By Dayo Benson
Amid growing complaints of professional and ethical misconduct among lawyers, former Deputy Director General of the Nigeria Law School, Enugu Campus, Prof Earnest Ojukwu SAN, has recommended inclusion of Judges and non-lawyers in the membership of Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Council(LPDC).
Prof Ojukwu who was one of the brains behind drafting of Code of Conduct for Law Teachers stated this during an interactive session with the media in Lagos.
According to him, the Bar should not regulate discipline of erring lawyers, saying that such a situation desirable “for better understanding and trust. The Bar should stop being a regulator” adding that the present “system is corrupt.”
The senior lawyer who was the pioneer chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association,NBA, Law Reform Committee, said that public interest advocacy should be done at institutional level and monitored even as he suggested that public hearings should be conducted to know what Nigerians think of lawyers and what they expect from them.
He lamented that many lawyer were not aware of the Legal Practitioner s Rules of Professional Conduct and called on NBA to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, FOI, to publisise itself and tell the public about err ing lawyers, pointing out that the public should be educated about the roles of lawyers in the society.
Prof Ojukwu also emphasised that legal education should move to the level of justice education and should not be regarded as a means of lawyers’ livelihood, saying “legal education should influence the legal profession.”
He called on the Bar and the Bench not to succumb to the blackmail of corruption because “if it is done to one, it will be done to the other”, adding that names of those who are sanctioned should be published to serve as deterrent to others.