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COUNSEL SHOULD NOT MANUFACTURE FACTS IN COURT

Dictum

Learned counsel should refrain from manufacturing facts to suit the interest of his client. As a minister in the Temple of Justice, counsel should always be guided by raw facts as disclosed by the evidence before the Court. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, learned counsel should heed to this advice against the future.

– Adamu Jauro, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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COUNSEL FIRST DUTY IS TO THE COURT

Learned counsel, as officers in the temple of justice have a sacred duty to assist the court to do substantial justice in any matter before it. His first duty is to the court. The second to his client. It is almost five years to the day since the ruling complained of was delivered. Precious judicial time and resources have been wasted pursuing technicalities.

– Kekere-Ekun JCA. Adewoyin v. Executive Governor (2011)

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COUNSEL (APPEARING FOR HIMSELF) WILL HAVE HIS MISTAKES VISITED ON HIM

In Kotoye v Saraki 1995 NWLR (Pt.395) 256, in circumstances where the party (who is also a legal practitioner) took a decision not to appeal. Uwais J.S.C (as he then was) at Pages 7 and 8 said: “Any act of gambling involves risk taking and no gambler can claim not to be aware of that. When a counsel makes a mistake, such mistake or its consequence should not, in general, be visited on his client who, in most cases is a layman. Can the defendant/applicant who has been or is a legal practitioner be such a client? I certainly think not. There is therefore, no good reason given for the delay bringing this application.”

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IMPORTANCE OF LAWYERS IN THE SOCIETY

DENNING, MR., in Pett v. Grey Hound Racing Association (No. 1) (1968) 2 ALL E.R. 545 at 549: “It is not every man who has the ability to defend himself on his own. He cannot bring out the points in his own favour or the weakness in the other side. He may be tongue-tied, nervous, confused or (even) wanting in intelligence. He cannot examine or cross-examine witnesses. We see it every day! A magistrate says to a man: You can ask any questions you like, whereupon the man immediately starts to make speech. If justice is to be done, he ought to have the help of someone to speak for him, and who better than a lawyer who has been trained for the task?”

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WHERE COUNSEL ABSENT, BRIEF WILL BE DEEMED ADOPTED

The Respondent’s Brief of Argument dated and filed on 3rd November, 2020, which was settled by Adedotun Ishola Osobu Esq, was deemed adopted pursuant to Order 19 Rule 9(4) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2016.

— A.B. Mohammed, JCA. ITDRLI v NIMC (2021) – CA/IB/291/2020

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COURT CANNOT QUESTION COUNSEL ON INSTRUCTION TO ACT FOR CLIENT

Again, a Court lacks jurisdiction to look into whether or not a counsel has instruction or briefing of his client to appear in Court. See State V Mathew (2018) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1625) 399, 412. It is only the party that is being represented by counsel that can question the representation.

– Ekanem JCA. C.O.P. v. Doolor (2020) – CA/MK/182/2017

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WHO IS A LEGAL PRACTITIONER

However, a legal practitioner is a person entitled according to the provision of section 24 of Legal Practitioners Act, 1990 to practice as a barrister or as barrister and solicitor either generally or for the purpose of any particular office or proceedings.

– C. M. Chukwuma-eneh, J.S.C. Okafor v. Nweke (2007) – SC.27/2002

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