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Small shareholders seek judicial review on Northern Rock

A group of 150,000 of Northern Rock’s small private shareholders have filed an application for a judicial review of the compensation terms being offered by the Government.

One of Northern Rock’s biggest shareholders, SRM Global, which held 11.5 per cent of the shares, has filed a similar application.

The UK Shareholders Association is representing the interests of 150,000 small private shareholders who held around 25 per cent of the bank’s shares.

Shareholders are arguing that the compensation terms should be fair and based on the normal approach taken in any commercial valuation of a business. They also say compensation should be decided by an independent expert using the common approach taken to such cases and past practice.

The group claim that the Government’s nationalisation of Northern Rock was aimed at enabling the Treasury to make a substantial profit in due course.

Northern Rock Shareholders Action Group chairman Roger Lawson says: “Many smaller shareholders do not seem to have realised that the Government is intent on paying them nothing. They are also under the false impression that the shares will be returned to them after the period of temporary public ownership trumpeted by the Government, which is clearly not the case.”

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