A new gazette by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has purportedly weakened the powers of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
In a report by Punch, Malami amended the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007, removing the requirement for the NBA’s stamp and seal on court processes.
Before now, membership of the NBA was compulsory for all lawyers and the stamps and seals were sold at N4,000 for 72 pieces and were given upon payment of NBA dues.
Without the stamp, a lawyer could not submit any document or letter to the court and the sale of the stamp and seal was one of the major sources of NBA’s revenue.
However, with the amendment of the process by Malami, the use of the stamps is no longer necessary. This also implies that persons who are not members of the NBA, including non-lawyers, are allowed to submit court processes.
The gazette – marked S.I N0.15 of 2020 issued by AGF and dated September 3, 2020, reads in part, “In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 12(4) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap L11, LFN 2004 and of all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and President, General Council of the Bar, make the following rules:
“The Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007 is amended by deleting the following rules, namely: 9(2), 10, 11, 12 and 13.
“These rules may be cited as the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Rules, 2020.”