The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Olumide Akpata has said that the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for lawyers has not been amended.
In a statement released on Sunday on behalf of the Bar, the NBA President urged all lawyers to remain calm and continue to conduct their affairs in the same manner as they did prior to the notice of an instrument alleging the amendment.
His comments come after the legal community was on September 12 confronted with the news of a gazette which purportedly emanated from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on the amendment of the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for Legal Practitioners 2007 especially on the requirement of STAMP AND SEAL for lawyers.
The gazette – marked S.I N0.15 of 2020 allegedly issued by the AGF and dated September 3, 2020, reads in part, “In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 12(4) of the Legal Practitioners Act Cap L11, LFN 2004 and of all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and President, General Council of the Bar, make the following rules:
“The Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007 is amended by deleting the following rules, namely: 9(2), 10, 11, 12, and 13.
“These rules may be cited as the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Rules, 2020.”
The news of the gazette sent ripples across the legal community with many lawyers wondering where the AGF got the powers to make such amendments.
In its reaction, the NBA notes that the AGF cannot unilaterally amend the rules.
The NBA President further stated that the Bar is consulting with the AGF on the issue and would give further updates in the coming days.