A Federal High Court in has cleared the coast for the registration of a new association of lawyers in Nigeria, following the repeated clamor by rival groups of the Nigerian Bar Association.
This followed a judgement delivered on 15 December, 2023, for the registration of; The Nigerian Law Society, Nigerian Bar Society, Nigerian Lawyers’ Society, and The Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria.
In the action which was the first of its kind in the country, Justice Gladys Olotu, ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) “to approve for registration and thereafter register any of the proposed names submitted to it on behalf of the plaintiffs, being: The Nigerian Law Society, Nigerian Bar Society, Nigerian Lawyers’ Society, and The Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria, and issue a certificate of registration to that effect”.
The plaintiffs in the suit were; Bolaji Ayorinde, Mela Audu Nunge, Garba Gajam, Emeka Ichoku, Chioma Ferguson and Tejumola Adigun, who sued the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), urging the Court to compel the defendant to register their association as legal practitioners in Nigeria.
The Court in its order held that “A declaration that it is unlawful and illegal for the defendant to refuse to register or impede the registration of the plaintiffs and/or lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and/or solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, admitted to practice law in Nigeria as an incorporated trustee of lawyers”.*
In the Certified True Copy judgment obtained by ait.live on Tuesday, the trail judge said, “The six declaratory reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are ordered as prayed”.
In the suit, the plaintiffs had contended that the names being considered for registration as a body of lawyers are not similar to that of the Nigerian Bar Association such that it could mislead the public.
The plaintiffs argued that the names submitted for approval and registration do not fall within the limits of restrictions and prohibitions contemplated under Section 852 of the law.
In 2022, the Enugu State High Court had declared the membership of NBA compulsory for lawyers called to the bar and practising in Nigeria.