RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, RPC, IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION OF NIGERIA, 2007

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LEGAL PRACTITIONERS’ ETHICS INSTRUMENTSSTATUS
Rules of Professional Conduct, 1964Repealed
Rules of Professional Conduct, 2007Active/Amended
Rules of Professional Conduct (Amendment) 2020Active
Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee Rules, 2006Repealed
Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee Rules 2020Active
Legal Practitioners (Remuneration for Legal Documentation and other land Matters) Order 1991
Legal Practitioners ActActive

RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS 2007

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This Rule which repealed The Rules of Professional Conduct 1964 has been amended by the Rules of Professional Conduct, RPC, 2020. 

ARRANGEMENT OF RULES

A.     PRACTICE AS LEGAL PRACTITIONER.

Rule 1: General Responsibility of a lawyer.  

Rule 2: Duty as to admission into the legal profession. Rule 3: Aiding the unauthorized practice of the law. Rule 4: Avoidance of intermediary in the practice of the law. Rule 5: Association for legal practice.

Rule 6: Retirement from judicial position or public employment. Rule 7: Engagement in business.

Rule 8: Lawyers in salaried employment.

Rule 9: Practicing fees.

Rule 10: Seal and stamp.

Rule 11: Mandatory continuing legal education.

Rule 12: Practising certificate.

Rule 13: Notification of legal practice.

B. RELATION WITH CLIENTS

Rule 14: Dedication and devotion to the cause of the client. Rule 15: Representing client within the bound of the law. Rule 16: Representing client competently.

Rule 17: Conflict of interest.

Rule 18: Agreement with client.

Rule 19: Privilege and confidence of a client.

Rule 20: Lawyer as witness for client.

Rule 21: Withdrawal from employment.

Rule 22: Calling at client’s house or place of business.

Rule 23: Dealing with client’s property.

Rule 24: Responsibility for litigation.

Rule 25: Investigation of facts and production of witness.

C. RELATIONS WITH OTHER LAWYERS

Rule 26: Fellowship and precedence. Rule 27: Good faith and fairness among lawyers. Rule 28: Associating in a matter.  

Rule 29: Change of lawyer.

D. RELATION WITH THE COURT.

Rule 30: Lawyer as officer of court.

Rule 31: Duty and conduct of lawyer to court. Rule 32: Candid and fair dealing.

Rule 33: Trial Publicity.

Rule 34: Relation with Judges.

Rule 35: Lawyer and Tribunal.

Rule 36: Courtroom decorum.

Rule 37: Employment in criminal cases. Rule 38: Lawyer for indigent accused.

E. IMPROPER ATTRACTION OF BUSINESS

Rule 39: Advertising and soliciting.

Rule 40: Notepaper, envelopes and visiting cards. Rule 41: Signs and notices.

Rule 42: Books and articles.

Rule 43: Change of address.

Rule 44: Associate and Consultant.

Rule 45: Barrister’s and Senior Advocate’s robes. Rule 46: Press, Radio and Television. Rule 47: Instigating controversy and litigation.

F. REMUNERATION AND FEE

Rule 48: fees for legal service

Rule 49: Retainer.

Rule 50: Contingent fee arrangement.

Rule 51: Payment of the expenses of litigation. Rule 52: Fixing the amount of fee.

Rule 53: Division of fees.

Rule 54: Offer of compensation or gift by the other party. G. MISCELLANEOUS  

Rule 55: Enforcement of Rules.

Rule 56: Interpretation.

RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS

[Commencement:                                               …………………………2007…………….]

A.     PRACTICE AS LEGAL PRACTITIONER.

General responsibility of a lawyer.

1.     A lawyer shall uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the course of justice,      maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and shall not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

2.     Duty as to admission into the legal profession.

A lawyer shall not knowingly do any act or make any omission or engage in any conduct designed to lead to the admission into the legal profession of  a person who is unsuitable for admission by; reason of his moral character or  insufficient qualification or for any other reason.

3.     Aiding the unauthorized practice of the law.

(1)    A lawyer shall not-

        (a)    aid a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of the law;

        (b)    permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or  to make possible, the                       unauthorized practice of law by any person not qualified to practice or disqualified from                          practice;

        (c)    share legal fees with a non-lawyer except as provided in rule  53.

(2)    A lawyer shall not, in return for a fee, write or sign his name or permit his name to  be written or       signed on a document prepared by a non-lawyer as if prepared by him.

Avoidance of intermediary in the practice of the law.

4.     A lawyer shall not permit his professional services to be controlled or exploited by any lay agency, personal or corporate, which intervenes between him and the client. Charitable societies or another       institutions rendering aid to the indigent are not deemed to be such intermediaries.

5.     Association for legal practice.

(1)    A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer or with a lawyer who is not admitted to        practice law in Nigeria, if any of the activities of the partnership consists of the practice of law.

(2)    The name of a deceased or former partner may continue to be used as part of the name of a law     firm, provided it does not lead to an imposition or deception through the continued use of the    name.  

(3)    Where a member of a law firm becomes a Judge and is hereby precluded from practicing law, his        name, if it appears, shall be removed from the partnership name.

(4)    Where a lawyer practices alone, he shall not hold himself out as a partner in a firm of lawyers using a firm name such as “A, B and Co”, or such other name as may suggest that he is in partnership        with others.

(5)    It shall be unlawful to carry out legal practice as a corporation.

6.     Retirement from judicial position or public employment.

(1)    A lawyer shall not accept employment as an advocate in any matter upon the merits of which he        had previously acted in a judicial capacity.

(2)    A lawyer having once held public office or having been in the public employment shall not after his         retirement accept employment in connection with a  matter in respect of which he had previously         acted in a judicial capacity or on the  merit of which he had advised or dealt with in such office or employment.

(3)    A judicial officer who has retired shall not practice as an advocate in any Court of law or judicial     tribunal in Nigeria.

(4)    A judicial officer who has retired shall not sign pleading in any court.

(5)    A judicial officer who has retired may continue to use the word “Justice” as part of his name.

Engagement in business.

7. (1) Unless permitted by the General Council of the Bar (hereinafter referred to as the “Bar Council”), a lawyer shall not practice as a legal practitioner at the same time as he practices any other      profession.

(2)    A lawyer shall not practice as a legal practitioner while personally engaged in –

        (a)    the business of buying and selling commodities;

        (b)    the business of a commission agent;

        (c)    such other trade or business which the Bar Council may from  time to time declare to be                              incompatible with practice as a  lawyer or as tending to undermine the high standing of the                        profession.  

(3)    For the purpose of the rule, “trade or business” include all forms or  participation in any trade or       business, but does not include-

        (a)    membership of the Board of Directors of a company which does  not involve either executive,                         administrative or clerical functions;

        (b)    being Secretary of a company; or

        (c)    being a shareholder in a company.

Lawyers in salaried employment

8. (1) A lawyer, whilst a servant or in a salaried employment of any kind, shall not appear as advocate in    a court or judicial tribunal for his employer except where the lawyer is employed as a legal officer in        a Government department.

(2)    A lawyer whilst a servant or in a salaried employment, shall not  prepare, sign, or frank pleadings, applications, instrument, agreement, contract,  deed, letters, memorandum, report, legal opinion or    similar instruments or process  or file any such document for his employer.

(3)    A director of a registered company shall not appear as an advocate in  court or judicial tribunal for       his company.

(4)    A lawyer in a full-time salaried employment may represent his  employer as an officer or agent in        cases where the employer is permitted by law to  appear by an officer or agent, and in such cases,        the lawyer shall not wear robes.

(5)    An officer in the Armed Forces who is a lawyer may discharge any  duties devolving on him as such    officer and may appear at a Court Martial as long as  he does so in his capacity as an officer and not       as a lawyer.

9.     Practicing Fees.

 (1)   A lawyer shall pay his Annual Practicing Fees not later than 31st March  in every year. In the case of     lawyers who are enrolled during the year, the fees shall  be paid within one month of the enrolment.

(2)    A lawyer shall not claim in any court or before a judicial tribunal that he has paid his Annual       Practicing Fee when he is, in fact, in default.

(3)    A lawyer shall not sign documents, pleadings, affidavits, depositions,  applications, instruments,       agreements, letters, deeds, letters memorandum, reports,  legal opinions or similar documents or        process or file such documents as a legal  practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any Governmental   department or Ministry or  any corporation when he is in default of payment of his Annual Practicing   Fees.  

10.    Seal and Stamp.

(1)    A lawyer acting in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal office or  adviser of any Governmental     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.

(2)    For the purpose of this rule, “Legal documents” shall include pleadings, affidavits, depositions,        applications, instruments, agreements, deed letters,  memoranda, report, legal opinions or any similar documents.

(3)    If without complying with the requirements of this rule, a lawyer signs  or files any legal documents as defined in sub-rule (2) of this rule, and in any of the  capacities mentioned in sub-rule(1), the        document so signed or filed shall be deemed  not to have been properly signed or filed.

11.    Mandatory Continued Professional Development (CPD).

(1)    A lawyer who wishes to carry on practice as a legal practitioner shall participate in and satisfy the    requirements of the mandatory Continuing Professional  Development (CPD) Programme operated by the Nigerian Bar Association.

(2)    The activities in which a lawyer is required to participate for the  purpose of the CPD Programme of    the N.B.A. shall include-

        (a)    attendance and participation in accredited courses;

        (b)    lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences on law approved by the  N.B.A.

        (c)    writing on the law and its practice in books or Journals and Newspapers approved by  the                         Nigerian Bar Association.

        (d)    study towards professional qualifications approved by the Nigerian Bar Association;  and

        (e)    other approved means of acquiring legal professional knowledge and experience.

(3)    A lawyer shall be certified as having satisfied the  requirement of the CPD Programme if, and only if,    during the relevant year, he earns  the number of credit hours of participation in the programme which is required under  the rules made by the Nigerian Bar Association.

(4)    Until rules are made and provide other wise, the number of credit  hours required for each year shall   be as follows-  

        (a)    For lawyers from Admission up to 5 years…………..24hours

        (b)    for lawyers just five years up to ten years……………18hours

        (c)    for lawyers above ten years…………………………..12hours

(5)    The Nigerian Bar Association shall establish a Continuing Professional Development department in     its office for the operation of the Programme.

(6)    The Nigerian Bar Association shall make rules for regulating the operation of the CPD Programme        and such rules may provide for the following matters-

        (a)    the number of credit hours of participation required of a legal  practitioner;

        (b)    the types of activities and studies that are acceptable for earning the credit; (c) persons that                  may be exempted from the requirements of the  programme; and

        (d)    other matters which in its opinion are necessary for the operation of  the Programme.

12.    Annual Practicing Certificate

(1)    Not later than a date in every year specified by it, the Nigerian Bar Association shall-

        (a)    publish a List of legal practitioners who have complied with the requirements of the  CPD                    Programme and have paid their practicing fees and are, therefore entitled to  practice as legal                  practitioners in that year (hereinafter referred to as the Annual  Practicing List); and

        (b)    issue a Practicing Certificate to a legal practitioner whose name is on the said Annual                               Practicing List, certifying that the has paid his Practicing Fee for the programme for  the year                    under the rules made for the purpose by the Nigerian Bar Association.

(2)    A lawyer shall obtain an Annual Certificate issued under this rule by  the Nigerian Bar Association         certifying that he has fulfilled the approved CPD  Programme under rules made for the purpose by      the Nigerian Bar Association.

