Supreme Court on Oct 28, 2017 in a judgment delivered in Appeal No. SC/722/15 All Progressives Congress (APC) V. General Bello Sarkin Yaki, the apex Court upheld the 2nd Cross-Appellant’s Cross appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division which summarily dismissed the 2nd Cross-Appellant’s preliminary objection which challenged the Appellants’ Notice of Appeal for failure to bear the stamp/seal of the legal practitioner who signed it.In allowing the appeal the Supreme Court upheld the sole issue formulated by the 2nd Cross-Appellant; ‘Whether the Court of Appeal was right to hold that failure of a legal document to have affixed to it a Stamp/Seal as mandated by rule 10(1) of the rules of professional conduct did not carry with it the consequence of rendering such legal document incompetent’.
By this decision the Court affirmed that if without complying with the mandatory provision of Rule 10(1) Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 which requires a lawyer acting in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any Government department or ministry or any corporation, who signs or files a legal document to affix on any such document a seal and stamp approved by the Nigerian Bar Association, the document so signed or filed shall be deemed not to have been properly signed or filed.
The court has therefore declared that the signing and or filing of a legal document by a lawyer will not be competent if the NBA is not affixed to it
What will happen when you have applied for the NBA seal & Stamp and you have the evidence of payment but not yet given the seal & Stamp.
I think attachment of evidence of payment can push the processes in.
Rule 10(1) RPC clears the ambiguity on stamp and seal.
In Hon. Segun Adewale & Anor v. Hon. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola & Ors CA/L/EP/SN/1024/15 delivered by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on Friday, the 13th day of November, 2015 ((2015) LSELR-30085(CA), the court held that the fact that a legal practitioner has applied for the issuance of the NBA approved seal or stamp to him/her, cannot qualify the process signed and filed by him/her in to be deemed as properly signed or filed. Particularly the court held that.
“The established fact that learned counsel for the appellant has applied for the issuance of the NBA approved seal or stamp to him, cannot qualify the process signed and filed by him in this appeal to be deemed as properly signed or filed.
The provisions of Rule 10 (1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct are very clear and unambiguous. What it requires is that the seal or stamp be affixed on the process or document before it can be deemed as properly signed or filed.
The submission of learned counsel for the appellant that he has applied for and is yet to be issued his seal or stamp suggests that he is explaining why the notice of appeal and the other processes signed by him do not bear his seal or stamp.
Such a submission is not tenable in view of the clear requirement of Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The requirement of the Rule is not that the legal practitioner should have paid for the seal or stamp before documents signed by him can be valid. If that was the requirement of the said Rule, then the explanation that he has applied for the issuance of the stamp or seal to him would have been tenable.
The requirement is that the court process or other legal document must bear the seal or stamp of the legal practitioner that signed it. So the fact that a legal practitioner possesses the seal or stamp but failed to affix it on the court process or document signed by him would not satisfy the requirement of Rule 10(1) and the process or legal document cannot be deemed to be properly signed or filed.” Per AGIM, JCA. (Pp. 19-20, Paras. A-B).