Ex-NBA Chief, Ubani Sues Malami Over Attempt To Amend Lawyers’ Rules Of Professional Conduct

Ex-NBA Chief, Ubani Sues Malami Over Attempt To Amend Lawyers’ Rules Of Professional Conduct

Ex-NBA Chief, Ubani Sues Malami Over Attempt To Amend Lawyers’ Rules Of Professional Conduct

Former Vice-president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, has filed a suit against the Attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, over the amendment of the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners (RPC), 2007.

The AGF had amended the RPC deleting the provisions which require lawyers to attach the NBA stamp and seal on court processes, a move that some lawyers have described as a calculated attempt to weaken the Association.

In a suit filed before a federal high court, Ubani asked the court to determine whether the AGF has the power to “unilaterally, alter, amend and or make any rules of professional conduct, without a proper meeting of the general council of the bar, duly convened, and notices thereof, issued to other members of the general council of the bar.”

Ubani submitted that section 12(4) of the Legal Practitioners Act in which Malami relied upon to make the amendment, does not donate unilateral power to the AGF to amend the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners.

Rather, he said sections 1(1&2) and 12(4) of the Act confer powers on the general council of the bar, which consists of not just the AGF, but also attorney general of states and 20 members of the NBA.

He, therefore, prayed the court to declare the said amendment as “unconstitutional”.

To enable him proceed with the suit, Ubani also asked the court to nullify section 23A of the Legal Practitioners Act (as amended), which prohibits a person from instituting legal action with respect to the management of the affairs of the NBA, for being inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.

Ubani also urged the court to declare the unilateral amendment and the gazetting, of Rules, 9(2),10,11,12 and 13, of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, on the 3rd of September 2020, via the statutory instrument No 15 of 2020, by the 1st Defendant, as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, ultra vires, and therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Nkem Okoro, who jointly filed the action with Monday Ubani Esq, told Thepledge that in the said Originating summons, they also asked the court to declare the provisions of section 23A of the Legal Practitioners Act, as unconstitutional for taking away the right of access to court by lawyers.

No date has however been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

The Pledge

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