(3)    A lawyer, unless he holds an Annual Practicing Certificate issued by the  NBA under this rule, shall     not, as a legal practitioner-

        (a)    conduct or take part in any proceedings in the court, judicial tribunal,  panes or Enquiry: or

        (b)    sign any documents, pleadings, affidavits, depositions, application,  instruments, agreements,                     deed, letters, memoranda, reports, legal  opinions and similar documents and processes; or        (c)    file any such documents as a legal practitioner, legal office, or adviser  of any Government                    Department or Ministry or any company or  corporation.  

13.    Notification of legal practice.

(1)    Every person who set up private legal practice either alone or in association or partnership with another or others shall, not later than thirty days after commencement of such legal practice and if he continues to carry the practice, deliver a Notice in the prescribed form to the Branch of the      Nigerian Bar Association within whose jurisdiction the law office is situated.

(2)    The Notice referred to in sub-section (1) of this rule shall state-

        (a)    the name of the legal practitioner;

        (b)    the address where the legal practice is carried on;

        (c)    the date when the legal practitioner was called to the Bar in Nigeria;  and

        (d)    the date when his name was entered in the Roll of Legal Practitioners  in Nigeria.

(3)    The Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association to which the Notice is delivered shall enter the particulars    in the Notice in a Register or Database kept for  that purpose.

(4)    Every legal practitioner, who after having been registered under sub rule (3), changes his name or    address for legal practice, shall deliver to the Branch where he is so registered a notice in the prescribed form showing particulars of the  changes made.

B.     RELATION WITH CLIENTS

14.    Dedication and devotion to the cause of the client.

(1)    It is the duty of a lawyer to devote his attention, energy and expertise to the service of his client         and subject to any rule of law, to act in manner consistent  with the best interest of the client.

(2)    Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1) of this rule, a lawyer shall-

        (a)    consult with his client in all questions of doubt which do not fall within his  discretion;  

        (b)    keep the client informed of the progress and any important development in  the cause or                       matter as may be reasonably necessary.

        (c)    warn his client against any particular risk which is likely to occur in the  course of the matter.

        (d)    respond as promptly as reasonably possible to request for information by the  client, and

        (e)    where he considers the client’s claim or defence to be hopeless, inform him  accordingly.

(3)    When representing a client, a lawyer may, where permissible, exercise  his independent professional      judgment to waive or fail to assert a right or position of  his client.

(4)    It is the duty of lawyer employed in respect of a Court case to be personally present or be properly     represented throughout the proceedings in Court.

(5)    Negligence in handling of a client’s affairs may be of such a nature as  to amount to professional        misconduct.

15.    Representing client within the bounds of the law.

(1)    In his representation of a client, a lawyer may refuse to aid or  participate in conduct that he      believes to be unlawful even though there is some  support for an argument that the conduct is       legal.  

(2)    In his representation of his client, a lawyer shall-

        (a)    keep strictly within the law notwithstanding any contrary instruction  by his client, and if the                  client insists on a breach of the law, the  lawyer shall withdraw his service;

        (b)    use his best endeavours to restrain and prevent his client from  committing misconduct or                     breach of the law with particular  reference to judicial officers, witnesses and litigants and if                     the client persists in his  action or conduct, the lawyer shall terminate their relations.

(3)    In his representation of his client, a lawyer shall not-

        (a)    give service of advise to the client which he knows or ought reasonably to  know is capable of                       causing disloyalty to, or breach of, the law, or binging  disrespect to the holder of a judicial                       office, or involving corruption of  holders of any public office;

        (b)    file a suit, assert a position, conduct a defence, delay a trial, or take over  action on behalf of                       his client when he knows or ought reasonably to know  that such action would serve merely to           harass or maliciously injure  another;

        (c)    knowingly advance a claim or defence that is unwarranted under existing law, but he  may                       advance such claim or defence if it can be supported by argument in good faith  for an                               extension, modification, or reversal or existing law;

        (d)    fail or neglect to inform his client of the option of alternative dispute resolution  mechanisms                       before resorting to or continuing litigation on behalf of his client.

        (e)    conceal or knowingly fail to disclose that which he is required by law to reveal.

        (f)     knowingly use perjured or false evidence.

        (g)    knowingly make a false statement of law or fact;

        (h)    participate in the creation or preservation of evidence when he knows or  ought reasonably to                     know that the evidence is false;

        (i)     counsel or assist his client in conduct that the lawyer knows to be illegal or  fraudulent; or

        (j)     knowingly engage in other illegal conduct or conduct contrary to any of these rules.

(4)    Where in the course of his representation of his client a lawyer  receives clearly established         information that the client has perpetrated a fraud upon  a person or tribunal, he shall promptly call       on his client to rectify it, and if his client  refuses or is unable to do so he shall reveal the fraud to     the affected person or  tribunal, except when the information is a privileged communication; and if        the  person who perpetrated the fraud is not his client, the lawyer shall promptly reveal  the fraud to     the tribunal.  

(5)    A lawyer shall not assert in argument his personal belief in the integrity of his client or of his     witnesses or in the justice of his cause, but he may make a fair analysis of the evidence touching       on those matters.

16.    Representing client competently.

(1)    A lawyer shall not-

        (a)    handle a legal matter which he knows or ought to know that he is not competent to  handle,                  without associating with him a lawyer who is competent to handle it, unless  the client objects;

        (b)    handle a legal matter without adequate preparation;

        (c)    neglect a legal matter entrusted to him; or

        (d)    attempt to exonerate himself from or limit his ability to his client for his  personal malpractice                    or professional misconduct.

17.    Conflict of interest.

(1)    A lawyer shall, at the time of the retainer disclose to the client all the  circumstances of his relations    with the parties, and any interest in or connection with  the controversy which might influence the     client in the selection of the lawyer.

(2)    Except with the consent of his client after full disclosure, a lawyer shall not accept a retainer if the     exercise of his professional judgment on behalf of his  client will be or may reasonably be affected by his own financial, business, property,  or personal interest.

(3)    A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation       which he is conducting for a client, except that he  may-

        (a)    acquire a lien granted by law to secure his fees and expenses; or

        (b)    contract with a client for a reasonably contingent fee in a civil case.

(4)    A lawyer shall not accept a proffered employment if the exercise of his  independent professional        judgment on behalf of a client will be or is likely to be  adversely affected by the acceptance of the proffered employment, or if it is likely to  involve him in representing differing interests, unless it is      obvious that the lawyer  can adequately represent the interest of each, and each consents to the  representation after full disclosure of the possible effect of such representing on the  exercise of his         independent professional judgment on behalf of each.

(5)    A lawyer shall not appear as counsel for a client in legal proceedings  in which the lawyer is himself a party.  

(6)    Where a lawyer is required to decline employment or to withdraw from  employment under any of       these rules, no partner, or associate, or any other lawyer  affiliated with him or his firm, may accept or continue such employment.

18.    Agreement with client

(1)    A client shall be free to choose his lawyer and to dispense with his  services as he deems fit; provided that nothing in this rule shall absolve the client  from fulfilling any agreed or implied        obligations to the lawyer including the payment  of fees.

(2)    The lawyer shall ensure that important agreements between him and  the client are, as far as    possible reduced into writing, but it is dishonorable and a  misconduct for the lawyer to avoid   performance of a contract fairly made with his  client whether reduced into writing or not.

19.    Privilege and confidence of a client.

(1)    Except as provided under sub-rule (3) of this rule, all oral or written communications made by a client to his lawyer in the normal course of professional  employment are privileged.

(2)    Except as provided in sub-rule (3) of this rule, a lawyer shall not knowingly-

        (a)    reveal a confidence or secret of his client;

        (b)    use a confidence or secret of his client to the disadvantage of the  client; or

        (c)    Use a confidence or secret of his client for the advantage of himself or  of a third person                                unless the client consents after full disclosure.

(3)    A lawyer may reveal-

        (a)    confidences or secrets with the consent of the client or clients affected, but  only after a full                   disclosure to them.

        (b)    confidences or secrets when permitted under these rules or required  law or a Court order;

        (c)    the intention of his client to commit a crime and the information  necessary to prevent the                        crime;  

        (d)    confidences or secrets necessary to establish or collect his fee or to  defend himself or his                      employees or associates against an  accusation of wrongful conduct.

(4)    A lawyer shall exercise reasonable care to prevent his employees, associates and others whose      services are utilized by him from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of a client, but a lawyer     may reveal the information allowed  by sub-rule (3) through his employee.

(5)    A lawyer shall not in any way communicate upon the subject of controversy or negotiate or        compromise the matter with the other party who is  represented by a lawyer; and he shall deal only       with the lawyer of the other party in  respect of the matter.

(6)    A lawyer shall avoid anything that may tend to mislead an opposing  party who is not represented        by a lawyer and shall not undertake to advise him as to  the law.

20.    Lawyer as witness for client.

(1)    Subject to sub-rule (2) of this rule a lawyer shall not accept to act in  any contemplated or pending      litigation if he knows or ought reasonably to know that  he or a lawyer in his firm may be called or      ought to be called as a witness.

(2)    A lawyer may undertake an employment on behalf of a client and he or a lawyer in his firm may       testify for the client-

        (a)    if the testimony will relate solely to an uncounted matter;

        (b)    if the testimony will relate solely to a matter of formality and there is no  reason to believe                         that substantial evidence will be offered in opposition to  the testimony;

        (c)    if the testimony will relate solely to the nature and value of legal  services rendered in the                   case by the lawyer or his firm to the client; or

        (d)    as to any matter if refusal would work a substantial hardship on the  client because of the                    distinctive value of the lawyer or his firm as  lawyer in the particular case.

(3)    When a lawyer knows, prior to trial that he would be a necessary witness except as to merely   formal matters, neither he nor his firm may conduct the trial.  

(4)    If after undertaking employment in contemplated or pending litigation, a lawyer learns or it is      obvious that he or a lawyer in his firm ought to be called as witness on behalf of his client, he shall   withdraw from the conduct of the trial and his  firm, if any, shall not continue representation in the   trial, but he or a lawyer in his  firm may testify in the circumstances enumerated in sub-rule (2) of      this rule.

(5)    If after undertaking employment in a contemplated or pending litigation, a lawyer learns or it is      obvious that he or a lawyer in his firm may be called as a witness other than on behalf of his client,   he may continue the  representation until it is apparent that his testimony is or may be prejudicial to         the  client.

(6)    If during the trial, the lawyer discovers that the ends of justice require his testimony, he should   from that point on, if feasible and not prejudicial to the  client’s case, leave further conduct of the trial to other counsel, but if circumstances  do not permit this, the lawyer shall not argue the     credibility of his own testimony.

21.    Withdrawal from employment. 

(1)    A lawyer shall not abandon or withdraw an employment once assumed except for good cause.

(2)    Good cause for which the lawyer may be justified in withdrawing from the client’s employment       includes the following-

        (a)    conflict of interest between the lawyer and the client.

        (b)    where the client insists on an unjust or immoral course in the conduct  of his case;

        (c)    if the client persists against the lawyer’s advice and remonstrance in  pressing frivolous                             defences; or

        (d)    if the client deliberately disregards an agreement or obligation as to  payment of fees or                           expenses.

(3)    Where the lawyer is justified in withdrawing from the employment, he  shall give reasonable notice        to the client allowing him time to employ another  lawyer.

(4)    Where the lawyer withdraws from an employment after a fee had been  paid, he shall refund such         part of the fee as has not been clearly earned.

