Lawyers have been known to come up with some rather unbelievable excuses not to attend SSDT disciplinary hearings, or avoid court appearances, but playing tennis does stretch the credulity of ones position a little far.
However, for one fairly well known ex lawyer, Michael G Robson, stretching the credulity of the Court of Session itself has become a sport, playing backhand after backhand in beating off appearances & the inevitable in the case of Michael Robson V SSDT LAW 82/195.
Here are excerpts from the excuses given to m'lordships, who must have definitely been out to lunch allowing this to go on for several years !
"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."
Bizarrely, the English Legal Services Ombudsman has become involved in the case on behalf of clients dissatisfied with the way the Law Society of Scotland handled the original investigations into Mr Robson's conduct.Apparently the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman felt it was not able to investigate the complaint properly, some four plus hears ago and nothing has been done since.
PA Reid, 'Solicitor Advocate' of Messrs Fleming & Reid, 180 Hope Street, Glasgow, is known to be the Law Society's 'prosecuting fiscal' in this case .... *ahem*
Roll of Court Appearances of Michael G Robson before the Court of Session - not pretty reading, but definitely a lesson in stalling :
More can be read on Mr Robson's downfall as a solicitor HERE
The Sunday Mail reports
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.