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Roger Pearson looks at the first piece of major lottery litigation
The High Court's Family Division is set for the first major lottery litigation. Mukhtar Mohidin, who won £18 million on the lottery, is now locked in dispute with his wife Sayeeda over who gets the money.
Mr Mohidin, 40, one-time Blackburn factory worker, was the first major jackpot winner in December. But he and his wife now accuse each other of giving too much of the win to their respective relatives and have launched separate civil actions in a bid to stake a claim to the cash.
Mr Mohidin says the money is his because he bought the winning ticket and he is to ask the open courts of Chancery Division for a declaration to that effect. He also seeks to side-step authorisation he is said to have signed entitling his wife to some of the money.
However, Mrs Mohidin, 33, has launched proceedings in the Family Division under the Married Women's Property Act where the matter will be dealt with behind closed doors.
At a recent hearing, when Chancery Division judge Mr Justice Rattee ordered transfer of the case to the Family Division, Mrs Mohidin's counsel, Romie Tager QC, said both sides were concerned about the strain further publicity would put on their family.
But Mr Edward Bannister QC, for Mr Mohidin, said the Family Division proceedings should be stayed and that the Chancery Division was the correct forum for the case.
At the hearing the court will have to decide on the way the couple ran their finances prior to the lottery win. If it is decided they operated on a 'common purse' basis, a ruling will be necessary on whether this meant the prize is owned between them.