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The eagerly awaited judgment in the high profile probate dispute of Vladimir Scherbakov, in which Fiona Todd appeared for a minor defendant acting by their litigation friend, has now been handed down.

The judgment followed a trial before Mrs Justice Bacon in the High Court which took place over 3 weeks in October/November 2023.

The dispute concerned the estate, estimated at a value of £100 million, of Vladimir Scherbakov, a Russian businessman who died in Belgium in 2017. Mr Scherbakov fled to Belgium from England in 2016 to avoid the threat of extradition to Russia as a result of an investigation against him by the Russian state.

The proceedings were brought by Mr Scherbakov’s fiancée, Brigita Morina, and vigorously defended by Mr Scherbakov’s ex-wife and adult children. The dispute concerned issues over the domicile of the deceased (whether English, Russian or Belgian) the applicable laws of succession as a matter of English, Russian and Belgian law and the validity and revocation of Mr Scherbakov’s will dated October 2015.

In addition, the Court heard of an extortion attempt against Ms Morina by individuals claiming to hold original 2015 will.

In her judgment, Mrs Justice Bacon determined that Mr Scherbakov acquired an English domicile of choice by 2015 and that as a result, his moveable estate is governed by English Law. After considering evidence from 3 expert forensic document analysts, the Court held that the original 2015 will did exist and that further, Mr Scherbakov’s ex-wife and adult children were all involved in the suppression of the original will.

Fiona was instructed by Smeetesh Kakkad and Claire van der List of Gresham Legal.