TSB to challenge pounds 12.45m court judgment

TSB Bank is to go to the High Court early this week to challenge a surprise judgment that it must pay a former customer pounds 12.45m as a result of a dispute over share certificates lodged with the bank.

An order to pay was obtained in the High Court two weeks ago by Sayeed Hussein, a London accountant, after a long dispute with TSB. The bank did not appear to be aware of the development until it was contacted last week by Mr Hussein and by this newspaper.

TSB is confident there has been a procedural snarl-up in the way the court delivered the judgment and the order to pay Mr Hussein, and it expects the ruling to be quashed.

Mr Hussein obtained the court documents ordering TSB to pay on the grounds that the bank had not put forward a defence. But TSB said it did file a defence to Mr Hussein's charges, and it will ask a judge to set aside his award on the grounds that it should never have been made.

TSB said: 'We have made an application to the court to have the judgment put aside because of irregularities in the case, and we are confident of success.' Solicitors representing TSB were at the High Court on Friday seeking an early hearing. It is not yet clear whether TSB will also seek to blame court procedures for the fact that the filing of its defence was overlooked.

The case began in Bournemouth but was moved to a court in south London and then on to the High Court in central London. On 24 August, Mr Hussein applied for, and was given, a document certifying that the amount due to him was pounds 12,451,610. Mr Hussein said he lodged share- and bearer-bond certificates with a TSB branch in 1987. He said he was unaware at the time that the bearer bonds were worth millions of pounds, and he claims that TSB has not returned them to him.

Mr Hussein did not, however, have a receipt itemising the bonds and shares. TSB said his claims were groundless.