22.    Call at client’s house or place of business.

A lawyer shall not call at a client’s house or place of business for the purpose  of giving advice to, or taking instruments from, the client except in special  circumstances or for some other urgent reason preventing his client from coming to  his law office.

23.    Dealing with client’s property.

(1)    A lawyer shall not do any act whereby for his personal benefit or gain he abuses or takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by the client.

(2)    Where a lawyer collects money for his client, or is in position to deliver property on behalf of his       client, he shall promptly report, and account for it and shall not mix  such money or property with or    use it as, his own.

Responsibility for litigation

24. (1)       It is the duty of a lawyer to accept any briefs in the Court in which he  professes to practice    provided the proper professional fee is offered unless there are  special circumstances which justify         his refusal.

(2)    It is the duty of every lawyer on his own responsibility to decide what cases  he will bring into Court   for the Plaintiff and what cases he would contest in Court for  the Defendant; and he is not absolved         from bringing questionable action or arguing  questionable advice on the ground that he is only     following his client’s instructions.

 (3)   A lawyer shall not conduct a civil case or make defence in a civil case when  he knows or ought   reasonably to know that it is intended merely to harass or to  injure the opposite party or to work     oppression or wrong.

 (4)   The lawyer shall be responsible for taking decisions in respect of incidental  matters not affecting the merit of the case or operating to prejudice substantively  the right of a client and he shall not be      bound to do or refrain from doing anything contrary to his sense of honour or propriety simply       because his client demands that  he should do it.

(5)    In matters not directly affecting the merit of the case or operating to prejudice the rights of the        clients, the lawyer may, to the exclusion of his client,  determine what accommodations to be         granted to the opposing lawyer. 

(6)    For the purpose of this rule, the expression “incidental matters” includes matters such as fixing      time for trial for the opposing lawyer, and applying for or  resisting adjournment, account being taken of the circumstances of the opposing lawyer.

25.    Investigation of facts and Production of witnesses, etc.

(1)    Subject to the rules dealing with communications with the party, it shall be lawful for a lawyer to         interview any witness or prospective witness for the opposing side in any action without the consent    of the opposing counsel or party, but he shall not take any action calculated to secret a witness.

(2)    A lawyer shall not participate in a bargain with a witness either by contingent fee or otherwise as a    condition for giving evidence but this does not preclude payment of reasonable expenses incurred       for the purpose of giving the evidence.

(3)    A lawyer may advertise for witness to testify to a particular event or transaction but not to        witnesses to testify to a particular version of the event or transaction.

(4)    A lawyer shall not be unfair or abusive or inconsiderate to adverse witnesses or opposing litigants,        or ask any question only to insult or degrade the witness; and he shall not allow the unfair       suggestions or demands of his clients to influence his  action.

C.     RELATION WITH OTHER LAWYERS

26.    Fellowship and Precedence

(1)    Lawyers shall treat one another with respect, fairness, consideration and dignity, and shall not allow     any ill-feeling between opposing clients to influence their conduct and demeanor towards one         another or towards the opposing clients.

(2)    Lawyers shall observe among one another the rules of precedence as laid  down by law, and subject to this, all lawyers are to be treated on the basis of  equality of status.

27.    Good faith and fairness among lawyers

(1)    A lawyer shall observe good faith and fairness in dealing with, another  lawyer.

(2)    Without prejudice to the generality of sub-rule (1) of this rule, a lawyer –

        (a)    shall observe strictly all promises or agreements with other opposing lawyers  whether oral or                   in writing and whether in or out of court, and shall adhere in good  faith to all agreements                         implied by the circumstances of the case.

        (b)    shall, where he gives a personal undertaking and does not expressly or clearly  disclaim                             personal liability thereunder, honour his undertaking promptly; and

        (c)    shall not take an undue advantage of the predicament or misfortune of the opposing  lawyer                         or client.

 (3)   A lawyer shall not hand over his brief to another lawyer to hold, and that  other shall not accept the    brief, unless the brief is handed over in reasonable time for  the receiving lawyer to acquire   adequate grasp of the matter.

(4)    Where a lawyer is aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that a person is  already represented by   another lawyer in a particular matter, he shall not have any  dealing with that person in respect of       the same matter without giving notice to the  other lawyer. The lawyer accepting the instructions     shall use his best endeavours to  ensure that all the fees due to the other lawyer in the matter are    paid.

(5)    During the course of his representation of a client, a lawyer shall not: 

        (a)    communicate, or cause another to communicate, on the subject of the representation with the                 party he knows to be represented by a lawyer in that matter  unless he has the prior consent                  of the lawyer representing such party or is  authorized by law to do so; or

        (b)    give advice to a person who is not represented by a lawyer in the matter  or cause.

28.    Associating in matter

(1)    It is the right of the client to proffer, either on his own, or on the advice of  his lawyer, the service of additional lawyer in a matter.

(2)    Where a lawyer is employed by a client to join the original lawyer, the latter lawyer shall decline if it is objectionable to the original lawyer, but if the original lawyer is relieved of his retainer by the        client or he withdraws, the latter lawyer may  come into the matter; and in that case, he shall use his best endeavours to ensure  that all the fees due to the other lawyer in the matter are paid.

(3)    When lawyers jointly associated in a course cannot agree as to any matter  vital to the interest of     the client, the conflict or opinion shall be frankly stated to the  client for his determination, and his     decision shall be final provided that where the  nature of the differences makes it impracticable for    the lawyer whose judgment has  been overruled to cooperate effectively, he shall withdraw from the         employment.

29.    Change of lawyer

(1)    Where a client changes is lawyer on a pending matter, the new lawyer shall-

        (a)    promptly give notice the former lawyer; and

        (b)    use his best endeavours to ensure that the former lawyer is paid his earned fees.

(2)    Where in litigation, a client changes his lawyer, both the old lawyer and new lawyer  shall give   notice of the change to the court.

 (3)   When a client changes his lawyer –

        (a)    the client is entitled to –

                (i)     all letters written by the lawyer to other persons at the direction of the client; 

                (ii)    copies of letters written by the lawyer to other persons at the direction of the client;

                (iii)    drafts and copies made in the cause of business and

                (iv)   documents prepared from such drafts; and 

        (b)    the lawyer is entitled to –

        (v)    all letters written by the client to the lawyer,

        (vi)   copies of letters addressed by the lawyer to the client,

        (vii)   a lien on the papers or documents of his client in respect of unpaid fees. 

(4)    This rule is subject to any applicable rule of court.

RELATIONS WITH COURT

Lawyer as officer of court

30.    A lawyer is an officer of the court and, accordingly, he shall not do any act or  conduct himself in       any manner that may obstruct, delay or adversely; affect the  administration of justice.

31.    Duty of lawyer to court and conduct in Court

(1)    A lawyer shall always treat the Court with respect, dignity and honour.

(2)    Where the lawyer has a proper ground for complaint against a judicial officer, he shall make his     complaint to the appropriate authorities.;

(3)    A lawyer who fails comply with any undertaken given by him either personally or on behalf of client    to a court is prima face guilty of professional misconduct.

 (4)   Except where the opposing lawyer fails or refuses to attend and the Judge  is advised of the        circumstances, a lawyer shall not discuss a pending case with a Judge trying the case unless the      opposing lawyer is present.

(5)    Except as provided by a rule or order of court, a lawyer shall not deliver to the Judge any; letter,        memorandum, brief or other written communication without  concurrently delivering a copy to the      opposing lawyer.

32.    Candid and fair dealing

(1)    In appearing in his professional capacity before a Court or Tribunal, a lawyer shall not deal with the         Court otherwise than candidly and fairly.

(2)    In presenting a matter to the court, a lawyer shall disclose

        (a)    any legal authority in the jurisdiction known to him to be directly adverse to the position  of                    his client and which is not disclosed by the opposing lawyer;

        (b)    the identities of the clients he represents and of the persons who employed him unless such                   disclosure is privileged or irrelevant.

(3)    In appearing in his professional capacity before a court or tribunal, a lawyer shall not –

        (a)    state or allude to any matter which he has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant to the                    case or that will not be supported by admissible evidence;

        (b)    ask any question that he has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant to the matter and  that          is intended to degrade a witness or other person;

        (c)    assert his personal knowledge of the facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or                         assert his personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, as to the credibility of a  witness, as                   to the culpability of a civil litigant or as to the guilt of innocence of an accused, but he may                     argue, on his analysis of the evidence, for any position or  conclusion with respect to the                         matters stated herein;

        (d)    fail to comply with known local customs of courtesy or practice of the Bar or of a  particular                        Tribunal without giving to the opposing lawyer adequate notice of his  intention not to comply;

        (e)    intentionally or habitually violate any established rule or procedure or of evidence;

        (f)     knowingly misquote the content of a paper, the testimony of a witness, the language of the                   argument of the opposing counsel, or the language of a decision or a textbook;

        (g)    with knowledge of its invalidity, cite as authority a decision that has been overruled, or a                    statute that has been repealed with intent to mislead the Court or Tribunal;

        (h)    in argument, assert as a fact that which has not been proved, or in those jurisdictions  where                      a side has the opening and closing argument, to mislead his opponent by  concealing or                           withholding in his opening argument positions upon which his side  intends to rely;

        (i)     produce evidence which he knows the Court should reject;

        (j)     promote a case which to his knowledge is false; or

        (k)    in any other way do or perform any act which may obviously amount to an abuse of the                       process of the court, or which is dishonourable and unworthy of an officer of the law  charged,           as the lawyer, with the duty of aiding in the administration of justice.

33.    Trial publicity

A lawyer or law firm engaged in or associated with the prosecution or defence of  a criminal matter, or associated with a civil action shall not, while litigation is  anticipated or pending in the matter, make or participate in making any extra judicial statement that is calculated to prejudice or interfere with, or is reasonably  capable of prejudicing or interfering with, the fair trial of the matter or the judgment  or sentence thereon.

34.    Relation with Judges

A lawyer shall not do anything or conduct himself in such a way, as to give the  impression, or allow the impression to be created, that his act or conduct is  calculated to gain, or has the appearance of gaining special personal consideration of  favour from a Judge.

35.    Lawyer and Tribunals

A lawyer appearing before a judicial tribunal shall accord due respect to it and  shall treat the tribunal with courtesy and dignity.

36.    Courtroom Decorum

When in the courtroom, a lawyer shall –

        (a)    be attired in a proper or dignified manner and shall not wear any apparel or  ornament                           calculated to attract attention to himself.

        (b)    conduct himself with decency and decorum, and observe the customs, conduct and  code of                       behaviour of the court and custom of practice at the bar with respect to  appearances, dress,                     manners and courtesy;

        (c)    rise when addressing or being addressed by the Judge;

        (d)    address his objections, requests, arguments, and observations to the Judge and  shall not                      engage in the exchange of banter, personality display, arguments or  controversy with the                        opposing lawyer;

        (e)    not engage in undignified or discourteous conduct which is degrading to a court or  tribunal;                        and

        (f)     not remain within the Bar or wear the lawyer’s robes when conducting a case in  which he is a                  party or giving evidence.

37.    Employment in Criminal Cases

(1)    Where a lawyer undertakes a defence of a person accused of a crime, he  shall exert himself, by all     fair and honourable means, to put before the court all  matters that are necessary in the interest of     justice; but he shall not stand or offer to  stand bail for a person for whom he or a person in his law    firm is appearing.

