Developer Paddy McKillen claims he has not been given an adequate opportunity to respond to a process whereby a Government-appointed assessor has been asked to come up with a valuation for the nationalised former Anglo Irish Bank.
Mr McKillen, who was a substantial shareholder in Anglo, got leave on Monday from the High Court to bring judicial review proceedings over the allegedly short timescale he got to respond to the role of the assessor in determining compensation for Anglo shareholders.
At the time of nationalisation in January 2009, shares had a “hope value” of 22 cent each but the Government decided to defer appointing someone to assess the actual valuation until later.
Last February, regulations were published under which the newly appointed assessor was to carry out his work, the court heard.
The court also granted a stay on the assessor, David Tynan of PwC, publishing his final report for the Minister for Finance on the valuation pending determination of the legal proceedings, or further order.
Mr McKillen's counsel, Jack Tchrakian, said his client was concerned he was given the minimal amount of time to make submissions to the assessor
Under the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act in 2009, the Government provided for extinguishing of certain rights in the bank, removal of certain people from office and payment of compensation for shareholders.
Mr Tchrakian said almost 10 years had passed before the assessor was appointed last November.
Mr McKillen was concerned there was “a degree of vagueness” about how the assessment is to be carried out. It is not stated, for example, whether it will be based on net shareholdings or liabilities or whether there will be a formulation as to how this is to be done, he said.
Under the process, counsel said, shareholders can make submissions after which the assessor publishes a draft report. That is then circulated to those who made submissions before the assessor does a final valuation report for the minister.
Mr McKillen only learned of the matter in March after the assessor published a notice inviting submissions in two national newspapers and on a website, counsel said. He asked for more time to make submissions and was given an extension to April 30th.
Mr McKillen has two experts, economics professor Constantin Gurdgiev and former AIB director Bernard Somers, currently involved in "scoping out" the terms of reference of the assessor, he said.
The legislation involved has a significant impact on property rights which must be protected by the State and for which a citizen has a right to make submissions within a reasonable amount of time, counsel said.
Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted leave to bring the challenge against Mr Tynan and placed a stay on the publication of the final valuation report.
Mr Tynan has liberty to apply to vary the order on 48 hours notice to Mr McKillen as the leave application as made on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis.
The stay is not intended to stop Mr Tynan’s work but only to prevent the final report pending determination of the case, the judge said.
The case comes back in October.