President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr. Paul Usoro SAN has unveiled plans to review and reconstitute the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee and indeed the NBA Disciplinary Panel.
Mr. Usoro stated this in a circular issued on September 8, 2018. Mr. Usoro noted that the review and reconstitution became important in view of the foundational importance of discipline in the legal profession.
Noting that the LPDC is the only committee that was not dissolved, he stated that plans are underway to ensure that the review and reconstruction would make the committee more responsive.
In his words; “In my Inaugural Address, I had dissolved “forthwith the membership of all the existing Committees of the NBA excluding the Sections and such other Committees as I may expressly indicate”.
“Considering the foundational importance of discipline in our profession, I had earlier in the week discussed with some members of the NBA Prosecution Team, notably, the Chief Prosecutor, Charles Ajuyah, SAN and informed them of the exemption of their Team from the general dissolution of NBA Committees, in the terms of my Inaugural Address, pending the imminent review and reconstitution of the Team.”
“The planned review and reconstitution of the Team will focus, amongst others, on the modus operandi and efficiency of the Team, in an all-encompassing manner, covering, amongst others, cost-efficiency, efficiency in terms of the number and quality of Team members taking into account, amongst others, the number of petitions that are pending before the LPDC and the number of petitions that are received averagely each month and may need to be processed by the various NBA Disciplinary Panel prior to being forwarded to the LPDC for hearing and determination.”
“Necessarily, the planned review would extend to the NBA Disciplinary Panels as well.”
“In point of fact, I had promised, in my Inaugural Address, a complete overhaul of the Legal Practitioners disciplinary process in a manner that would “make our disciplinary procedures far more responsive and time-sensitive”.
“This we intend to effect, right from the processes at the NBA Secretariat and up to the prosecution of the matters.”
“We would also, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and agencies, review the disciplinary provisions that are contained in our various legislation and bye-laws in order to upgrade and update them in step with present-day realities and requirements.”
“Our members would be periodically updated on these further steps, as they come to fruition.”