(2)    Where the lawyer accepts a brief for the defence in a murder trial, he shall be deemed to have given a solemn undertaking, subject to any sufficient unforeseen circumstances, that he will    personally conduct the defence provided his fee is paid.

(3)    Where an accused person discloses facts which clearly and credibly show his guilt, the lawyer shall   not present any evidence inconsistent with those facts and shall not offer any testimony which he        knows to be false.

(4)    The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice is        done.

(5)    A public prosecutor shall not institute or cause to be instituted a criminal charge if he knows or    ought reasonably to know that the charges are not supported by the probable evidence.

 (6)   A lawyer engaged in public prosecution shall not suppress facts or secrete witnesses capable of establishment the innocence of the accused person; but he shall make timely disclosure to the lawyer for the defendant, or to the defendant if he has no counsel, of the existence of evidence known to the prosecutor or other  government lawyer that tends to negate the guilt of the accused,     mitigate the degree  of the offence, or reduce the punishment.

39.    Lawyer for an Indigent accused

A lawyer assigned to defend an indigent prisoner shall not ask to be excused  except for substantial reason, but shall exert his best effort in the defence of the  accused.

E.     IMPROPER ATTRACTION OF BUSINESS

39.    Advertising and Soliciting

(1)    Subject to paragraph (2) and (3) of this rule a lawyer may engage in any  advertising or promotion       in connection with his practice of the law, provided:

        (a)    it is fair and proper in all the circumstances

        (b)    it complies with the provisions of these Rules

 (2)   A lawyer shall not engage or be involved in any advertising or promotion of  his practice of the law       which –

        (a)    is inaccurate or likely to mislead;

        (b)    is likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession, or the Administration of  Justice,                     or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute;

        (c)    makes comparison with or criticizes other lawyers or other professions or professionals; 

        (d)    includes statement about the quality of the lawyer’s work, the size of success of his  practice                    or his success rate; or

        (e)    is so frequent or obstructive as to cause annoyances to those to whom it is directed.

 (3)   Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this rule, a lawyer shall not solicit professional        employment either directly or indirectly –

        (a)    by circulars, handbills, advertisement, through touts or by personal communication or                                interview.

        (b)    by furnishing, permitting or inspiring newspaper, radio or television comments in relation  to                      his practice of the law;

        (c)    by procuring his photograph to be published in connection with matters in which he has been                       or is engaged, or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the  interest                   involved or the importance of the lawyer’s position;

        (d)    by permitting or inspiring sound recordings in relation to his practice of law; or 

        (e)    by such similar self-aggrandisment.

(4)    Nothing in this rule shall preclude a lawyer from publishing in a reputable law  List or Law Directory,    a brief biographical or informative data of himself, including all  or any of the following matters;

        (a)    his name or names of his professional association;

        (b)    his address, telephone number, telex number, e-mail address etc. 

        (c)    the school, colleges or other institutions attended with dates of graduation, degree  and other                       educational or academic qualifications or distinctions;

        (d)    date and place of birth and admission to practice law;

        (e)    any public or quasi-public office, post of honour, legal authorship, etc; 

        (f)     any legal teaching position;

        (g)    any National Honour;

        (h)    membership and office in the Bar Association and duties thereon; and 

        (i)     any position held in legal scientific societies.

40.    Note-papers, envelopes and visiting cards

A lawyer may cause to be printed on his note-papers, envelopes and visiting cards- 

        (a)    his name and address;

        (b)    his academic and professional qualifications and title including the words “Barrister at-Law”,                       “Barrister and Solicitor”, “Solicitor and Advocate”, Legal Practitioner”  “Attorney-at-Law”, and 

        (c)    any National Honours.

41.    Signs and Notices

A lawyer or a firm may display at the entrance of or outside any buildings or offices in which he or it carries on practice, a sign or notice, containing his or its name and professional qualifications. The sign or notice shall be of reasonable size and sober design.

42.    Books and articles

Where a lawyer writes a book or an article for publication in which he gives information on the law, he may add his professional qualification after his name.

43.    Change of address

On a change of address, telephone number or other circumstances relating to  his practice, a lawyer may send to his clients notice of a change and may insert an  advertisement of such change in a newspaper or journal.

44.    Associate and Consultant

Where a lawyer is available to act as an associate of other lawyers, either generally or in a particular branch of the law or legal service, he may send to lawyers in his locality only and publish in his local journal, if any, a brief and dignified announcement of his availability to serve other lawyers in that connection as long as the announcement is not designed to attract business improperly.

45.    Lawyer’s robes

(1)    Except with the permission of the Court, a lawyer appearing before a High  court, the Court of        Appeal or the Supreme Court shall do so in his robes. 

(2)    A lawyer shall not wear the Barrister’s or Senior Advocate’s robe –

        (a)    on any occasion other than in Court except as may be directed or permitted by the Bar                              Council; or 

        (b)    when conducting his own case as party to a legal proceeding in Court; or

        (c)    giving evidence in a legal proceeding in Court.

46.    Press, Radio and Television

(1)    A lawyer may write articles for publications, or participate in radio and television programmes in   which he gives information on the law, but he shall not accept employment from any such publication or programme to advise on inquires in respect of their individual rights.

(2)    A lawyer shall not –

        (a)    insert in any newspaper, periodical or any other publication, an advertisement offering  as a                      lawyer, to undertake confidential enquiries;

        (b)    write for publication or otherwise cause or permit to be published except in a legal  periodical,                  any particulars of his practice or earnings in the Courts or cases where  the time for appeal                   has not expired on any matter in which he has been engaged as  a lawyer; and

        (c)    take steps to procure the publication of his photograph as a lawyer in the press or any                               periodical.

(3)    Where a lawyer is instructed by a client to publish an advertisement or notice, the lawyer may put   his name, address and his academic professional qualifications.

47.    Instigating controversy or Litigation

(1)    A lawyer shall not foment strife or instigate litigation and, except in the case of close relations or of     trust, he shall not, without being consulted, proffer advice to  bring a law suit.

(2)    A lawyer shall not –

        (a)    search the Land Registry or other registries for defects with a view to employment  or                         litigation;

        (b)    seek out claimants in respect of personal injuries or any other cause of action with  a view to                    being employed by the prospective client;

        (c)    engage, aid or encourage an agent or any other person to follow up on accidents  with a view                  to employment as a lawyer in respect of any claims arising therefrom; or 

        (d)    offer or agree to offer rewards to any person who by reason of his own employment  is likely                   to be able to influence legal work in favour of the lawyer.

F.      REMUNERATION AND FEES

48.    Fees for legal service

(1)    A lawyer is entitled to be paid adequate remuneration for his services to the client.

(2)    A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for, charge or collect an illegal or clearly excessive fee.

(3)    For the purpose of this rule, a fee is clearly excessive when, after a review  of the facts, it is clear   that it does not take into account the consideration set out in  rule 48 (now 51).

49.    Retainer

(1) Subject to sub-rule (2) of this, a lawyer may accept general or special retainers.

(2)    Where a lawyer accepts a retainer in respect of litigation, he shall be separately remunerated by fees for each piece of work; and accordingly, a lawyer shall not –

        (a)    represent or undertake to represent a client for all his litigation or a part  of it on an agreed                      lump sum over a period of time; or

        (b)    accept instructions from a client on terms that a particular class of court  cases shall be done                      at affixed fee in each case irrespective of the circumstances of  each case.

 (3)   A lawyer who accepts a retainer shall not –

        (a)    in the case of a general retainer, advise on, or appear in any proceedings  detrimental to the                        retainer which will involve advising or arguing against the interest  of the client paying the                       retainer.

 (4)   In this rule – “retainer” means an agreement by a lawyer to give his services to a client;

        “general retainer” means a retainer which covers the clients  work generally; and

        “special retainer” means a retainer which covers a particular  matter of the client.

50.    Contingent fee arrangement

(1)    A lawyer may enter into a contract with his client for a contingent fee in respect of a civil matter         undertaken for a client whether contentious or non contentious:

        Provided that –

        (a)    the contract is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case including the risk and                           uncertainty of the compensation;

        (b)    the contract is not –

                (i)     vitiated by fraud, mistake or undue influence; or

                (ii)    contrary to public policy; and

        (c)    if the employment involved litigation, it is reasonably obvious that there is a bonafide cause of                action.

(2)    A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement to charge or collect, a contingent fee for representing a        defendant in a criminal case.

(3)    Except as provided in sub-rule (1) of this rule, a lawyer shall not purchase or otherwise acquire        directly or indirectly an interest in the subject matter of the litigation which he or his firm is      conducting; but he may acquire a lien granted by law  to secure his fees and expenses.

(4)    A lawyer shall not enter into a contingent fee arrangement without first having advised the client of     the effect of the arrangement and afforded the client an opportunity to retain him under an         arrangement whereby he would be compensated on the basis of a reasonable value of his services.

(5)    In this rule, “contingent fee” means fee paid or agreed to be paid for the lawyer’s legal services      under an arrangement whereby compensation, contingent in whole or  in part upon the successful       accomplishment or deposition of the subject matter of  the agreement, is to be of an amount which         is either fixed or is to be determined  under a formula.

51.    Payment of the expenses of litigation

A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement to pay for, or bear the expenses of  his client’s litigation, but the lawyer may, in good faith, advance expenses-

        (a)    as a matter of convenience, and

        (b)    subject to reimbursement.

52.    Fixing the amount of the fee

(1)    The professional fees charged by a lawyer for his services shall be reasonable and commensurate    with the services rendered; and accordingly, the lawyer shall not charge fees which are excessive or so low as to amount to undercutting:

        Provided that a reduced fee or no fee at all may be charged on the ground of the special relationship      or indigence of a client.

(2)    In determining the amount of the fee, a lawyer may take into account all or any of the following       considerations in ascertaining the value of the service rendered –

        (a)    the time and labour required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the  skill                  required to conduct the cause property;

        (b)    whether the acceptance of employment in the particular case will preclude the lawyer’s                             appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the transaction, and in which there is a                        reasonable expectation that otherwise he would be employed;

        (c)    whether the acceptance of the employment will involve the loss of other employment while                       employed in the particular case of antagonisms with other clients;

        (d)    the customary charges of the Bar for similar services; Provided that in determining the                           customary charges of the Bar, the lawyer may consider a schedule of minimum fees, if any                        adopted by the bar Association, but he is not bound to follow it strictly or  alone;

        (e)    the amount involved in controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the  services;

        (f)     the contingency or the certainty of the compensation; and

        (g)    the character of the employment, whether casual or for an established or constant client.

Division of fees

53.    A lawyer shall not share the fees of his legal services except with another lawyer based upon the   division of service or responsibility: Provided that –

        (a)    an agreement by a lawyer with his firm, partner or association may provide for the  payment                      of money, over a period of time after his death, to his estate or to one of  more persons;

        (b)    a lawyer who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased  lawyer, that                        proportion of the total compensation which fairly represents the service  rendered by the                         deceased lawyer; and

        (c)    a law firm may include non-lawyer employees in retirement plan, even though the  plan is                         based on profit-sharing arrangement.

54.    Offer of compensation or gift by the other party

A lawyer shall not accept any compensation, rebate, commission, gift or other  advantages from or on behalf of the opposing party except with the full knowledge  and consent of his client after full disclosure.

