NLS reacts to prospect of British lawyers practicing in Nigeria

Ogunsakin Mustapha
3 Min Read
Mr Kunle Ogunba SAN, President, NLS

A Nigerian lawyers association, Nigerian Law Society (NLS) on Tuesday reacted to the prospect of British lawyers practicing in Nigeria, warning that Nigerian lawyers may be shortchanged if proper rules of the inter-trade is not set properly.

NLS therefore called of the Federal Government to engage all stakeholders in the profession in a round table discussion before appending its signature to the deal.

There had been ‘rumours’ of a deal between the British and Nigerian governments bothering on allowing British lawyers to practice in Nigeria. However, NLS wondered how the deal will benefit Nigerians and indigenous lawyers.

NLS statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Bayo Akinlade reads:

The NLS is concerned about the news going round the Legal Community regarding an agreement between our government and the UK government that may give room for British Lawyers to Engage in Legal Practice in Nigeria.

We acknowledge that this is not a new concept or notion and there are already areas where British Lawyers (who may also be Nigerian Citizens) practice law in Nigeria as the requirements for this are set in our laws already.

However, in light of the shrinking professional space for Nigerian Lawyers to earn a living, we at NLS call on our Government to thoroughly consider this Agreement with the UK government by first calling all the stakeholders to the table to discuss the pros and cons.

It is not clear how this ‘Agreement’ will benefit Nigerians and the Legal Profession but a major area that must be considered before formalisation of any inter-trade on legal services must be the qualification requirements to practice law in Nigeria.

Furthermore there must be clear regulations as to whether legal services can be employed directly without first reference to Nigerian lawyers. If these are not considered, Nigerian lawyers may just be holding the short end of the stick.

We therefore use this medium to encourage government to broaden the scope of the legal profession in this country by making laws for compulsory use of lawyers in every area of governance and commerce.

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