A Deemster has imposed a civil restraint order on persistent high court claimants who refused to take no for an answer in their battle to retain the family home.

Island businessman Sam Alder, who was adjudicated bankrupt in 2018, has been involved in a legal battle with the banks for more than a decade.

Proceedings date back to 2013 when qualified accountant Mr Alder was sued by Lloyds TSB Offshore as guarantor for funds lent to development company Slegaby Estates in 2008 for a farm conversion scheme in Onchan.

Summary judgment in the sum of £2.7m was made in favour of the bank.

HSBC also brought proceedings seeking the repayment of a £1.425m loan, with the High Bailiff finding in favour of the bank.

Then in 2020, Mr Alder lost his claim to have The Grange, which he described as his ancestral home, protected from getting into the hands of receivers.

He had argued that his tenancy of the Clypse Moar Road property in Onchan was protected by virtue of it being an agricultural holding.

HSBC has now successfully applied for an extended civil restraint order to prevent Mr Alder, his wife Helen, Slegaby and Clypse Estates from issuing claims or making civil court applications without permission of the judge for up to two years.

The lawyer for the bank argued that the claimants, now representing themselves, had made at least three claims or applications that were totally without merit, and they showed a ‘persistence to maintain an irrational refusal to take “no” for an answer’.

In response, the claimants submitted their claim was not ‘totally without merit’ but was a reasonable reaction in circumstances where they had arranged a loan and had funding in place which would have allowed the Alder family to retain The Grange.

The claimants agreed that Mr Alder was ‘tenacious’ and ‘ingenious’ but rejected the idea that he had ‘inappropriately placed hurdles’ in the way of the repossession of The Grange and argued that the sale of the family home was being resisted as being ‘potentially fraudulent’.

Deemster John Needham ruled that making a restraint order would be proportionate but said it should be restricted to the civil division of the high court on matters involving The Grange and related proceedings.

He said the claimants effectively referred to a ‘David and Goliath-type struggle’ but he had seen no evidence of the bank acting in an underhand manner.

Deemster Needham said: ‘Mr Alder is a very experienced man of business who understood the potential for the loss of The Grange if he could not pay back the loan.’

He said there was no indication that they now accept the repossession and sale, and there was a real risk that further unmeritorious litigation would take up more court time and incur more unrecoverable costs and time on the defendants.

Vacant possession of The Grange was granted to the receivers in June 2022.

In a court order dated April last year, Deemster Needham ruled that alleged tenancy agreements lodged with the Deeds Registry were to be annulled as they were ‘false and incorrect’. Former Isle of Man Arts Council chairman Mr Alder managed T-Rex in the 1970s - and is immortalised in their hit Telegram Sam.