(774) WASTING COURT TIME.
Court of Session correspondent Martin Hogg has drawn our attention to this stern rap over the knuckles administered in Henry v Rentokil Initial plc  CSIH 24 to the appellant’s agents by Temporary Judge Sir David Edward on 13 March 2008 (see http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2008csih24.html):
 This is an appeal from the Sheriff Court at Dumbarton. It was set down for hearing for four days on the basis of an estimate provided by the appellants. That estimate was repeated when the appeal called By Order on 4 January 2008. Nothing was done before the hearing to inform the Court that the four days allotted would not be required. In the event, the appellants’ submissions took not more than three hours and the hearing was completed by mid-morning on the second day. In consequence, two and a half days of Court time were wasted and other litigants were deprived of the opportunity of an earlier hearing of their case. The explanation – or excuse – offered was that instructions as to the arguments to be advanced were awaited from the appellants’ insurers. Lawyers who conduct litigation before the courts of Scotland owe a duty to the Court as well as the client. The decision whether an appeal may properly be pursued, the preparation of Grounds of Appeal and the furnishing of estimates of the time required are tasks that engage the professional responsibility of the lawyers concerned. Proper and timeous discharge of that professional responsibility is not conditional on instructions from clients or insurers. It is greatly to be regretted that this was not kept in view by those acting for the appellants in the present appeal.