Legal Luminary Profile: Prof. Alfred Bandele Kasunmu SAN

Prof. Alfred Bandele Kasunmu SAN

Prof. Alfred Bandele Kasunmu is a law academician, a law technocrat and a practising lawyer of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) cadre.

He started his elementary education at Elizabeth Fowler Memorial School and later proceeded to Reagan Memorial Baptist School. His stay at the Reagan Memorial Baptist School was, however, cut short when the decision was made that the school must become an exclusive all-girls’ school. Undeterred, he went on to change to the Baptist Academy Lagos, where he completed his elementary and secondary education in 1953. Early in his life, Prof. Kasunmu proved his increasing need for knowledge and experience when he chose to work with the Federal Audit Company at the audit department of the then newly established Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) after finishing his secondary education. Due to his increasing hunger and quest for academic garlands, he however, resigned the appointment in 1957 to further his education abroad. He left for the United Kingdom (UK).

It is instructive to state that Prof. Kasunmu had the intention to pursue a degree in Economics. However, he arrived in London too late to resume at the London School of Economics where he had intended to study Economics. This providential disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the legal community, as he was encouraged by his cousin, the late Justice E.A. Oshodi, to go for law instead. Oshodi told him that rather than stay at home for a session doing nothing, he could study privately for his intermediate degree in law at the renowned London University. He acceded to that idea and the rest is today history. As a result of his outstanding performance at the London Intermediate Examination in 1958, he decided to continue with his LL.B Degree both as a student of Holborn College and the University of London. Soon after he graduated, he enrolled for a Master’s Degree in Law at the School of Oriental Studies in University of London. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in Law in 1962 at the University of London.

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On completion of his legal training in the United Kingdom and his enrolment as a member of the Lincoln Inn, this legal luminary returned to his motherland on October 1, 1962, to start a teaching career at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law. He was later enrolled as a legal practitioner in Nigeria in 1964. He rose steadily to the post of senior lecturer and was acting dean of the faculty for the 1968/1969 session. During his stay at the University of Ife, he was a visiting scholar to the School of Law, Columbia University, between 1966 and 1967. Prof. Kasunmu is a legal personality of both national and international repute and acclaim. He resigned his appointment at Ife in 1971 to assume the position of senior lecturer at the University of Lagos. He was appointed as professor of Law while in the faculty and eventually rose to the prestigious post of dean of the faculty. It was while Prof. Kasunmu was dean of the faculty that he was appointed the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State. He held the position till he resigned in 1978 to return to the University of Lagos.

Amidst great accomplishments, Prof. Kasunmu retired in 1978 to return to full-time legal practice. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State, Prof. Kasunmu was a legal consultant in the chambers of the late F.R.A Williams from 1972 to 1978 excluding the period during which he was Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General. On resigning from the University of Lagos in 1978, Prof. Kasunmu established his legal practice under the name of Prof. A.B. Kasunmu Chambers, which he runs till date. Prof. Kasunmu widened his horizon by not only managing his own chambers but also lecturing at the Nigerian Law School from 1978 to 1982. He was also a member of the Tax Appeal Commission for six years, hearing appeals on Tax Assessment before the board.

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In recognition of his invaluable contribution to the Nigeria legal community, Prof. Kasunmu was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in January 1979 and has been counsel to many financial institutions among which are: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Chartered Bank of Nigeria (now Stanbic IBTC Bank). He has also featured in landmark cases covering various aspects of the law from land to commercial matters, banking and election petitions cases.

Professor Kasunmu is a joint author of many books and has published series of articles cutting across a broad spectrum of law. He has handled a number of celebrated cases for foreign and domestic clients at all levels of courts. He has also appeared and continues to appear as advocate before arbitration panels in and out of the country and is himself an arbitrator. Among his experiences in arbitral practice, Professor Kasunmu was the arbitrator in the arbitration that culminated in the leading case law on misconduct of arbitrators in Nigeria – Taylor Woodrow (Nig.) Ltd vs. S. E. GMBH . He is also a member of the London Court of International Arbitration and has been invited to give evidence internationally as an expert in matters relating to Nigerian Exchange Control regulations.

Prof. Kasunmu is married to Mrs. Olufunmilayo Ibironke Kasunmu and the marriage is blessed with five children. Interestingly, all his five children – four girls and one boy are all members of the legal profession and are all practicing in his Chambers.

Culled: Guardian on Tue, 07 Aug 2012;  Professor A.B Kasunmu’s Chambers

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