 June 2000: Judge Mitchell throws out the application to strike out, on the grounds that it is two years too late

August 2000: Legal costs reach $65m (£45.2m) and continue to rise by $500,000 (£347,800) per week

September 2000: The defence loses a key player when Patten is invited to become a judge

October 2000: Trevor Philipson QC at Fountain Court replaces Patten

Interlocutory hearings postpone the case until January 2001

16 January 2001: The plaintiffs' opening speech ends

28 March 2001: Day 106 of the trial – Judge Mitchell steps down

Future? The trial is expected to recommence in August. In the wake of Judge Mitchell stepping down, a possible claim for compensation for wasted costs against Bermudian authorities looms