Lawyers’ Initial Reactions to the Proposed LPA Repeal Bill

File Photo: Senior Advocates of Nigeria

It is no longer news that there is a move to  repeal the Legal Practitioners Act (LPA) Cap C11 LFN 2004 and all amendments thereto as well as the  Legal Education (Consolidation etc,) Act Cap. L10 LFN 2004 and replace with the Legal Profession Regulation Act.

The proposed bill has began to generate reactions from practitioners with many questioning the contents of the bill and requesting for justifications for some provisions.

For Ellias Olatunde Ajadi a lagos lawyer and social analyst, ” I see nothing good about the draft bill. Fundamentals are not being addressed rather they want to legislate their narrow interests over all and sundry. “

“1 Nigeria is a federal system with parallel legal systems operational at each federating units, why can’t they recognize this fact and ensure that admittance and call to each bar is state by state a la the United States. “

“2 The NBA!? Na by force? Right to freedom of association is a constitutional guarantee. Why make the proposed bill all about the NBA?”

“3 Legal education. In this age and time when the move is towards deemphasizing the overbearing position of the school as the single provider of qualifying training and examination for call to the bar” 

“4 Privileges… SAN rank etc. in a Republic that we gleefully profess to be? Why confer special status among supposedly equal persons?  I could go on and on. “

“The point is that the legal profession will always evolve. The current crisis is the creation of the privileged vested interest. Accept the fact that NBA as it is presently is logically and constitutionally inappropriate – association, representative and regulatory. Separate the three streams and let NBA only function as an association for willing persons. Then we can come back to discuss regulations under the auspices of an independent body.”

Abu Yekini a law lecturer  has this to say  on the proposed Bill:

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“These are  just few questions from a quick scan of the 120-page Bill”

1 Why should I contribute to a fidelity fund to compensate other persons clients….for theft committed by their counsel?

2 Why should a lawyer be liable for negligence and other losses cause to clients when he has contributed to Fidelity fund.

3 Why should there be a fidelity fund to be funded by every lawyers separately….having paid a practicing fee. Can a percentage of the practicing fee, say, 10% go to such fund?

4 Why is the Bill silent on what the practicing fee should be utilized for? For instance, what the LPRC should do with 50%, what should the NBA do with 50%.

5 Why is the Bill assuming that everyone belongs to NBA. Isn’t that begging the question? Is there any law creating an NBA and why should everyone be forcefully conscripted into a private association in view of our constitutional rights. 

6 Why can’t the Bill seize this opportunity to establish the NBA, provide for its constitution and function? And save it from the embarrassments occasioned by judgments such as the most recent one?

7 Why should the Bill contemplates a degree or diploma for professional qualification…for what purpose? Practice? Para-legal? Or are we just interested in licensing and collecting money?

8 Why yearly renewal of license?

9 Why should I get a license and at the same time apply for stamps?

10 People have applied for stamps since March and still don’t have it till date. If this were to be license, what will be the implication on practice and right of audience?

11 What is the relevance of Compulsory continuous training, AT A FEE TO SELF-SUSTAIN the programme. Is this thought out well? Who’s training who and for what? After 5/7 years training in the university, 1 year training in law school, many with years training in post graduate programs in law etc. and daily practice of law.

12 Do we still need the law school? Why can’t the law faculties run this one year course in procedural laws…or let’s replace the law school with the proposed 2 years mandatory pupillage…..the law school should simply conduct exams and issue certificates For call. The lecturers can be distributed to nearest federal universities of their choice to continue their career this will save cost and bring the students very close with real legal practice.

Have you read through the proposed bill? do you want to talk about the contents? We encourage that you do. Send us your thoughts, comments, commendations, concerns etc on the proposed bills

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