The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on Saturday raised a 23-member committee to review the legal profession in Nigeria, amid concerns over falling standards of legal education and practice.
The panel was constituted by Abubakar Mahmoud, the chairman of the NBA, and is to be headed by Anthony Idigbe, while Aminu Gamawa will serve as the secretary.
“The Nigerian Bar Association has repeatedly expressed concerns in the falling standard of legal education and legal practice,” the NBA said in a statement Saturday night. “This is a disturbing phenomenon that must be addressed urgently and adequately.”
Isiaka Olagunju, the secretary of the NBA who signed the statement, said the committee was expected to submit its report on or before April 30.
The key issues on the committee’s agenda are listed as follows:
1. To review the current regulatory objectives and the regulatory architecture of the legal profession and advise on its suitability to meet the current requirements for a robust, responsive and independent modern legal profession in Nigeria;
2. To determine on whether the Nigerian Bar Association should retain both its regulatory and representative functions in the legal profession and if so, what necessary measures should be put in place to strengthen these roles and ensure that neither is compromised.
3. In particular, to review the role of the Body of Benchers, the General Council of the Bar, the Council for Legal Education, the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association in the regulation of the legal profession and determine if the roles being played by these institutions and organs are appropriate to meet the needs of a robust and modern and independent legal profession in Nigeria;
4. To determine for instance, given the current composition of the Body of Benchers, if its role should not be formal and ceremonial limited to formal call to bar and formal disbarment of members of the legal profession, whilst ceding the more rigorous duty of regulation to the more appropriate organs either of the NBA or the General Council of the Bar or any desirable agency.
5. To obtain the proposed bills for review of the Legal Practitioners Act pending at the National Assembly and review same in the light of the recommendations arising from the work of the committee envisaged in these TOR;
6. To review the current standards for admission into the Nigerian Bar and recommend changes. In particular determine whether the current threshold of 40% as pass mark for bar examinations at the Nigerian Law School is realistic and determine how such thresholds compare with entry requirements into the legal professions across Africa and the rest of the world and make appropriate recommendations.
7. To examine given the current size of the legal profession, its exponential growth in recent years relative to the needs of the Nigerian economy, the desirability of candidates seeking admission to the law faculties in Nigeria to possess a degree in another discipline as a condition for admission.
8. To review the ethical requirements for admission into the legal profession and determine the adequacy of such requirements and how best to maintain high ethical and professional standards in the legal profession.
9. To determine if aside from admission to the bar there should be a separate requirement for licensing law offices and advise how best to regulate and monitor such licensing.
10. To advise on the need to introduce a system of pupilage into the legal profession and advise on the duration and how best to administer such a system of pupilage.
11. To make any appropriate recommendations the Task Force deems necessary or to achieve the objective of strengthening the legal profession in Nigeria.
Members of Legal Profession Regulation Review Committee are :
1. Anthony Idigbe,SAN -Chairman
2. Prof Konyinsola Ajayi,SAN -Member
3. Mrs Funke Adekoya,SAN -Member
4. Prof. Auwalu Yadudu -Member
5. Mrs Bisi Shoyebo,SAN -Member
6. Chief Arthur Obi Okafor,SAN -Member
7. Prof Ernest Ojukwu,SAN -Member
8. Mr Olanrewaju Onadeko,SAN -Member
9. Dr. Mike Adeleke -Member
10. Prof Ikpeze Ogugua -Member
11. Dr Aminu Gamawa -Secretary
12. Prof Dakas C.J Dakas,SAN -Member
13. Prof Augustine Agom -Member
14. Paul Usoro,SAN -Member
15. Prof Taiwo Osipitan,SAN -Member
16. Yakubu Maikyau,SAN -Member
17. Prof Osita Ogbu -Member
18. Prof U.U Chuckwuema-Eze -Member
19. Mr. Rotimi Odusola -Member
20. Patricia Igwebuike Esq -Member
21. Prof. M. L. Ahmadu -Member
22. Mrs. Sade Aladeniyi
23. Mr. Eric Otojahi -Assistant Secretary