G.     MISCELLANEOUS

55.    Enforcement of rules

(1)    If a lawyer acts in contravention of any of the rules in these Rules or fails to perform any of the duties imposed by the rules, he shall be guilty of a professional  misconduct and liable to       punishment as provided in Legal Practitioners Act, 1975.

(2)    It is the duty of every lawyer to report any breach of any of these rules  that comes to his         knowledge to the appropriate authorities for necessary disciplinary  action.

56.    Interpretation

In these rules unless the context otherwise admits-

“Judge”, includes any officer carrying out judicial functions in a court;

“Lawyer” means legal practitioner as defined by the Legal Practitioner Act.

Dated at Abuja this …………..Day of …………2007

 …………………………………………………………..

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice

Chairman, General Council of the Bar

RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. PRACTICE AS LEGAL PRACTIONER

Rule 1: General Responsibility of a lawyer

Rule 2: Duty as to admission into the legal profession

Rule 3: Aiding the unauthorized practice of the law

Rule 4: Avoidance of intermediary in the practice of the law

Rule 5: Association for legal practice

Rule 6: Retirement from Judicial position or public employment

Rule 7: Engagement in business

Rule 8: Lawyers in salaried employment

Rule 9: Practicing fees

Rule 10: Seal and stamp 

Rule 11: Mandatory continuing legal education

Rule 12: Practicing certificate

Rule 13: Notification of legal practice

B. RELATION WITH CLIENTS

Rule 14: Dedication and devotion to the cause of the client

Rule 15: Representing client within the bound of the law Rule 16: Representing client competently

Rule 17: Conflict of interest

Rule 18: Agreement with client

Rule 19: Privilege and Confidence of a client

Rule 20: Lawyers as witness for client

Rule 21: Withdrawal from employment

Rule 22: Calling at client’s house or place of business

Rule 23: Dealing with client’s property

Rule 24: Responsibility for litigation

Rule 25: Investigation of facts and production of witness

C. RELATION WITH OTHER LAWYERS

Rule 26: Fellowship and precedence

Rule 27: Good faith and fairness among lawyer

Rule 28: Associating in a matter

Rule 29: Change of lawyer

D. RELATION WITH THE COURT

Rule 30: Lawyer as officer of court

Rule 31: Duty and Conduct of lawyer to court

Rule 32: Candid and fair dealing

Rule 33: Trial Publicity

Rule 34: Relation with Judges

Rule 35: Lawyers and tribunals

Rule 36: Courtroom decorum

Rule 37: Employment in criminal cases

Rule 38: Lawyer for indigent accused

E. IMPROPER ATTRACTION OF BUSINESS

Rule 39: Advertising and Soliciting

Rule 40: Notepapers, envelopes and visiting cards

Rule 41: Signs and notices

Rule 42: Books and articles

Rule 43: Change of address

Rule 44: Associate and Consultant

Rule 45: Barrister’s and Senior Advocate’s robes

Rule 46: Press, Radio and Television

Rule 47: Instigating controversy and litigation

F. REMUNERATION AND FEES

Rule 48: Fees for legal services

Rule 49: Retainer

Rule 50: Contingent fee arrangement

Rule 51: Payment of the expenses of litigation

Rule 52: Fixing the amount of fee

Rule 53: Division of fees

Rule 54: Offer of compensation or gift by the other party

G. MISCELLANEOUS

Rule 55: Enforcement of Rules

Rule 56: Interpretation

RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS

Made under section 12(4)

[Commencement:                                               15th day of January 2007]

A. PRACTICE AS LEGAL PRACTITIONER

1.     General Responsibility of a lawyer

A lawyer shall uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the course of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and shall not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

2.     Duty as to admission into the legal profession

A lawyer shall not knowingly do any act or make any omission or engage in any conduct designed to lead to the admission into the legal profession of a person who is unsuitable for admission by reason of his moral character or insufficient qualification or for any other reason.

3.     Aiding the unauthorized practice of the law

(1)    A lawyer shall not-

        (a)    aid a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of the law;

        (b)    permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible, the                       unauthorized practice of law by any person not qualified to practice or disqualified from                          practice; or 

        (c)    share legal fees with a non-lawyer except as provided in rule 51.

(2)    A lawyer shall not, in return for a fee, write or sign his name or permit his name to be written  or      signed on a document prepared by a non-lawyer as if prepared by him.

4.     Avoidance of intermediary in the practice of the law

A lawyer shall not permit his professional services to be controlled or exploited by any lay  agency, personal or corporate, which intervenes between him and the client. Charitable societies  or other institutions rendering aid to the indigent are not deemed to be such intermediaries.

5.     Association for legal practice

(1)    A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a non-lawyer or with a lawyer who is not admitted to        practice law in Nigeria, if any of the activities of the partnership consists of the practice of law.

(2)    The name of a deceased or former partner may continue to be used as part of the name of a law     firm provided it does not lead to any imposition or deception through the continued use of the name.

(3)    Where a member of a law firm becomes a Judge and is hereby precluded from practicing law, his        name, if it appears, shall be removed from the partnership name.

(4)    Where a lawyer practices alone, he shall not hold himself out as a partner in a firm of lawyers by      using a firm name such as “A, B and Co” or such other name as may suggest that he is in     partnership with others.

(5)    It shall be unlawful to carry out legal practice as a corporation.

6.     Retirement from judicial position or public employment

(1)    A lawyer shall not accept employment as an advocate in any matter upon the merits of which he        had previously acted in a judicial capacity.

(2)    A lawyer having once held public office or having been in the public employment shall not, after his        retirement, accept employment in connection with any matter in respect of which he had  previously        acted in a judicial capacity, or on the merit of which he had advised or dealt with in  such office or         employment.

(3)    A Judicial officer who has retired shall not practice as an advocate in any Court of Law or Judicial    tribunal in Nigeria.

(4)    A judicial officer who has retired shall not sign any pleading in any court.

(5)    A judicial officer who has retired may continue to use the word “Justice” as part of his name.   Engagement in business

7.     Practice of other Professions

(1)    Unless permitted by the General Council of the Bar (hereinafter referred to as the “Bar Council”), a lawyer shall not practice as a legal practitioner at the same time as he practices any other      profession.

(2)    A lawyer shall not practice as a legal practitioner while personally engaged in –

        (a)    the business of buying and selling commodities;

        (b)    the business of a commission agent;

        (c)    such other trade or business which the Bar Council may from time to time declare to be                              incompatible with practice as a lawyer, or as tending to undermine the high standing of the                        profession.

8.     Lawyers in salaried employment

(1)    A lawyer, whilst a servant or in a salaried employment of any kind, shall not appear as an advocate   in a Court or judicial tribunal for his employer except where the lawyer is employed as a legal officer   in a Government department.

(2)    A lawyer whilst a servant or in a salaried employment shall not prepare, sign, or frank pleadings, application, instrument, agreement, contract, deed, letters, memorandum, report, legal opinion and so on or process or file any such documents for his employer.

(3)    A director of a registered company shall not appear as an advocate in a Court or Judicial tribunal for      his company.

(4)    A lawyer in a full-time salaried employment may represent his employer as an officer or agent in        cases where the employer is permitted by law to appear by an officer or agent; and in such cases,        the lawyer shall not wear robes.

(5)    An officer in the Armed Forces who is a lawyer may discharge any duties devolving on him as such    officer and may appear at a Court Martial as long as he does so in his capacity as an officer and not       as a lawyer.

9.     Practicing fees

(1)    A lawyer shall pay his annual practicing fees not later than 31st March in every year. In the case of     lawyers who are enrolled during the year, the fees shall be paid within one month of the enrolment.

(2)    A lawyer shall not claim in any Court or before any judicial tribunal that he has paid his annual  practicing fees when he is in fact in default.

(3)    A lawyer shall not sign documents, pleadings, affidavits, depositions, applications, instruments,       agreements, deeds, letters, memorandum, reports, legal opinion and so on and process or file any     such documents as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any governmental department or    Ministry or any corporation when he is still in default of payment of  his Annual Practicing Fees.

10.    Seal and Stamp 

(1)    A lawyer, acting in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any government        department or Ministry or 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.

(2)    for the purpose of this rule, legal documents shall include pleadings, affidavits, depositions,        applications, instruments, agreements, deeds, letters, memoranda, reports, legal opinions or any        similar documents.

(3)    If without complying with the requirement of this rule, a lawyer signs or files any legal documents as      defined in sub-rule (2) of this rule, and in any of the capacities mentioned in sub-rule (1) the        document so signed or filed shall be deemed not to have been duly or properly signed or filed.

11.    Mandatory Continued Professional Development (CPD)

(1)    A lawyer who wishes to carry on practice as a legal practitioner shall participate in and satisfy the    requirements of the mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme operated by      the Nigerian Bar Association.

(2)    The activities in which a lawyer is required to participate for the purpose of the CPD Programme of    the N.B.A shall include-

        (a)    attendance and participation in accredited courses;

        (b)    lectures seminars, workshops and conferences on law approved by the N.B.A;

        (c)    writing on the law and its practice in books for Journals and Newspapers approved by the                  Nigerian Bar Association.

        (d)    study towards professional qualifications approved by the Nigerian Bar Association; and.

        (e)    other approved means acquiring legal professional knowledge and experience.

(3)    A lawyer shall be certified as having satisfied the requirement of the CPD Programme if, and only if,     during the relevant year, he earns the number of credit hours of participation which is required       under the rules made by the Nigerian Bar Association.

(4)    Until rules are made and provide otherwise, the number of credit hours required for each year shall   be as follows-

        (a)    For lawyers from Admission up to 5 years …………….. 24 hours

        (b)    For lawyers just over five years up to ten years ………….18 hours

        (c)    For lawyers above ten years ………………………………12 hours

(5)    The Nigerian Bar Association shall establish a Continuing Professional Development Department in     its office for the operation of the Programme.

(6)    The Nigerian Bar Association shall make rules for regulating the operation of the CPD Programme        and such rules may include for the following matters –

        (a)    the number of credit hours of participation required of a legal practitioner;

        (b)    the types of activities and studies that are acceptable for earning the credit;

        (c)    persons that may be exempted from the requirements of the Programme; and

        (d)    other matters which in its opinion are necessary for the proper operation of the Programme. 

12.    Annual Practicing Certificate.

(1)    Not later than a date in every specified by it, the Nigerian Bar Association shall-

        (a)    publish a List of legal practitioners who have complied with the requirements of the CPD                     Programme and have paid their practicing fees and are, therefore entitled to practice as legal                   practitioners in that year (hereinafter referred to as the Annual Practicing List); and

        (b)    issue a Practicing Certificate to a legal practitioner whose name is on the said Annual                               Practicing List, certifying that he has paid his Practicing Fee for the specified year and that he                  has  also fulfilled the requirement of the CPD Programme for the year under the rules made                  for the  purpose by the Nigerian Bar Association.

(2)    A lawyer shall obtain an Annual issued under this rule by the Nigerian Bar Association certifying that     he has fulfilled the approved CPD Programme under rules made for the purpose by  the Nigerian Bar         Association.

(3)    A lawyer, unless he holds an Annual Practicing Certificate issued by the Nigerian Bar Association         under this rule, shall not, as a legal practitioner –

        (a)    conduct or take part in any proceedings in the court, judicial tribunal, panes or Enquiry; or

        (b)    sign any documents, pleadings, affidavits, depositions, application, instruments, agreements,                       deeds, letters, memoranda, reports, legal opinions and similar documents and processes; or

        (c)    file any such documents as a legal practitioner legal officer or adviser of any Government                       Department or Ministry or any company or corporation.

