NBA’s Monopoly Broken As Court Approves Registration Of New Lawyers Association

The Nigeria Bar Association might have lost the battle to remain the only association for legal practitioners in the country, as a Federal High Court in Abuja has cleared the coast for the registration of a new association.

This follows a judgement on 15 December 2023, allowing for the registration of “The Nigerian Law Society,” “Nigerian Bar Society,” “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society” and “The Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria.”

Gladys Olotu, the judge, ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) “to approve for registration and thereafter register any of the proposed names submitted to it on behalf of the plaintiffs, being:

The Nigerian Law Society,” “Nigerian Bar Society,” “Nigerian Lawyers’ Society” and “The Association of Legal Practitioners of Nigeria” and issue a certificate of registration to that effect.”

Five plaintiffs – Bolaji Ayorinde, Mela Audu Nunge, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs); Garba Gajam, Emeka Ichoku, Chioma Ferguson and Tejumola Adigun had sued the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), urging the court compel the defendant to register their association as legal practitioners in Nigeria.

“A declaration that it is unlawful and illegal for the defendant to refuse to register or impede the registration of the plaintiffs and/or lawyers, legal practitioners or barristers and/or solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, admitted to practice law in Nigeria as an incorporated trustee of lawyers.”

In the judgement delivered last December but reported by PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the judge said “The six declaratory reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are ordered as prayed.

In the suit, the plaintiffs had contended that the names being considered for registration as a body of lawyers are not similar to that of the Nigerian Bar Association such that it could mislead the public.

Referencing the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the plaintiffs argued that the names submitted for approval and registration do not fall within the limits of restrictions and Prohibition contemplated under Section 852 of the law.

It will be recalled that In 2022, the Enugu State High Court declared membership NBA compulsory for lawyers called to the bar and practising in Nigeria.

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