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EFFECT OF COUNSEL STATEMENT FROM THE BAR

Dictum

It is settled that a statement by a counsel from the Bar has the character of an oath and the court is bound to take this into consideration. See Tika Tore Press Ltd. v. Umar (1968) 2 ALL NLR 107.

— Opene JCA. United Bank for Africa (UBA) v. Samuel Igelle Ujor (CA/C/134/99, 20 FEB 2001)

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PENDING DETERMINATION BY THE CCT, THERE IS NO LAW THAT PROHIBITS A LEGAL PRACTITIONER (EVEN IF A PUBLIC SERVANT) FROM RIGHT OF AUDIENCE IN COURT

‘The right of audience in court is governed by the Legal Practitioners Act. It is clear from the provisions of sections 2 and 8 of the Legal Practitioners Act that as long as the name of a legal practitioner remains on the roll, it is wrong to deny him right of audience in court. The procedure for removal of names of legal practitioners from the roll or to deny a legal practitioner right of audience in court is clearly set out under the Legal Practitioners Act. It is only for non-payment of the yearly practising fee that a court can deny a legal practitioner whose name is on the roll the right of audience in Court. The Legal Practitioners Act, does not provide for any other circumstances for denying a Legal Practitioner the right of audience in court apart from the direction of the disciplinary committee or by implication from the constitution, as a result of an Order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Support for this view can be found in the decision of Benin High Court Presided by Justice Ogbonine, in the case of OLOYO V ALEGBE (1981) 2 NCLR 680, where his Lordship Ogbobine, J. rejected an objection against the appearance of Mr. Alegbe in court (and while leading other lawyers) for himself as the speaker of the Bendel State House of Assembly. Hear his Lordship. “I do not think it is right for any court to disqualify a Legal Practitioner from practicing his profession, except on very sound grounds set out under the Legal Practitioner’s Act and other enabling law and regulations made to that effect”. It is beyond reproach that the primary legislation that disqualifies any person whose name is on the roll from acting as Barrister and or Solicitor officially or in private is sections 8 (2) of the Legal Practitioner’s Act, which deals with payment of practicing fee.’

— S. Kado J. Akazor Gladys & Ors. V. Council of legal education (NICN/ABJ/346/2017, 20th day of March 2019)

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LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ARE TO KEEP ABREAST WITH THE PRONOUNCEMENTS OF THE SUPREME COURT

The Supreme Court had re-emphasized the binding effect of its judgments on the lower courts in the case of ODEDO v PDP & ORS (2015) LPELR-24738(SC), where Kekere-Ekun, JSC stated at page 65, paras. B – E, as follows: “The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. By virtue of Section 235 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 its decisions are final. In other words, a decision of the Apex Court settles the position of the law in respect of a particular issue and becomes a binding precedent for all other courts of record in Nigeria. Legal practitioners have a responsibility to keep abreast of the pronouncements of the Court and advise their clients accordingly. It is wrong to ignore decisions of this Court and seek to perpetuate a position that has already been pronounced upon. This is one of the causes of congestion in our courts and must be discouraged.”

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DRAWING UNINTENDED CONCLUSIONS FROM JUDGES STATEMENTS

Sir James Bacon, V.C., said in Green’s Case (1874) L.R. 18 Eq C.A. 428:- “In the judgments which Judges pronounce, this is inevitable, that having their minds full, not only of the cases before them, but of all the principles involved in the cases which have been referred to, it very often happens that a Judge, in stating as much as is necessary to decide the case before him, does not express all that may be said upon the subject. That leaves the judgment open sometimes to misconstruction, and enables ingenious advocates by taking out certain passages, to draw conclusions which the Judge never meant to be drawn from the words he used.”

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SENIOR ADVOCATES SHOULD BE PROFESSIONAL IN ACTS

Learned Senior Advocates, being not only officers of the Court but supposedly noble and worthy knights in the temple of justice should be more silky in the administration of justice, particularly in election or pre-election disputes. I will, at any time, hate to recall the antonyms of the word “silky” in relation to the manner they conduct themselves in the Court. A baseless and frivolous categorization of the political leaders as criminals has its negative reciprocal bearing on the total image of the Nation. – Ejembi Eko JSC. APC v. Obaseki (2021)

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PROCESS SIGNED BY A FIRM OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS IS NOT VALID IN LAW

The said section 573(1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act Provides as follows:- ‘Every individual firm or corporation having a place of business in Nigeria and carrying on business under a business name shall be registered in the manner provided in this part of this Act The above is not an authority that can be relied upon to uphold the view that a process signed and filed by a firm of legal practitioners which has no live is valid in law. The general provision of the law as in section 573(1) of Companies and Allied Matters Act is subject to the specific provisions of section 2(1) and 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act. See: FMBN v. Olloh (2002) 4 SC (Pt. 11) 177 at 122-123; Kraps Thompson Org.v. NIPSS (2004) 5 SC (Pt.1) 16 at 20-21.

— J.A. Fabiyi, JSC. FBN v. Maiwada (2012) – SC.269/2005

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A COUNSEL WHO SETTLES A PROCESS IS ALSO A COUNSEL IN THE MATTER

A counsel who settles a process in a court is also a counsel in the matter and it cannot be right as held at the trial that Igboekwe Esq. was not a counsel or had not appeared for the appellants. The said Igboekwe Esq. had been specifically mentioned in the application for adjournment as the senior in chambers who will handle the reply to the application that was moved.

— Danjuma, JCA. Tony Anthony Nig. Ltd & Ors. v. NDIC (CA/L/630/2009 • 25 January 2011)

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