13.    Notification of legal practice

(1)    Every person who set up private legal practice either alone or in association or partnership with another or others shall, not later than thirty days after commencement of such legal practice and if he continues to carry the practice, deliver a Notice in the prescribed form to the Branch of the      Nigerian Bar Association within whose jurisdiction the law office is situated.

(2)    The Notice referred to in sub-section (1) of this rule shall state –

        (a)    the names of the legal practitioner;

        (b)    the address where the legal practice is carried on;

        (c)    the date when the legal practitioner was called to the Bar in Nigeria; and

        (d)    the date when his name was entered in the Roll of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria

(3)    The Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association to which the Notice is delivered shall enter the particulars    in the Notice in a Register or Database kept for that purpose.

(4)    Every legal practitioner who after having been registered under sub-rule (3), changes his name or    address for legal practice, shall deliver to the Branch where he is so registered a notice in the prescribed form showing particulars of the changes made.

B.     RELATION WITH CLIENTS

14.    Dedication and devotion to the cause of the client

(1)    It is the duty of a lawyer to devote his attention, energy and expertise to the service of his client         and, subject to any rule of law, to act in a manner consistent with the best interest of his  client.

(2)    Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1) of this rule, a lawyer shall –

        (a)    consult with his client in all questions of doubt which do not fall within his discretion;

        (b)    and keep the client informed of the progress and any important development in the cause or                    matter as may be reasonably necessary;

        (c)    warn his client against any particular risk which is likely to occur in the course of the cause or                   matter;

        (d)    respond as promptly as reasonably possible to request for information by the client; and 

        (e)    where he considers the client’s claim or defence to be hopeless, inform him accordingly.

(3)    When representing a client, a lawyer may, where permissible, exercise his independent professional      judgment to waive or fail to assert a right or position of his client.

(4)    It is the duty of lawyer employed in respect of a Court case to be personally present or be properly     represented throughout the proceedings in Court.

(5)    Negligence in handling of a client’s affairs may be of such a nature as to amount to  professional        misconduct.

15.    Representing client within the bounds of the law

(1)    In his representation of a client, a lawyer may refuse to aid or participate in conduct that he believes to be unlawful even though there is some support for an argument that the conduct is  legal.

(2)    In his representation of his client, a lawyer shall-

        (a)    keep strictly within the law notwithstanding any contrary instruction by his client; and if the                          client insists on a breach of the law, the lawyer shall withdraw his service;

        (b)    use his best endeavours to restrain and prevent his client from committing misconduct or                     breach of the law with particular reference to judicial officers, witnesses and litigants and if the            client persists in his action or conduct, the lawyer shall terminate their relations.

(3)    In his representation of his client, a lawyer shall not –

        (a)    give service or advice to the client which he knows or ought reasonably to know is capable of                       causing disloyalty to, or breach of, the law, or binging disrespect to the holder of a judicial                       office,  or involving corruption of holders of any public office;

        (b)    file a suit, assert a position, conduct a defence, delay a trial, or take other action on behalf of                       his client when he knows or ought reasonably to know that such action would serve merely to           harass or maliciously injure another;

        (c)    knowingly advance a claim or defence that is unwarranted under existing law, but he  may                       advance such claim or defence if it can be supported by argument in good faith for an                                extension, modification, or reversal of existing law;

        (d)    fail or neglect to inform his client of the option of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms                       before resorting to or continuing litigation on behalf of his client.

        (e)    conceal or knowingly fail to disclose that which he is required by law to reveal;

        (f)     knowingly use perjured or false evidence;

        (g)    knowingly make a false statement of law or fact;

        (h)    participate in the creation or preservation of evidence when he knows or ought reasonably to                      know that the evidence is false;

        (i)     counsel or assist his client in conduct that the lawyer knows to be illegal or fraudulent; or

        (j)     knowingly engage in other illegal conduct or conduct contrary to any of these rules.

(4).   Where in the course of his representation of his client a lawyer receives clearly established         information that the client has perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal, he shall promptly call       on his client to rectify it , and if his client refuses or is unable to do so he shall reveal the fraud to     the affected person or tribunal, except when the information is a privileged communication; and if        the person who perpetrated the fraud is not his client, the lawyer shall promptly reveal the fraud to      the tribunal.

(5)    A lawyer shall not assert in argument his personal belief in the integrity of his client or of his     witnesses or in the justice of his cause, but he may make a fair analysis of the evidence touching       on those matters.

16.    Representing client competently

16.    A lawyer shall not –

        (a)    handle a legal matter which he knows or ought to know that he is not competent to handle,                   without associating with him a lawyer who is competent to handle it, unless the client objects; 

        (b)    handle a legal matter without adequate preparation;

        (c)    neglect a legal matter entrusted to him; or

        (d)    attempt to exonerate himself from or limit his ability to his client for his personal malpractice                    or  professional misconduct

17.    Conflict of interest

(1)    A lawyer shall, at the time of the retainer disclose to the client all the circumstances of his relations    with the parties, and any interest in or connection with the controversy which might influence the     client in the selection of the lawyer.

(2)    Except with the consent of his client after full disclosure, a lawyer shall not accept a retainer if the     exercise of his professional judgment on behalf of his client will be or may reasonably be affected by     his own financial, business, property, or personal interest.

(3)    A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation       which he is conducting for a client, except that he may –

        (a)    acquire a lien granted by law to secure his fees and expenses, or

        (b)    contract with a client for a reasonable contingent fee in a civil case.

(4)    A lawyer shall not accept a proffered employment if the exercise of his independent  professional        judgment on behalf of a client will be or is likely to be adversely affected by the  acceptance of the     proffered employment, or if it is likely to involve him in representing differing  interests, unless it is     obvious that the lawyer can adequately representing the interest of each,  and each consents to the      representation after full disclosure of the possible effect of such  representing on the exercise of his         independent professional judgment on behalf of each.

(5)    A lawyer shall not appear as counsel for a client in a legal proceedings in which the lawyer is himself a party.

(6)    Where a lawyer is required to decline employment or to withdraw from employment under any  of      these rules, no partner, or associate, or any other lawyer affiliated with him or his firm, may accept or continue such employment.

18.    Agreement with clients

(1)    A client shall be free to choose his lawyer and to dispense with his services as he deems  fit;         provided that nothing in this rule shall absolve the client from fulfilling any agreed or implied          obligations to the lawyer including the payment of fees.

(2)    The lawyer shall ensure that important agreements between him and the client are, as far as    possible reduced into writing, but it is dishonourable and a misconduct for the lawyer to avoid  performance of a contract fairly made with his client whether reduced into writing or not.

19.    Privilege and confidence of a client

(1)    Except as provided under sub-rule (3) of this rule, all oral or written communications made by a client to his lawyer in the normal course of professional employment are privileged.

(2)    Except as provided in sub-rule (3) of this rule, a lawyer shall not knowingly –

        (a)    reveal a confidence or secret of his client;

        (b)    use a confidence or secret of his client to the disadvantage of the client; or

        (c)    use a confidence or secret of his client for the advantage of himself or of a third person unless              the client consents after full disclosure.

(3)    A lawyer may reveal –

        (a)    confidences or secrets with the consent of the client or clients affected, but only after a full                   disclosure to them

        (b)    confidences or secrets when permitted under these rules or required law or a Court order;

        (c)    the intention of his client to commit a crime and the information necessary to prevent the                        crime;

        (d)    confidences or secrets necessary to establish or collect his fee or to defend himself or his                      employees or associates against an accusation of wrongful conduct.

(4)    a lawyer shall exercise reasonable care to prevent his employees, associates and others whose              services are utilized by him from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of a client, but  a      lawyer may reveal the information allowed by sub-rule (3) through an employee.

(5)    A lawyer shall not in any way communicate upon the subject of controversy or negotiate or        compromise the matter with the other party who is represented by a lawyer, and he shall deal only       with the lawyer of that other party in respect of the matter.

(6)    A lawyer shall avoid anything that may tend to mislead an opposing party who is not  represented        by a lawyer and shall not undertake to advise him as to the law.

20.    Lawyer as witness for client

(1)    Subject to sub-rule (2) of this rule a lawyer shall not accept to act in any contemplated or pending      litigation if he knows or ought reasonably to know that he or a lawyer in his firm may be called or      ought to be called as a witness.

(2)    A lawyer may undertake an employment on behalf of a client and he or a lawyer in his firm may       testify for the client-

        (a)    if the testimony will relate solely to an uncounted matter; 

        (b)    if the testimony will relate solely to a matter of formality and there is no reason to believe that                  substantial evidence will be offered in opposition to the testimony;

        (c)    if the testimony will relate solely to the nature and value of legal services rendered in the case            by the lawyer or his firm to the client; or

        (d)    as to any matter if refusal would work a substantial hardship on the client because of the                    distinctive value of the lawyer or his firm as lawyer in the particular case.

(3)    When a lawyer knows, prior to trial that he would be a necessary witness except as to merely formal         matters, neither he nor his firm may conduct the trial.

(4)    If after undertaking employment in contemplated or pending litigation, a lawyer learns or it is      obvious that he or a lawyer in his firm ought to be called as witness on behalf of his client, he shall   withdraw from the conduct of the trial and his firm, if any, shall not continue representation in the   trial, but he or a lawyer in his firm may testify in the circumstances enumerated in sub-rule (2)  of     this rule.

(5)    If after undertaking employment in a contemplated or pending litigation, a lawyer learns or it is      obvious that he or a lawyer in his firm may be called as a witness other than on behalf of his client,   he may continue the representation until it is apparent that his testimony is or may be  prejudicial to        the client.

(6)    If during the trial, the lawyer discovers that the ends of justice require his testimony, he should   from that point on, if feasible and not prejudicial to the client’s case, leave further conduct of the trial to other counsel, but if circumstances do not permit this, the lawyer shall not argue the     credibility of his own testimony

21.    Withdrawal from employment

(1)    A lawyer shall not abandon or withdraw from an employment once assumed, except for good cause.

(2)    Good cause for which the lawyer may be justified in withdrawing from the client’s employment       includes the following –

        (a)    conflict of interest between the lawyer and the client;

        (b)    where the client insists on an unjust or immoral course in the conduct of his case;

        (c)    if the client persists against the lawyer’s advice and remonstrance in pressing frivolous                             defences; or 

        (d)    if the client deliberately disregards an agreement or obligation as to payment of fees or                           expenses.

(3)    Where the lawyer is justified in withdrawing from the employment, he shall give reasonable notice to    the client allowing him time to employ another lawyer.

(4)    Where the lawyer withdraws from an employment after a fee has been paid, he shall refund such        part of the fee as has not been clearly earned.

22.    Call at client’s house or place of business

A lawyer shall not call at a client’s house or place of business for the purpose of giving advice to, or taking instructions from, the client except in special circumstances or for some other urgent reason preventing his client from coming to his law office.

23.    Dealing with client’s property

(1)    A lawyer shall not do any act whereby for his personal benefit or gain he abuses or takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by his client.

(2)    Where a lawyer collects money for his client, or is in position to deliver property on behalf of his       client, he shall promptly report, and account for, it and shall not mix such money or property  with       or use it as, his own.

24.    Responsibility for litigation

(1)    It is the duty of a lawyer to accept any briefs in the Court in which he professes to practice provided        the proper professional fee is offered unless there are special circumstances which  justify his     refusal.

