Trace paths to follow
By Demola Akinyemi – Ilorin
Stakeholders have been urged to do what is necessary to urgently stop the dangerous drift in legal practice in Nigeria before it is too late.
Two senior Ilorin-based lawyers, Yusuf Ali SAN and Kehinde Eleja SAN, among other speakers, had this to say in their presentations at the one-day seminar on “Rethinking Ethical Values in the Practice of Law: The Role of Lawyers. “Organized by the Continuing Committee on Legal Education, of the Ilorin Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Kehinde Eleja said, “After all, as practitioners and according to the acceptable standard of ‘doctor, heal yourself’, legal practitioners must do what is necessary to stop the dangerous drift before it is too late.”
Eleja listed the dangerous drift prevailing in the nation’s legal practice to include “unfair treatment cases within the range of attorneys; breach of good faith and fair dealings with fellow attorneys; failure to comply with the prescribed scale with respect to remuneration for services; allow illegal collection of money; champerty; subtle advertising; display of outrageous or lousy signs and notices that are unreasonable in size and not sober; “
Others include, “making out-of-court statements about pending court cases that are calculated or reasonably capable of prejudging or interfering with a fair trial or court judgment in this regard; engaging in any activity that is calculated to win or that appears to gain special personal consideration in favor of the judge; breach of courtroom decorum and breach of the limits of the law in the course of client representation are more pronounced now than ever ”.
He also said that “a new dimension is that some attorneys now freely give their custom NBA stamps (Seal) to non-attorneys to be affixed to documents (mainly settlements) prepared by non-attorneys for a fee (usually a misery). ) thus allowing non-lawyers to practice law.
“The practice of lawyers acting as guarantors for their clients in criminal matters is another worrying one, while there are allegations that some of our colleagues serve as a conduit for awarding awards to criminal investigators. The list is endless. “
Yusuf Ali SAN, who requested a sanction for errant lawyers also said, “However, we must acknowledge the sad reality that our profession has witnessed in recent years, increasing reports of professional misconduct, corruption and violent practices with consequent consequences. negative in the administration of Justice. “
He also noted that “the sad decline in adherence to the ethics of the legal profession by legal professionals in Nigeria is not due to the absence of laws and regulations, but mainly as a result of ineffective enforcement.
“Therefore, the solution to the problem is not in the enactment of more laws and regulations by headquarters, but in strengthening the willpower of lawyers to cooperate and ensure that the rules as they exist are followed without exception.”
Ali added that the legal profession has been considered since time immemorial, “as a profession of highly qualified people and therefore, he wishes at all times, to demonstrate to the end users of his services, that the members of the profession are not only professionals” . healthy but morally upright.
“Therefore, an attorney must adhere to established standards and practices that do not impair the provision of professional services of the highest skill and quality at all times.”
Ali also said: “We should all be prepared to be guardians of the legal profession, so we should all be willing to play the role of whistleblower on the unpleasant behavior of colleagues in the profession.
“We are all responsible for the continued respect and place of honor that the noble profession has always enjoyed. Either we do the right thing or we say goodbye to our dear and beloved profession.
“We all need to take a hint from the way police officers treat lawyers now, it was not like that when some of us entered the profession about four decades ago.”
Earlier in his speech, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin Branch, Abdulganiyu Bello, said that the program was part of continuing legal education aimed at developing the ability of lawyers to improve their performance for efficient legal practice and effective.
Speaking on the same topic “Rethinking Ethical Values in Law Practice: The Role of Lawyers”, he said the topic is highly relevant in light of recent events in Nigeria as the courts have been under lock and key for more than two weeks. as a result of industrial action undertaken by JUSUN members.
The NBA president emphasized the need for state governors to show political will on the issue of judicial autonomy and ensure the immediate implementation of the policy.
He reiterated the NBA’s commitment to continue to lend its voice to the immediate implementation of judicial autonomy with a view to promoting the rule of law and the administration of justice.