In 2015, Paul Joseph was instructed by the MOJ to act against a Solicitor Advocate and the managing partner of his own law firm in costs proceedings arising out of a data protection case which itself had started in 2006.  The Solicitor had won damages of £2,251. Both sides had been ordered to pay some of each other’s costs.  You would have expected relatively small bills and a short costs process.  How wrong you would have been.

The Solicitor had been granted anonymity in the underlying proceedings in order to protect him and his family.  He then embarked on a relentless campaign of the most extraordinary misconduct.  He shouted and swore at Paul in court, causing the hearing to be abandoned.  He made an application to the duty High Court Judge on a Sunday afternoon to restrain the Costs Judge from hearing the case the following morning and failed to tell that Judge that another Judge had dismissed the same arguments two weeks previously.  He persistently accused the Costs Judge of bias and then sued her personally in order to justify his argument that she was biased (the action was dismissed). Four appeals were dismissed and certified as totally without merit by Mr Justice Murray.  The Solicitor certified a bill totalling £937,000, which included 100% success fees pursuant to CFAs which he had concluded with his own law firm (i.e. himself), and he claimed that 336 hours alone had been spent in drawing up the Bill.  The Costs Judge found that, “no reasonable solicitor or officer of the court could properly have signed the bill.”  It was assessed at £16,500 after a reduction of 70% for misconduct.

If all of that was not enough, he then persistently tried to pass documents to Judges and the MOJ, sometimes secretly, in brown envelopes, in breach of every known rule or practice.  Some of them were documents which the MOJ had undertaken to destroy.

On 31 March 2023, the court took the extraordinary step of making an Extended Civil Restraint Order against him, and on 25 July, Mrs Justice May removed his anonymity.  When undertaking the relevant balancing exercise, the Judge concluded that, “the public interest in learning of misconduct on the part of a prominent solicitor, officer of the court and higher rights advocate must weigh very heavily”.

On 4 December, Lord Justice Coulson dismissed his application for permission to appeal and declared it to be totally without merit, concluding that 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.”

It can now be revealed that the Solicitor Advocate is Robin Makin of Liverpool Legal Services Limited.