A prominent solicitor advocate who was unmasked as being at the centre of an alleged misconduct row is being investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Gazette can reveal.
The regulator is aware of court judgments where judges were scathingly critical of Robin Makin’s conduct during costs proceedings.
Makin, who runs Liverpool-based criminal defence firm Liverpool Legal and has acted in many high-profile cases, is still a practising solicitor and no findings have been made against him.
But a High Court case last summer heard that the Ministry of Justice was considering reporting Makin to the SRA because, as Mrs Justice May stated, his conduct had ‘been so egregiously bad’. The alleged misconduct included shouting and swearing at a hearing; persistently accusing a costs judge of bias and egregiously overcharging for his case against the SRA – in which he was a claimant representing himself.
Mrs Justice May lifted an anonymity order – which had meant Makin could be identified only as ‘AB/X’ – because she felt that ‘any investigation by the SRA/SDT must be at least significantly hampered by continued anonymity.’
She also stated that Makin should have self-reported to the regulator over the findings of misconduct made against him by costs Judge James and the fact that an extended civil restraint order had been made against him because he had ‘conducted proceedings so vexatiously’, the judge said.
Makin had maintained that his behaviour could be explained due to an undisclosed health condition. But the judge pointed out that Makin should already have reported to the SRA that his condition was making him behave in such a way.
‘I would also have expected him to acquaint the partners/co-directors in his own law firm which was on the record as acting for him on that (and every other) occasion’, Mrs Justice May said.
Makin’s attempt to appeal against May’s ruling that his anonymity should be lifted prompted a scathing rebuke from the Court of Appeal, which refused permission on the basis that his application was ‘totally without merit’.
Lord Justice Coulson said: ‘AB/X’s obsession with secrecy and his persistent lack of transparency is wholly unjustified. As a solicitor, AB/X must know that. It is wholly contrary to the principles of open justice and the CPR. It is hard not to see it as deliberately provocative.’
When contacted for comment about these developments, an SRA spokesperson said: ‘We are aware and are investigating before deciding on next steps.’
When asked if the Ministry of Justice had reported Makin to the SRA, a Government Legal Department spokesperson said: ‘We are reviewing the decision of Lord Justice Coulson and considering next steps.’