Judicial order lifted in families' dispute

DUBAI // The emirate's highest appellate court has lifted a six-month judicial guardianship order over a shopping centre and a hotel, the latest move in a Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn) dispute between the Kuwaiti Burisly family and the Hamarain family, their Emirati partners. The Dubai Court of Cassation approved a request by the Hamarains to overturn the previous order of the Dubai Commercial Court of Appeals, which had named an interim manager for the properties last November. The lower court had also ordered that the properties' financial and contractual documents since the start of the dispute be presented.

The families have been involved in disputes over ownership, profit and partnership involving 23 separate cases since 1998, when the Burisly family filed suit against the Hamarains, claiming that the latter had contractually agreed to accept a 20 per cent stake in the Hamarain shopping centre and the JW Marriott hotel. The Hamarain family refuted that statement in court, claiming that the contract was forged. The commercial court ruled in favour of the Burisly family in 2001. Rents from the shopping centre alone are worth Dh1.8 billion since its launch in 1992, court records showed, leaving the total value of the centre and the hotel at approximately Dh4bn.

The commercial appeals court had ordered that the dispute be reviewed by the Dubai Rulers Court to establish the costs of developing the properties and how the project was funded. A report was requested regarding the profits received since the development of the shopping centre and the hotel and the sums each family had pocketed. The Hamarain family in turn appealed the courts decision to the Court of Cassation, asking it to lift the judicial guardianship on the basis that the earlier decision has been wrongly based. At a hearing in February, the Hamarain family presented the cassation court with a chronological history of the court decisions regarding the disputes since 1998. They held that the commercial court of appeals had not reviewed them, meaning that the judicial guardianship decision was not based on the previous decisions history. @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae

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