(2)    It is the duty of every lawyer on his own responsibility to decide what cases he will bring into Court   for the Plaintiff and what cases he would contest in Court for the Defendant; and he is not absolved         from bringing questionable action or arguing questionable defences or giving  questionable advice on    the ground that he is only following his client’s instructions.

(3)    A lawyer shall not conduct a civil case or make defence in a civil case when he knows or ought  reasonably to know that it is intended merely to harass or to injure the opposite party or to work     oppression or wrong.

(4)    The lawyer shall be responsible for taking decisions in respect of incidental matters not affecting the merit of the case or operating to prejudice substantively the right of a client and he shall not be      bound to do or refrain from doing anything contrary to his sense of honour or  propriety simply      because his client demands that he should do it.

(5)    In matters not directly affecting the merit of the case or operating to prejudice the rights of the        client, the lawyer may, to the exclusion of his client, determine what accommodations to be granted      to the opposing lawyer.

(6)    For the purpose of this rule, the expression “incidental matters” includes matters such as fixing time       for trial for the opposing lawyer, and applying for or resisting adjournment, account being taken of     the circumstances of the opposing lawyer.

25.    Investigation of facts and Production of witnesses, etc.

(1)    Subject to the rules dealing with communications with the other party, it shall be lawful for a lawyer       to interview any witness or prospective witness for the opposing side in any action without the        consent of the opposing counted or party, but he shall not take any action calculated to  secrete a     witness.

(2)    A lawyer shall not participate in a bargain with a witness either by contingent fee or otherwise as a    condition for giving evidence but this does not preclude payment of reasonable expenses incurred       for the purpose of giving the evidence.

(2)    A lawyer may advertise for witnesses to testify to a particular event or transaction but not to   witnesses to testify to a particular version of the event or transaction.

(3)    A lawyer shall not be unfair or abusive or inconsiderate to adverse witnesses or opposing litigants or     ask any question only to insult or degrade the witness; and he shall not allow the unfair suggestions     or demands of his clients to influence his action.

C.     RELATION WITH OTHER LAWYERS

26.    Fellowship and Precedence.

(1)    Lawyers shall treat one another with respect, fairness, consideration and dignity, and shall not allow     any ill-feeling between opposing clients to influence their conduct and demeanor towards one         another or towards the opposing clients.

(2)    Lawyers shall observe among one another the rules of precedence as laid down by law, and subject to this, all lawyers are to be treated on the basis of equality of status.

27.    Good faith and fairness among lawyers

(1)    A lawyer shall observe good faith and fairness in dealing with another lawyer.

(2)    Without prejudice to the generality of sub-rule (1) of this rule, a lawyer –

        (a)    shall observe strictly all promises or agreements with other opposing lawyers whether oral or                   in writing and whether in or out of court, and shall adhere in good faith to all agreements                  implied  by the circumstances of the case.

        (b)    shall, where he gives a personal undertaking and does not expressly or clearly disclaim                             personal liability there under, honour his undertaking promptly; and 

        (c)    shall not take an undue advantage of the predicament or misfortune of the opposing lawyer or              client.

(3)    A lawyer shall not hand over his brief to another lawyer to hold, and that other shall not accept the    brief, unless the brief is handed over in reasonable time for the receiving lawyer to acquire adequate   grasp of the matter,

(4)    Where a lawyer is aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that a person is already represented by   another lawyer in a particular matter, he shall not have any dealing with that person in respect of       the same matter without giving prior notice to the other lawyer. The lawyer accepting the   instructions shall use his best endeavours to ensure that all the fees due to the other lawyer in the       matter are paid.

(5)    During the course of his representation of a client, a lawyer shall not:

        (a)    communicate, or cause another to communicate, on the subject of the representation with the                 party he knows to be represented by a lawyer in that matter unless he has the prior consent                   of  the lawyer representing such party or is authorized by law to do so; or

        (b)    give advice to a person who is not represented by a lawyer in the matter or cause.

28.    Associating in matter 

(1)    It is the right of the client to proffer, either on his own, or on the advice of his lawyer, the service of additional lawyer in a matter.

(2)    Where a lawyer is employed by a client to join the original lawyer, the later lawyer shall decline if it is objectionable to the original lawyer, but if the original lawyer is relieved of his retainer by the        client or he withdraws, the later lawyer may come into the matter; and that case, he shall use his      best endeavours to ensure that all the fees due to the other lawyer in the matter  are paid.

(3)    When lawyers jointly associated in a course cannot agree as to any matter vital to the interest of the        client, the conflict of opinion shall be frankly stated to the client for his determination, and his     decision shall be final provided that where the nature of the differences makes it impracticable for    the lawyer whose judgment has been overruled to cooperate effectively, he shall withdraw from the         employment

29.    Change of lawyer:

(1)    Where a client changes his lawyer on a pending matter, the new lawyer shall –  

        (a)    promptly give notice to the former lawyer; and 

        (b)    use his best endeavours to ensure that the former lawyer is paid his earned fees.

(2)    Where in litigation, a client changes his lawyer, both the old lawyer and new lawyer shall give notice of the change to the court.

(3)    Where a client changes his lawyer-

        (a)    The client is entitled to –

                (i)     all letters written by the lawyer to other persons at the direction of the client;

                (ii)    copies of letters written by the lawyer to other persons at the direction of the client;

                (iii)    drafts and copies made in the course of business; and

                (iv)   documents prepared from such drafts; and 

        (b)    the lawyer is entitled to-

                (i)     all letters written by the client to the lawyer;

                (ii)    copies of letters addressed by the lawyer to the client; 

                (iii)    a lien on the papers or documents of his client in respect of unpaid fees.

(4)    This rule is subject to any applicable rule of court.

D. RELATION WITH THE COURT.

30.    Lawyer as officer of Court

A lawyer is an officer of the Court and, accordingly, he shall not do any act or conduct himself  in any manner that may obstruct, delay or adversely affect the administration of justice.

31.    Duty of lawyer to Court; and conduct in Court

(1)    A lawyer shall always treat the Court with respect, dignity and honour:

(2)    where the lawyer has a proper ground for complaint against a judicial officer, he shall make his     complaint to the appropriate authorities.

(3)    A lawyer who fails to comply with any undertaken given by him either personally or on behalf of a     client to a court is prima facie guilty of professional misconduct.

(4)    Except where the opposing lawyer fails or refuses to attend and the Judge is advised of the        circumstances, a lawyer shall not discuss a pending case with a Judge trying the case unless the      opposing lawyer is present.

(5)    Except as provided by a rule or order of Court, lawyer shall not deliver to the Judge any letter, memorandum, brief or other written communication without concurrently delivering a copy to the        opposing lawyer.

32.    Candid and fair dealing

(1)    In appearing in his professional capacity before a Court or Tribunal, a lawyer shall not deal with the         Court otherwise than candidly and fairly.

(2)    In presenting a matter to a Court, a lawyer shall disclose:

        (a)    any legal authority in the jurisdiction known to him to be directly adverse to the position of his                client and which is not disclosed by the opposing lawyer; and

        (b)    the identities of the clients he represents and of the persons who employed him unless such                   disclosure is privileged or irrelevant.

(3)    In appearing in his professional capacity before a Court or Tribunal, a lawyer shall not:

        (a)    state or allude to any matter that he has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant to the case             or that will not be supported by admissible evidence;

        (b)    ask any question that he has no reasonable basis to believe is relevant to the case and that is           intended to degrade a witness or other person;

        (c)    assert his personal knowledge of the facts in issue except when testifying as witness, nor                        assert his personal opinion as to the justness of a cause, as to the credibility of a witness, as                    to the culpability of a civil litigant or as to the guilt or innocence of an accused, but he may                     argue, on his analysis of the evidence, for any position or conclusion with respect to the                          matters stated herein;

        (d)    fail to comply with known local customs of courtesy or practice of the Bar or of a particular                         Tribunal without giving to the opposing lawyer adequate notice of his client not to comply;

        (e)    intentionally or habitually violate any established rule of procedure or of evidence;

        (f)     knowingly misquote the content of a paper, the testimony of a witness, the language of the                   argument of the opposing counsel, or the language of a decision or a textbook;

        (g)    with knowledge of its invalidity, cite as authority a decision that has been overruled, or a                    statute that has been repealed with intent to mislead the Court or Tribunal.

        (h)    in argument, assert as a fact that which has not been proved, or in those jurisdictions where a            side has the opening and closing argument, to mislead his opponent by concealing or                            withholding  in his opening argument positions upon which his side intends to rely;

        (i)     produce evidence which he knows the Court should reject;

        (j)     promote a case which to his knowledge is false: or 

        (k)    in any other way do or perform any act which may obviously amount to an abuse of the                       process of the Court, or which is dishonourable and unworthy of an officer of the law charged,                    as  the lawyer, with the duty of aiding in the administration of justice.

33.    Trial publicity

A lawyer or law firm engaged in or associated with the prosecution or defence of a criminal  matter, or associated with a civil action shall not, while litigation is anticipated or pending in the  matter, make or participate in making any extra-judicial statement that is calculated to prejudice or interfere with, or is reasonably capable of prejudicing or interfering with, the fair trial of the  matter or the judgment or sentence thereon.

34.    Relation with Judges

A lawyer shall not do anything, or conduct himself in such a way, as to give the impression, or  allow the impression to be created, that his act or conduct is calculated to gain, or has the  appearance of gaining special personal consideration or favour from a Judge.

35.    Lawyer and Tribunals

A lawyer appearing before a judicial tribunal shall accord due respect to it and shall treat the  tribunal with courtesy and dignity.

36.    Courtroom Decorum

When in the courtroom, a lawyer shall –

        (a)    be attired in a proper or dignified manner and shall not wear any apparel or ornament                           calculated to attract attention to himself,

        (b)    conduct himself with decency and decorum, and observe the customs, conduct and code of                        behaviour of the Court and custom of practice at the bar with respect to appearances, dress,                      manners and courtesy;

        (c)    rise when addressing or being addressed by the Judge;

        (d)    address his objections, requests, arguments, and observations to the Judge and shall not                       engage in the exchange of banter, personality display, arguments or controversy with the                         opposing lawyer;

        (e)    not engage in undignified or discourteous conduct which is degrading to a Court or tribunal;                         and 

        (f)     not remain within the Bar or wear the lawyer’s robes when conducting a case in which he is a                   party or giving evidence.

37.    Employment in Criminal Cases

(1)    Where a lawyer undertakes a defence of a person accused of a crime, he shall exert himself, by all     fair and honourable means, to put before the Court all matters that are necessary in the interest of   justice; but he shall not stand or offer to stand bail for a person for whom he or a  person in his law     firm is appearing.

(2)    Where the lawyer accepts a brief for the defence in a murder trial, he shall be deemed to have          given a solemn undertaking, subject to any sufficient unforeseen circumstances, that he will    personally conduct the defence provided his fee is paid.

(3)    Where an accused person discloses facts which clearly and credibly show his guilt, the lawyer shall   not present any evidence inconsistent with those facts and shall not offer any testimony which he        knows to be false.

(4)    The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict but to see that justice is        done.

(5)    A public prosecutor shall not institute or cause to be instituted a criminal charge if he knows or    ought reasonably to know that the charges are not supported by the probable evidence.

