Groups gear up for marathon RBS lawsuits

Ross McEwan says RBS will vigorously contest the case. Picture: PA
Ross McEwan says RBS will vigorously contest the case. Picture: PA
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SHAREHOLDER action groups in major lawsuits against Royal Bank of Scotland on its £12 billion rights issue in 2008 are braced for a marathon legal hearing of six months from late 2016.

The High Court in London has earmarked from December of that year to the summer of 2017 to hear evidence in an “extraordinarily complex” case involving thousands of documents and e-mails, and scores of expert witnesses.

One source close to the actions said: “It will be drawn out, for sure, and that is just to decide liability. Quantum [the amount payable in damages] would probably not be heard until 2018.

“It is disappointing, but understandable given the real complexity of the case, and the huge amount of documents and witnesses. We are prepared for it.”

A £4bn lawsuit from the 12,000-strong RBoS Shareholders Action Group alleges the bank misled them about its financial strength in the rights issue prospectus that preceded its collapse later in 2008 into state-ownership.

There are other legal actions believed to run into many hundreds of millions of pounds from the RBS Rights Issue 
Action Group; law firm Stewarts Law representing about 300 institutional investors; and a separate action from leading institutions such as Standard Life. RBS boss Ross McEwan says the bank will vigorously contest the case.