A last-minute legal attempt to challenge the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB on competition grounds will be the subject of a crucial case management conference tomorrow.

A group of Scottish businessmen, HBOS account holders and shareholders has appealed against the government’s decision last month to back the takeover without referring it to the Competition Commission.

The group lodged its case on Friday with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which said yesterday it would hold the case management conference tomorrow in London, which would be open to the public. The tribunal said: 'It would be entirely open for us to organise a speedy hearing, but that will depend on what the parties say at the case management conference.'

Time is tight because Lloyds TSB shareholders have approved the offer and HBOS shareholders will vote on the deal on Friday next week in Birmingham.

Financial Times