(6)    A lawyer engaged in public prosecution shall not suppress facts or secrete witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused person; but he shall make timely disclosure to the lawyer        for the defendant, or to the defendant if he has no counsel, of the existence of evidence known to    the prosecutor or other government lawyer that tends to negate the guilt of he accused, mitigate      the degree of the offence, or reduce the punishment.

38.    Lawyer for an Indigent accused

A lawyer assigned to defend an indigent prisoner shall not ask to be excused except for substantial reason, but shall exert his best effort in the defence of the accused.

E. IMPROPER ATTRACTION OF BUSINESS

39.    Advertising and Soliciting

(1)    Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) of this rule a lawyer may engage in any advertising or promotion       in connection with his practice of the law, provided:

        (a)    it is fair and proper in all the circumstances

        (b)    it complies with the provisions of these Rules.

(2)    A lawyer shall not engage or be involved in any advertising or promotion of his practice of the law       which –

        (a)    is inaccurate or likely to mislead;

        (b)    is likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession, or the Administration of Justice,                      or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute;

        (c)    makes comparison with or criticizes other lawyers or other professions or professionals;

        (d)    includes statement about the quality of the lawyer’s work, the size of success of his practice or                 his success rate; or

        (e)    is so frequent or obstructive as to cause annoyance to those to whom it is directed.

3.     Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this rule, a lawyer shall not solicit professional        employment either directly or indirectly-

        (a)    by circulars, handbills, advertisement, through touts or by personal communication or                                interview;

        (b)    by furnishing, permitting or inspiring newspaper, radio or television comments in relation to                       his  practice of the law;

        (c)    by procuring his photograph to be published in connection with matters in which he has been                       or is engaged, or concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest                            involved  or the importance of the lawyer’s position;

        (d)    by permitting or inspiring sound recordings in relation to his practice of law; or

        (e)    by such similar self-aggrandisment.

4.     Nothing in this rule shall preclude a lawyer from publishing in a reputable Law List or Law Directory,    a brief biographical or informative data of himself, including all or any of the following matters:

        (a)    his name or names of his professional association;

        (b)    his address, telephone number, telex number e-mail address etc.

        (c)    the school colleges or other institutions attended with dates of graduation, degree and other                        educational or academic qualifications or distinctions;

        (d)    date and place of birth and admission to practice law;

        (e)    any public or quasi-public office, post of honour, legal authorship, etc;

        (f)     any legal teaching position;

        (g)    any National Honours;

        (h)    membership and office in the Bar Association and duties thereon; and

        (i)     any position held in legal or scientific societies.

40.    Note-papers, envelopes and visiting cards

A lawyer may cause to be printed on his note-papers, envelopes and visiting cards –

        (a)    his name and address;

        (b)    his academic and professional qualifications and title including the words “Barrister-at-Law”,                       “Barrister and Solicitor”, “Solicitor and Advocate”, “Legal Practitioner”, “Attorney –at-Law”,                         and

        (c)    any National Honours

41.    Signs and Notices

A lawyer or a firm may display at the entrance of or outside any buildings or offices in which he  or it carries on practice, a sign or notice containing his or its name and professional qualifications. The sign or notice shall be of reasonable size and sober design.

42.    Books and articles

Where a lawyer writes a book or an article for publication in which he gives information on the  law, he may add his professional qualification after his name.

43.    Change of address

On a change of address, telephone number or other circumstances relating to his practice, a  lawyer may send to his clients notice of a change and may insert an advertisement of such  change in a newspaper or journal:

44.    Associate and Consultant

Where a lawyer is available to act as an associate of other lawyers, either generally or in a  particular branch of the law or legal service, he may send to lawyers in his locality only and  publish in his local journal, if any, a brief and dignified announcement of his availability to serve  other lawyers in that connection as long as the announcement is not designed to attract business  improperly.

45.    Lawyer’s robes

(1)    Except with the permission of the Court, a lawyer appearing before a High Court, the Court of     Appeal or the Supreme Court shall do so in his robes.

(2)    A lawyer shall not wear the Barrister’s or Senior Advocate’s robe-

        (a)    on any occasion other than in Court except as may be directed or permitted by the Bar                              Council; or 

        (b)    when conducting his own case as party to a legal proceeding in Court; or

        (c)    giving evidence in a legal proceeding in Court.

47.    Press, Radio and Television

(1)    A lawyer may write articles for publications, or participate in radio and television programmes in   which he gives information on the law, but he shall not accept employment from any such publication or programme to advise on inquires in respect of their individual rights.

(2)    A lawyer shall not –

        (a)    insert in any newspaper, periodical or any other publication, an advertisement offering as a                       lawyer, to undertake confidential enquiries;

        (b)    write for publication or otherwise cause or permit to be published except in a legal periodical,                   any particulars of his practice or earnings in the Courts or cases where the time for appeal has              not expired on any matter in which he has been engaged as a lawyer; and

        (c)    take steps to procure the publication of his photograph as a lawyer in the press or any                               periodical.

3.     Where a lawyer is instructed by a client to publish an advertisement or notice, the lawyer may  put his name, address and his academic professional qualifications.

47.    Instigating controversy or Litigation

(1)    A lawyer shall not foment strife or instigate litigation and, except in the case of close relations or of     trust, he shall not, without being consulted, proffer advice to bring a law suit.

(2)    A lawyer shall not –

        (a)    search the land registry or other registries for defects with a view to employment or litigation;

        (b)    seek out claimants in respect of personal injuries or any other cause of action with a view to                     being employed by the prospective client;

        (c)    engage, aid or encourage an agent or any other person to follow up on accidents with a view                   to employment as a lawyer in respect of any claims arising therefrom; or

        (d)    offer or agree to offer rewards to any person who by reason of his own employment is likely to                be able to influence legal work in favour of the lawyer.

F.      REMUNERATION AND FEES

48.    Fees for legal service

(1)    A lawyer is entitled to be paid adequate remuneration for his services to the client.

(2)    A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for , charge or collect an illegal or clearly excessive  fee.

(3)    For the purpose of this rule, a fee is clearly excessive when, after a review of the facts, a  lawyer of       ordinary prudence would be left with a definite and firm conviction that the fee is in  excess of a        reasonable fee for the services rendered or to be rendered.

49            Retainer

(1)    Subject to sub-rule (2) of this rule, a lawyer may accept general or special retainers.

(2)    Where a lawyer accepts a retainer in respect of litigation, he shall be separately instructed and     separately remunerated by fees for each piece of work; and accordingly, a lawyer shall not –

        (a)    represent or undertake to represent a client for all his litigation or a part of it on an agreed                      lump sum over a period of time; or

        (b)    accept instructions from a client on terms that a particular class of court cases shall be done                      at a fixed fee in each case irrespective of the circumstances of each case.

(3)    A lawyer who accepts a retainer shall not –

        (a)    in the case of a general retainer, advise on, or appear in any proceedings detrimental to the                        interest of the client paying the retainer during the period of the retainer; and

        (b)    in the case of a special retainer, accept instructions in any matter forming the subject matter                    of  the retainer which will involve advising or arguing against the interest of the client paying                     the  retainer.

(4)    In this rule – “retainer” means an agreement by a lawyer to give his services to a client; 

        “general retainer” means a retainer which covers the clients work generally; and

        “special retainer”  means a retainer which covers a particular matter of the client.

50.    Contingent fee arrangement

(1)    A lawyer may enter into a contract with his client for a contingent fee in respect of a civil matter         undertaken or to be undertaken for a client whether contentious or non-contentious: 

        Provided that –

        (a)    the contract is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case including the risk and                           uncertainty of the compensation;

        (b)    the contract is not –

                (i)     vitiated by fraud, mistake or undue influence; or 

                (ii)    contrary to public policy; and

        (c)    if the employment involved litigation, it is reasonably obvious that there is a bonafide cause of                action

(2)    A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement to charge or collect, a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case.

(3)    Except as provided in sub-rule (1) of this rule, a lawyer shall not purchase or otherwise acquire        directly or indirectly an interest in the subject matter of the litigation which he or his firm is      conducting; but he may acquire a lien granted by law to secure his fees and expenses.

(4)    A lawyer shall not enter into a contingent fee arrangement without first having advices the client of     the effect of the arrangement and afforded the client an opportunity to retain him under an         arrangement whereby he would be compensated on the basis of a reasonable value of his services.

(5)    In this rule, “contingent fee: means fee paid or agreed to be paid for the lawyer’s legal services      under an arrangement whereby compensation, contingent in whole or in part upon the successful       accomplishment or deposition of the subject matter of the agreement, is to be of an amount which         is either fixed or is to be determined under the formula

51.    Payment of the expenses of litigation

A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement to pay for, or bear the expenses of his client’s litigation, but the lawyer may, in good, faith advance expenses –

        (a)    as a matter of convenience, and 

        (b)    subject to reimbursement.

52. Fixing the amount of the fee

(1)    The professional fees charged by a lawyer for his services shall be reasonable and  commensurate    with the services rendered; and accordingly, the lawyer shall not charge fees  which are excessive or         so low as to amount to undercutting:

        Provided that a reduced fee or no fee at all may be charged on the ground of the special       relationship or indigence of a client.

(2)    In determining the amount of the fee, a lawyer may take into account all or any of the following       considerations in ascertaining the value of the service rendered –

        (a)    the time and labour required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill                   required to conduct the cause properly;

        (b)    whether the acceptance of employment in the particular case will preclude the lawyer’s                             appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the transaction, and in which there is a                        reasonable expectation that otherwise he would be employed;

        (c)    whether the acceptance of the employment will involve the loss of other employment while                       employed in the particular case of antagonisms with other clients;

        (d)    the customary charges of the Bar for similar services:

                Provided that in determining the  customary charges of the Bar, the lawyer may consider a                   schedule of minimum fees, if any,  adopted by the Bar Association, but he is not bound to                         follow it strictly or alone;

        (e)    the amount involved in controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the services;

        (f)     the contingency or the certainty of the compensation; and

        (g)    the character of the employment, whether casual or for an established or constant client.

53.    Division of fees

A lawyer shall not share the fees of his legal services except with another lawyer based upon the division of service or responsibility:

Provided that –

        (a)    an agreement by a lawyer with his firm, partner or association may provide for the payment of           money, over a period of time after his death, to his estate or to one of more persons;

        (b)    a lawyer who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer that                         proportion of the total compensation which fairly represents the service rendered by the                          deceased lawyer; and 

        (c)    a law firm may include non-lawyer employees in retirement plan, even though the plan is                          based on profit-sharing arrangement.

54.    Offer of compensation or gift by the other party

A lawyer shall not accept any compensation, rebate, commission, gift or other advantages from or on behalf of the opposing party except with the full knowledge and consent of his client after full disclosure

G.     MISCELLANEOUS

55.    Enforcement of rules

(1)    If a lawyer acts in contravention of any of the rules in these Rules or fails to perform any of  the         duties imposed by the Rules, he shall be guilty of a professional misconduct and liable to       punishment as provided in Legal Practitioners Act.

(2)    It is the duty of every lawyer to report any breach of any of these rules that comes to his         knowledge to the appropriate authorities for necessary disciplinary action.

56.    Interpretation

In these rules unless the context otherwise admits –

        “Judge” includes any officer carrying out judicial functions in a Court;

        “Lawyer” means legal practitioner as defined by the Legal Practitioners Act. 

Dated at Abuja this 15th Day of January 2007

Attorney – General of the Federation And Minister of Justice

Chairman General Council of the Bar

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