September 23, 2017

Lawyers urge new Senior Advocates to preserve judicial integrity

Some lawyers have urged the newly commissioned members of the Inner Bar, the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), to promote the legal profession in good light, and  fast track the justice process.

The lawyers made the call in separate interviews with newsmen in Lagos on Saturday, following the recent swearing in of 22 SANs .

Newsmen recall that the Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen, had on Sept.18, sworn in the new SANs at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abuja.

In interviews with newsmen, the lawyers maintain that there was need to repose confidence in the judiciary.

They said  that this could only be achieved by a sincere cooperation among judicial officers.

The  President of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Mr Adeyemi Candide-Johnson (SAN) , SANs are leaders of the legal profession  expected to be  models not just  in optimal professional behaviour but also in  advanced advocacy skills.

“Silks should have ability to simplify the most complicated issue and to promote the due and proper administration of justice.

“This is what they have publicly sworn to do and the users of their legal services are entitled to hold them accountable for this,”

In his view, one of the newly commissioned Senior Advocate , Mr Layi Babatunde (SAN) , urged his colleagues to be guided by the rule of law at all times, and  should never allow monetary gains become an overriding factor in their legal pursuit.

“Being conferred with the esteemed rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria , is a great honour and obviously to whom much is given, much is deservedly expected.

“Money should never be the overriding factor in our engagements, being conscious at all times of the fact, that what we do professionally or fail to do and how we do it, may have direct bearing on the welfare, peace and socio-economic well being of our society.

“At all times, we must be guided by the rule of law; I pray God to help us uphold the honour and dignity of the rank,” he said

On his part, a human rights campaigner, Mr Spurgeon Ataene , urged the new SANs to ensure a positive influence on the legal profession.

He expressed optimism that the new senior advocates will help to foster cordial working relationship between the Bar and the Bench.

“The new advocate can influence legal development positively if they ensure that their primary constituency, which is the legal profession, is made more alluring and dignifying.

“The emergence of touts in our justice system in all its ramifications is opprobrious and embarrassing,”

Ataene also called on members of the Inner Bar, to help ensure that sanity is restored in legal practice.

“There should be sanity in the filing process; sheriffs of court should not hold lawyers to ransom to the extent of killing writs due to excessive demand for money even after payment for service.

“The Judges in the criminal divisions as well as magistrates should be made to understand that harsh bail conditions not only encourage resort to tout, but also contribute to needless congestions in the prisons.

“Once the 60 days window in Section 264 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law is over, then courts should exercise discretion favourably.

“The SANs should also help ensure that there is an interactive forum between the bench and the bar periodically .

“They should help present to parliament a bill to outlaw franking of legal documents by any one other than a lawyer.

“These and other ways would contribute to legal development,”he said.

NAN reports that out of  the 30 lawyers earlier listed for the conferment of SAN, 29 were eventually sworn in as members of the Inner Bar.