All Legal Practitioners enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria whether in private, public, or corporate practice are required to pay for the practicing fees each year. Legal Practitioners are expected to pay their Practicing Fees in full before the 31st of March, every year.
The failure to do this puts defaulters at the risk of forfeiting every right a Legal Practitioner enjoys in Court, corporate practice, as an in-house counsel, and/or loss of other rights, and privileges generally.
The Rules of Professional Conduct specifies that a lawyer shall not claim in any court or before a judicial tribunal that he has paid his Annual Practicing Fee when he is, in fact, in default as it constitutes a gross act of Professional Misconduct and it would be so treated.
In Nigeria, Part A of the RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS, 2007 regulates Practicing Fees. Rule 9 (1) & (2) states as follows:
- (1) A lawyer shall pay his Annual Practicing Fees not later than 31st March in every year. In the case of lawyers who are enrolled during the year, the fees shall be paid within one month of the enrolment.
(2)A lawyer shall not sign documents, pleadings, affidavits, depositions, applications, instruments, agreements, letters, deeds, letters memorandum, reports, legal opinions or similar documents or process or file such documents as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any Governmental department or Ministry or any corporation when he is in default of payment of his Annual Practicing Fees.
It is therefore pertinent that a lawyer does not perform the duties or expect to be accorded the benefits of a financial standing legal practitioner where in default of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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