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Court Orders CAC to Register ‘Nigerian Law Society’, Says Lawyers Free to Form Lawful Association,

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to approve for registration and thereafter register the proposed name submitted to it on behalf of the Nigerian Law Society.

Justice G.K. Olotu made the order while delivering judgment in a suit with No: FHC/ABJ/CS/482/2023, filed by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, OFR, Mel-A Audu Nunghe,SAN, Amb. Garba Gajam, Chief Emeka Ichoku, Mrs Chioma Ferguson and Tejumola Adigun suing as 1st to 6th Plaintiffs for themselves and on behalf of the promoters of “Nig Society”; or ” Nigeria Bar Society” or ” Society Lawyers”, or “Nigeria Lawyers Society” or “Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria, wherein they prayed the court for the following orders:

  1. A DECLARATION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT that the Plaintiffs and/or lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and/or solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, admitted to practice law in Nigeria, are free to form, associate, and/ any lawful association of lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria of their choice, that provides for their welfare and protects their interests.
  1. A DECLARATION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT that the Plaintiffs, and/or lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and/or solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, admitted to practice law in Nigeria, do not require “National Spread” as a precondition for valid registration as an incorporated trustee by the Defendant.
  1. DECLARTION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT that proposed names: ” Nigerian Law Society”; or Nigerian Bar Society” and Society of Nigerian Lawyers; “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society”;   or      “Association of        Legal Practitioners of Nigeria”, submitted on behalf of the Plaintiffs for approval and subsequent registration by the Defendant are not similar and/or closely similar to the “Nigeria Bar Association” such that it could mislead the general public; and that the names herein as submitted for approval and registration, by the Plaintiffs, do not fall within either the limits of restrictions or prohibition contemplated under Section 852 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020) and the extant CAC Operations Checklists 2022.
  1. A DECLARATION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT that the Plaintiffs, and/ or lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and/or solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, admitted to practice law in Nigeria do not require a “letter of no objection” from any other association as a pre-condition for valid registration as an incorporated trustees by the Defendant.
  1. DECLARATION that it is unlawful and illegal for the Defendant to refuse to register or impede the registration of the Plaintiffs and/ or lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and/or solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, admitted to practice law in Nigeria as an incorporated trustee of lawyers, legal practitioners and/or barristers and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
  1. A DECLARATION that the following proposed name: “Nigerian Law Society”; or “Nigerian Bar Society” and “Society of Nigerian Lawyers”, “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society”; or Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria” submitted on behalf of the Plaintiffs for approval by Defendant, are not within either the limits of the restrictions or prohibition contemplated under Section 852 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020) and the extant CAC Operations Checklists 2022.
  1. AN ORDER directing the Defendant to approve for registration, and thereafter register any of the proposed names submitted to it on behalf of the Plaintiffs, being “Nigerian Law Society” or “Nigerian Bar Society” and “Society of Nigerian Lawyers” or and “Society of Nigerian Lawyers”; “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society”; or “Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria”, and issue a certificate of registration to that effect.
  1. SUCH ORDER OR FURTHER ORDERS(S) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.

Recall that the Plaintiffs filed the suit on 11 th April, 2023 after the CAC refused to approve the names they proposed for registration on the grounds that the names were too similar to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). The CAC had also directed the promoters of the proposed association to seek and obtain the approval of the NBA prior to their registration.

After hearing argument of parties, the Court entered Judgment in favour of the Plaintiffs and ordered as follows:

  1. THAT the Defendant is hereby ordered to approve for registration and thereafter register any of the proposed names submitted to it on behalf of the Plaintiffs, being: “Nigerian Law Society” or “Nigerian Bar Society” and “Society of Nigeria Lawyers”, Nigerian Lawyers’ Society” or Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria” and issue a certificate of registration to that effect.
  1. THAT the 6 (six) Declaratory reliefs sought by the Plaintiffs are ordered as prayed.

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