A former City solicitor has failed in his attempt to overturn a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal decision which removed him from the roll with a six-figure costs bill.
Alexis Maitland Hudson, admitted in 1975, was struck off last year and ordered to pay interim costs of £300,000.
Appealing on the ground of procedural unfairness, Maitland Hudson said he had been ‘substantially impaired’ in his ability to defend himself. On the eve of a hearing in January 2018 he had admitted himself to a private psychiatric hospital for depression.
Ruling in the Administrative Court, Lord Justice Green and Mrs Justice Carr found that the SDT had been alive to Maitland Hudson's health difficulties from the outset and made adjustments to accommodate him throughout. These included ‘repeated adjournments’ and the ‘unprecedented step’ of the SRA offering ’significant financial support’ towards Maitland Hudson’s legal costs.
Agreeing with Mrs Justice Carr’s lead judgment Green LJ noted that Maitland Hudson had argued that he would not recover from his mental disability until the ordeal presented by the SDT proceedings was at an end, but also that his mental state was such that an adjournment of the proceedings was the only lawful course the tribunal could take.
These two positions ‘raise the spectre of a classic Catch 22', Green LJ ruled. ‘The proceedings should, in all fairness, have been adjourned pending the appellant’s recovery but (once adjourned) those proceedings could not be resumed for the very reason that being in abeyance he would remain prone to the disability. It seemed to me that this Catch 22 was part of the appellant’s forensic end game.’
Maitland Hudson was represented by London firm Russell-Cooke which has been contacted for comment.