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Lawyers involved in professional misconduct will be shown way out – CJNS

  • Disciplinary committee receives 123 petitions, debarred 16 lawyers, suspends 10 in 3 years

THE acting Chief of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Tuesday warned that any lawyer that refuses to practice within the acceptable standards and tenets of the legal profession would be shown the way out of legal practice by the Body of Benchers.

Speaking at the Call to Bar ceremony of a total of 4, 225 candidates, organised by the Nigerian Law School in Abuja, Justice Onnoghen said the Body of Benchers would not hesitate to show any lawyer the way out of practice if he/she falls short of expected standards.

He said where a lawyer runs short of professional ethics and act in ways and manners that seek to undermine the legal profession or harmful to the client’s interest and the system of administration of justice in general, the control mechanism of the profession would be invoked.

According to the acting CJN, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Body of Benchers, the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Body of Benchers was established to consider and determine allegations of misconduct against legal practitioners.

Justice Onnoghen disclosed that16 lawyers have so far been debarred and 10 suspended out of the 123 petitions filed at the registry of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of the Body of Benchers between January 2013 and November this year.

He said 35 lawyers were discharged while 62 petitions are currently pending before the committee

Onnoghen said as custodians of the rule of law and ministers in the temple of justice, lawyers should ensure that the wheels of justice keep turning in the right direction and charged the ‘new wigs’ to always strive to attain justice and avoid “sharp practices.

While calling for a cordial relationship between lawyers and judges, the acting CJN added that, “The relationship between a judge and a lawyer is unique and therefore should exist in professional terms.

“The future of the legal profession and indeed, the society depends upon the understanding of the roles of the lawyer and the judge and the way they interact in the discharge of their duties for the common good,” he said.

He said the Bar and the Bench play important roles in the administration of justice and those issues affecting them should be addressed through the appropriate channels.

Earlier in his speech, the Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Olanrewaju Onadeko (SAN), highlighted the continuing violation of the given admission quotas by some law faculties, which he said is impacting negatively on the quality of the products and the training projections at the Nigerian Law School.

Onadeko said some law faculties have had their accreditation withdrawn for not adhering to the decision of the Council of Legal Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC) in this regard.

He said there should be a correlation between the requirement for the services of lawyers and the number of lawyers being licenced, so as to sustain quality and ensure meaningful growth.

The Law School DG frowned at a situation where lawyers address newsmen, “with their slant of what transpired in court after each hearing. Counsel should never express his personal view, confidence or conviction in his case. Such course is unnecessary, irregular and fraught danger”.

He called on the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to take up the matter with a view to ensuring that lawyers fall in line with what should be.

A total of 4, 225 candidates, who were successful at the August/September 2016 Bar final examinations, as well as 50 candidates from the previous Bar final examinations were called to Bar.