Hypothetically, a client engaged the services of a legal practitioner to secure bail without any express agreement to the terms of engagement. Subsequently, the client determined the services of the legal practitioner by engaging another legal practitioner. The latter took on the engagement and enquired on the details of the case but the previous lawyer refused to disclose.
A client can discharge or determine the services of a lawyer anytime at will but subject to liability for payment for the lawyer’s services.
Also, the discharge may be extremely adverse to the client’s interests, but the lawyer should make singular exertions to help the client consider the consequences and perhaps, may take reasonably necessary protective arrangements.
Part B of the RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS, 2007 regulates agreements with clients in Nigeria.
Rule 18 states as follows:
18.(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.
Therefore, in the engagement of legal representation, it is solely the prerogative of the client to determine the appointment.