A Scottish pensioner is suing RBS for negligence in preparing the information which persuaded him to buy to buy £1.282 worth of RBS shares – which are now worth a paltry £120. He claims that had they told him they were insolvent at the time, he wouldn’t have bought them.
As befits an experienced lawyer, and one who has tilted at windmills before – for it was he who stole the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey, Ian Hamilton is asking for the case to be heard in his local small claims court – where he risks only £150; RBS is arguing that the case is so complicated that it must be heard in a higher court, thus putting him at risk of horrendous costs if he loses the case.
This won’t just be about compensation for the loss of a relatively puny amount – this will be about access to justice; the amount he is claiming is entitled to be heard in the small claims court, if RBS force the case into a higher court and he is unable to afford the potential losses then access to justice will have been denied simply by the defendants complicating their defence.
When a terror suspect who is going to be deported and has been living on tax payers money to the tune of £50,000 a year for the past eight years, can get legal aid to fight his deportation and take a human rights case to the European Court of Justice, but a pensioner cannot afford redress when a bank costs him his savings then we know that there is no justice for the ‘little people’.
Support Ian Hamilton – keep an eye on this case. The Sheriff has adjourned the case for a week to give himself more ‘time to think’ – the outcome will be important for all of us.