The Federal High Court has barred the big four accounting and consulting firms in Nigeria; KPMG, PWC, Ernst & Young and Deloitte from providing legal services in Nigeria.
The above is a fallout of four separate suits with numbers: FHC/AB/CS/69/2020, FHC/AB/CS/69/2020, FHC/AB/CS/69/2020 and FHC/AB/CS/69/2020) respectively filed by Olumide Babalola at the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta where in he sued the Accounting firms and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The suits were before Honourable Justices O. O Oguntoyinbo and M. Shitu Abubakar of the Abeokuta Division of the Federal High Court and the various reliefs sought from the court were centered on prohibiting the big four accounting firms from carrying out services that violate the Rules of Profession Conduct for Legal Practitioners.
In the CTCs of the four separate terms of settlement entered as judgment, the following are some of the reliefs granted against the Defendants:
- The accounting firms are not firms of “Legal Practitioners” as defined under section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010 and do not, and cannot, practise as Legal Practitioners in any form or guise in Nigeria or offer services reserved by law for Legal Practitioners. Services such as the underlisted:
- Preparation, signing and/or franking of originating court processes, pleadings and/or court related applications or filing any such documents as Legal Practitioners in courts for clients in connection with court proceedings;
- Representation of clients in courts as their Legal Practitioners;
- Preparation, signing and/or franking of any agreement, contract, deed, letter or any other document that confers, transfers, limits, charges or extinguishes any interest in any immovable property; and
- Preparation, signing and/or franking of any document relating to, or with a view to, the grant of probate or letters of administration.
- The current state of Nigerian laws does not permit them to operate as a firm of Legal Practitioners as contemplated by the Legal Practitioners Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010 or offer services reserved by law for Legal Practitioners.
- The Defendants’ personnel who are legal practitioners by virtue of their professional training do not provide, and do not hold themselves out as providing, within Nigeria to the clients of the Defendants any of the services which the law has reserved for Legal Practitioners, and will not do so unless or until the applicable law in Nigeria permits same.