Under the proposed Legal Professional Regulation Act, Law Firms will require to be licensed in order to operate. This licensing would be in addition to individual license.
The Legal Profession Regulation Council of Nigeria set up under the proposed Act will make rules for the licensing of law firms under Section 4910(xii). Law Firms will also likely pay licensing fees- (S. 6(1)(ii).
Before a license is issued to a Law Firm by the Regulation Council, the Legal Services, Ethics and Standard Committee would have to conduct an inspection of the law firm and make recommendations for the approval of a license.
The requirement for law firm’s licensing is a result of the decision of the NBA Committee regarding the term of reference No. 7 – “To determine if aside from admission to the bar there should be a separate requirement for licensing law offices and advise how best to regulate and monitor such licensing”.
The Committee had recommended the following:
- The registration and accreditation of law firms should be made mandatory.
- There may be a need to establish a minimum standard for a law office [as is the current requirement for lawyers wishing to ‘take silk’] together with its inspection and registration prior to its being used as the site for a chambers or law firm to enhance the efforts to increase public confidence in legal services in the country.
The reasons adduced by the Committee for mandatory licensing (“…to enhance the efforts to increase public confidence in legal services in the country.”) is in line with its recommended Regulatory objectives and Professional Principles in Sections 1 and 2 of the proposed Act.
The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Peter Drucker
By Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN (Chair of the Future State of the Legal Profession Subcommittee of the LPRRC)
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