Tag: NBA

The Wasteful Practice Of Affixing Two NBA Seals To A Motion By Olumide Olugbenga Ajayi Esq

There is the need to curb the wasteful requirement of affixing more than one seal on a Motion before it is accepted for filing in our Court Registries.

When a Motion is being filed at the Registry, the Court Officials usually insist that the person filing should affix a seal to the Motion and another seal to the Written Address attached to the same Motion.

I have complained several times to the Court Officials about this superfluity at the Registry of the Ikeja division of the Lagos High Court that the use of two seals on a motion is irrational. The unanimous response from the Court officials was that they are acting on the directive of the ACR (Assistant Chief Registrar) as mandated by the Nigeria Bar Association.

It is obvious that the use of two seals on a Motion is a wasteful practice. The essence of a seal among others is to check the incursions of touts and fake lawyers into the profession and to compel practicing lawyers to pay their annual Practising Fees. Therefore, affixing one seal on a Motion paper fulfils the above purposes. The mischief has been cured by affixing a seal on the Motion and that same seal should cover other processes accompanying the Motion such as Written Address since it is the same counsel that signs the Motion that equally signs the Written Address. The Rules of Court makes it clear that a Motion is a single document along with the Written Address. The exception to the above is when another counsel deposes to the Affidavit In Support of such Motion, in that case the separate Counsel needs to affix his seal to the Affidavit.

The Court Official’s further justification for this obvious wrong is that the directive is to the effect that lawyers affix their seal on every page where their signature appears on the Motion; that means they will soon require that another seal be affixed to the List of Authorities. This is way off the mark. That invariably implies that if one is filing a fresh matter one will need about five seals to cover every document accompanying the Writ wherein one’s signature appears.

Contrary to this practice, Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007 provides for the use of “A SEAL” per document/process

“A lawyer acting in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any Government department or Ministry of any corporation shall not sign or file A LEGAL DOCUMENT unless there is affixed on any such document A SEAL AND STAMP approved by the Nigerian Bar Association.

Rule 10(2) of the same guideline vividly captures Motions as “application” which requires just a seal.

If indeed the assertion by the High Court of Lagos State Registry Official that the insistence on two seals on a Motion paper as being peddled by the Nigerian Bar Association is anything to go by, it means her manifest intention is to allow members exhaust their 96 seals before March 31 of every year or to make it necessary for lawyers to purchase more than one pack of seals every year. All these are to the undue advantage of the Nigerian Bar Association by generating funds at the detriment of her members. This official endorsement of wastefulness must stop.

Olumide Olugbenga Ajayi Esq, can be reached via oluyimide@gmail.com

NBA Awards LEDAP for Criminal Justice Reforms

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Criminal Justice Reform Committee held its 5th Criminal Justice Reform Conference in Asaba, Delta State from the 24th – 27th April 2018. At the closing dinner of the Conference, a number of distinguished stakeholders were honoured for their immense contributions to the progress of criminal justice administration in the country.

Mr Chino Obiagwu being presented with the award by Delta State Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor
Mr Chino Obiagwu being presented with the award by Delta State Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor

The national coordinator of LEDAP, Mr Chino Obiagwu was one of those honoured for his outstanding contributions in the reform of criminal justice administration in Nigeria. According to the NBA, the award was made in recognition of Mr Obiagwu’s role as the Chairman of the National Working Group on the Reform of Criminal Justice in Nigeria between 2004 and 2009, which prepared the first draft of the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill (ACJA) that was eventually passed into an Act of the National Assembly in 2015.

Chino Obiagwu (left) and the other awardees

Other awardees at the well attended conference were Prof Yemi Akinseye-George SAN who was the secretary of the working group and later secretary of the Panel on Justice Reform, Fola Arthur Worry, a member of the Working Group and former Director of Public Prosecutions of Lagos state, Deji Adekunle the DG of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and a champion of ACJA, as well as the current President of NBA Mr. A.B. Mahmoud SAN, J.B. Daudu SAN and G. A. Tetengi SAN who were the past chairmen of the NBA Criminal Justice Committee. Also honoured was the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa for his support to NBA’s criminal justice reform initiatives.

Institutional awards were also given to the MacArthur Foundation for supporting criminal justice reform over the years and to Yaradu’a Center.