Ayorinde Faults FG’s Agreement Allowing UK Lawyers To Practice In Nigeria

Posted on February 14, 2024

Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN)

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Bolaji Ayorinde has faulted the federal government’s bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom, allowing English lawyers to practise in Nigeria.

Recalled that on Tuesday, Nigeria and the UK formalised a new trade agreement to boost trade and investment between both countries.

Called the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP), the agreement is also expected to unlock new opportunities for UK and Nigerian businesses.

Displeased with the agreement, Ayorinde SAN argued that the Bilateral Trade Agreement between the UK and Nigeria on legal services would run against the nation’s domestic law and therefore illegal, submitting that the Legal Practitioners Act provided for the categories of persons that could provide legal services in Nigeria.

He posited that a provision of the agreement allowing lawyers from the UK to ply their trade in Nigeria is reminiscent of “our colonial past.

Ayorinde stated that Section 3(1) LPA on Establishment of the Body of Benchers provided that (1) There shall be a body of legal practitioners of the highest distinction in the legal profession in Nigeria to be known as ‘’The Body of Benchers’’ which shall be responsible for the formal call to the Bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners.’’

He said “This is not the first time that such a move is coming from the UK legal market. It has always been robustly resisted and nothing has since changed. Nigerian lawyers must rise and resist this onslaught.

“Section 2(1) LPA on Entitlement To Practise states that ‘Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person shall be entitled to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor if, and only if his name is on the roll.’’

“Section 7(1) LPA on Enrolment says: ‘Subject to the provisions of this Section, a person shall be entitled to have his name enrolled if and if – (a) he has been called to the Bar by the Benchers; and (b) he produces a certificate of his call to the Bar to the Registrar

“Also, Section 4(1) LPA on Call to Bar: “Subject to the provisions of this Section, a person shall be entitled to be called to the Bar if- (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria; (b) he produces a qualifying certificate to the Benchers; and (c) he satisfies the Benchers that he is of goof character.

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