One of the more difficult articles for me to write, as this relates to a lawyer, Michael G Robson, who handled the case of the death of my mother at Borders General Hospital, and lied about what he was doing with regard to pursuing a medical negligence action against the Hospital.
Michael G Robson, formerly of Robsons WS, Ratho, had many a famous client who had problems with the legal profession. Iain McIntyre for one, was a client of Mr Robson, who tried to sue his lawyers for negligence, but was blocked from doing so by the then Secretary of the Law Society, Kenneth Pritchard, and his successor, Douglas Mill.
I was but another of those clients Mr Robson happily took on, with an assurance that work would be undertaken, and cases brought to court, among them, an attempt to do something about crooked accountant Norman Howitt & ICAS, an action for Judicial Review against the Law Society of Scotland in their handling of the Penman complaint & their treatment of further complaints filed against other legal firms, and of course, the case of the death of my mother at Borders General Hospital, from medical negligence.
In the end, Mr Robson did nothing on any of my cases, nor it seems did he do much, if anything for any of his other client, and ended up before the Law Society over several complaints from clients, including some from myself, over lack of action on cases and failure to correspond or take instructions.
It took the Law Society long enough to do something about it … they wrote some 90 or so letters to him at his Ratho office, a situation which went on for almost a year. Odd, perhaps, that no one from the Law Society thought to drive a few miles to his office and see what was going on. Law Society officials were however, content to play the situation out for as long as possible, so all of Mr Robson’s clients cases might just fall into time bar, thus preventing anyone from being able to claim compensation against the solicitors negligence insurance.
The Law Society, very craftily handled the client complaints against Mr Robson, finding in the main for a poor standard of service & conduct, and recommending prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal for a number of those ‘offences’. However due to the possibility of clients proceeding with negligence claims against Mr Robson for his conduct and citing the Law Society investigation and findings, the Law Society made & pressed charges of their own rather than refer too much to the way Mr Robson had treated his clients, in an effort to stall any negligence claims against Mr Robson which would ultimately have to be paid from the Master Insurance Policy – the solicitors professional indemnity insurance for negligence run by the Law Society of Scotland and Marsh UK – which has seen it’s own share of corruption allegations.
Mr Robson was duly found guilty and the rest was covered in the media. Mr Robson however, did challenge the SSDT, which was reflected in newspaper reports, and a case which goes on yet to this day, delayed on many occasions of being off to tennis matches or meetings .. how the Court and it’s judges sat back and allowed that is anyone’s guess, but a good indicator came from a source at the Law Society of Scotland, who claims the intention of the delays is to make my case and any other claim against Mr Robson fall into time bar – the usual practice from the legal profession then.
Such was the complication of the case, and the worry of the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman there may be a ‘conflict of interest’, my request for an investigation into the way the Law Society dealt with the Robson case was passed to the English Legal Services Ombudsman, who have had to sit on the sidelines and await a ruling from the court before taking up their investigation over 3 years since they were contacted to do it.
The Law Society of Scotland’s Director of Regulation, Mr Philip Yelland, known to many clients who complain to the Law Society, wrote recently to the Legal Services Ombudsman’s office in England, with as useless an explanation as ever, claiming the Law Society was ‘powerless’ to do anything while Mr Robson pursued the appeal against the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
In reality, Mr Yelland and his colleagues at the Law Society of Scotland, have been only too happy to see the case drag on, and myself be constantly denied legal representation, to delay and destroy any chance of a negligence claim against Mr Robson being raised – the same trick they play on anyone else who tries to claim against a crooked lawyer …
Following is a list of the Court appearances of Mr Robson, with excuse after excuse .. which usually revolved around playing tennis … some of the quotes below …
“Mr Robson was unable to attend as his employers were contracted to provide his services as a LTA tennis coach to West Lothian Council.”
“Mr Robson had a tennis training course in the North of England from 15th – 17th May.”
“Mr Robson was unable to attend this hearing as he was attending a tennis leaders course. It was the first course to be run in Scotland and he had been committed since June.”
What where the Judges thinking of allowing Mr Robson to treat the court like that, amid the ruin and harm he had caused his clients ?.
The Law Society of Scotland’s ‘prosecuting fiscal’ in this case is PA Reid, ‘Solicitor Advocate’ of Messrs Fleming & Reid, 180 Hope Street, Glasgow – perhaps known to others who have made complaints against crooked lawyers and seen a ‘result’ in any ‘prosecution’ before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal …
Being slightly fed up with the way I was being treated, by the Law Society, the Court of Session, Mr Robson et all, I let slip the information, and at the weekend, the Sunday Mail featured the story.
Surely all this is a good example of why lawyers cannot be allowed to regulate themselves. Only fully independent regulation of the legal profession, will bring a measure of accountability & transparency to the way lawyers handle cases for their clients, and how complaints are handled when inevitably it seems, lawyers undertake very poor legal service.
Oct 21 2007 By Russell Findlay
Exclusive Brief Accused Of Stringing Along Court With Excuses
A SHAMED lawyer missed a string of dates to defend himself against complaints – because he was too busy playing tennis.
Michael Robson gave the crazy excuse to Scotland’s highest court after appealing against a punishment for ignoring clients’ wishes.
He was disciplined by legal watchdogs in 2005 but the ruling remained secret because he appealed to the Court of Session.
Robson, 55, missed a court date in April last year as he was working as a Lawn Tennis Association coach.
In May 2006, he went on a two-day tennis training course in England and that September he was at a tennis “leaders course”.
Client Peter Cherbi plans to sue Robson for failing to act in a medical negligence claim over the death of his mother in 2000.
Mr Cherbi claims Robson’s delays may be a tactic to avoid a court case.
He said: “The deadline for my action against Mr Robson is next year when it will become time barred.
“I suspect he is cynically playing for time. It is extraordinary judges should accept a tennis match is more important than a court appearance.” In 2001 the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal found Robson had ignored 50 letters from the Law Society, criticised his “cavalier attitude” and ordered that he work under supervision for three years.
In 2002 he was struck off but that was reduced to five-years of supervision on appeal.
He is banned from working as a solicitor as result of the 2005 ruling.
When we called Robson, of Ratho, Edinburgh, he said he would phone back but failed to do so.