WHEN Royal Bank of Scotland last June agreed a £200 million settlement to a shareholder dispute that had rumbled on for four years it appeared that the matter had finally been put to bed.

Having raised £12 billion during a cash call in 2008, the bank was later hit with legal action from five separate claims groups, all of which alleged that investors had been duped into pumping cash into the later bailed-out bank.

The bank, which did not admit liability, settled with four of the groups in December 2016, but the majority of claimants that were originally grouped together in the RBOS Shareholders Action Group chose to fight on until the matter reached the steps of the court.

Their tenacity was rewarded, with those settling in June doing so for 82p per share while those that had settled earlier received just 41p.

Read more: Legal spat hots up as RBS investors await share of £200m claim

The problem is that almost a year on just £25m of the settlement has been paid out to the RBOS Shareholders Action Group claimants, with continued legal wrangling meaning it could be some years before final payments are made.

The latest action took place in London’s High Court this week, when Manx Capital Partners, which took over management of the claims from the action group last year, asked Mr Justice Hildyard to order the group to hand over the documents it holds in relation to the case.

Manx - an RBS shareholder that provided a portion of the funding for the case against the bank and will also receive a share of the settlement – argued that without these documents it will be impossible for individual claims to be fully processed.

As is normal in group actions, the cost of bringing the action against RBS is being met out of the £200m settlement made by the bank.

However, London firm Signature Litigation, which acts for the claimants, has queried a £20m fee that the action group has said is due to a business called Evalusafety, which was established in 2013 and has an unknown link to the group itself.

It is understood that the sum is a success fee related to the £200m settlement, but Signature has refused to hand over the money for the fee until it has detailed proof that it was reasonably incurred.

Even if Mr Justice Hildyard does compel the action group to hand over its records, Signature would not be able to immediately calculate what each shareholder should be entitled to. This is because some other costs incurred while putting the claim against the bank together are currently being disputed in court.

Read more: Shareholders settle multimillion-pound claim against RBS

Litigation funder Vannin Capital has taken action in a bid to recover nearly £15m it alleges it is entitled to under the terms of a funding agreement put in place in 2013.

Vange Consulting, meanwhile, has launched legal proceedings in order to recoup around £1m in fees it claims it is owed for helping to recruit institutional investors to the action group.

At the same time, the action group has mounted a challenge to the fees Signature is charging for representing the individual shareholders.

As the group handed responsibility for managing the claims to Manx prior to the settlement being reached it may not have the right to challenge these costs, but if the court rules that it does then it is likely that a detailed costs assessment would follow.

That could take between two and three years to complete.

Read more: Legal spat hots up as RBS investors await share of £200m claim

Under the terms of a court order issued by Mr Justice Hildyard last October, the action group cannot meet the cost of bringing or defending any of these actions out of RBS’s £200m settlement.

The RBOS Shareholder Action Group has taken out a series of loans with British Virgin Islands-listed business Opis Asset Holding in order to meet its ongoing costs. It is believed that those loans have been secured against Evalusafety’s as-yet unpaid £20m fee.

In the meantime, the shareholders in whose name the £200m was won are beginning to lose faith that they will ever receive their full share of the cash.

One, who paid over £3,500 for 1,400 rights issue shares and should be entitled to over £500, said he does not believe he will see that money.

“This has been ongoing for many moons and I am doubtful of obtaining anything at all,” he said.