A prominent solicitor advocate at the centre of an alleged misconduct row can be named today after his appeal bid to maintain his anonymity was rejected as ‘totally without merit’.

The Gazette can reveal that the solicitor, previously known only as AB/X, is Robin Makin. He runs Liverpool-based criminal defence firm Liverpool Legal and has acted in many high-profile cases.

Makin is best known for acting in the James Bulger murder case as the representative of the victim’s father Ralph. He also represented serial killer Ian Brady, the Moors murderer, and was famously the last person to see him before his death.

Robin Makin

Makin represented Moors murderer Ian Brady

Source: Shutterstock

But Makin is now facing a referral to the Solicitors Regulation Authority over alleged misconduct during a decade-long court case.  He was lambasted in numerous judgments for swearing at opposing counsel, shouting at a judge and was found to have carried out ‘egregious overcharging’ after he tried to bill the Ministry of Justice £936,875, a sum assessed downwards to £55,000.

Makin was originally granted anonymity on the basis of his privacy rights after he sued the MoJ for not complying with a data protection subject access request. But in July Mrs Justice May decided to lift his anonymity, after finding a clear public interest in people ’being aware of any misconduct by such a person’.

Sir Peter Coulson, Technology and Construction Court

Coulson: 'Removal of the cloak of anonymity will be one step in that process'

Source: Michael Cross

Makin applied to the Court of Appeal to seek permission to overturn the decision, but it was decided on Monday that Mrs Justice May’s decision will stand and his anonymity will be lifted. 

In a paper judgment refusing permission to appeal, Lord Justice Coulson summarised Makin’s misconduct:

  • Shouting and swearing at a hearing on 3 May 2019 when he appeared as solicitor advocate in his own case. He then walked out and returned and eventually causing the hearing to be abandoned;
  • Making an out of hours application for an injunction when another judge had already refused the claim as being totally without merit. ‘AB/X simply did not tell the out of hours judge about that earlier order’, the judge commented.
  • Persistently accusing a costs judge of bias, despite the fact that High Court judges had already described such allegations as totally without merit.
  • Making claims for costs for legally unqualified fee earners, and a claim at an hourly rate for himself in 2014 of £778.48;

According to the Coulson judgment, Makin had also signed a bill of costs, thereby certifying to the court that the indemnity principle had not been breached, in the total sum of £936,875, which was assessed downwards to approximately £55,000. The cost judge found that ‘no reasonable solicitor or an officer of the court could properly have signed the certificate’ on the bill.

Lord Justice Coulson commented: ‘These proceedings, and AB/X’s attempts to prolong them, have used up a disproportionate amount of court resources, time and costs. It is important that they are now brought to a speedy end. The removal of the cloak of anonymity will be one step in that process.’

Makin had claimed that unspecified health issues had been the source of his behaviour, but the judge commented that ‘does not provide any sort of explanation’.

He added: ‘In my view, there is no basis for an appeal. Like so many previous applications made by AB/X in the course of these proceedings, this application is totally without merit.’ 

Makin has been contacted for comment.

A Government Legal Department spokesperson said: 'We are reviewing the decision of Lord Justice Coulson and considering next steps.'