……to deliberate on a reasonable remuneration for legal services
The Federal Ministry of Justice has re-constituted and inaugurated the Legal Practitioner’s Remuneration Committee and subsequently the General Council of the Bar meeting to deliberate on pertinent issues of finding a reasonable remuneration for Legal Services.
In his Remarks, The Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF) Abubakar Malami SAN, CON, said over the years finding a reasonable remuneration for legal services has been an issue of great controversy for legal Professionals. The event took on Monday 15th May, 2023 at Abuja.
“You will agree with me that, it has, and is still eliciting heated intellectual and non-intellectual debates by various countervailing interests despite the existence of a scale of charges for legal services in Nigeria, there have been repeated debates for, and against its existence” he pointed.
Malami in his word said that, some people have argued that a Lawyer’s fees cannot and should not be characterized to a scale of charges due to the unique nature of the legal professional while others who canvass for its continued existence say it had created order and certainty in the expected remuneration for legal services.
He explained that, “the legal practitioners Act established the Legal Practitioners Remuneration Committee to amongst other things, regulate and standardize the remuneration of legal practitioners in Nigeria. By virtue of section 15 of the Legal Practitioner Act, the Committee is made up of the Honourable Attorney- General of the Federation and States, NBA President and Three (3) other members of NBA”.
“It is pursuant to the above statutory provisions, that the Committee enacted the Legal Practitioners (Remuneration for Legal Documentation and Other Land Matters) Order in 1991. This Order created three classes of scales that can be used in charging, depending on the nature of legal services rendered” he disclosed.
However, the HAGF said that in view of the current national and economic realities, it was cleared that the scale of charges previously established are long overdue for review.
“A situation where legal practitioners are paid pittance for the legal services they render must be thoroughly looked into and necessary steps taken to not only safeguard the livelihood of Lawyers, but to ensure that legal practitioners are treated with the dignity and prestige they deserve. The Committee therefore has the responsibility to critically review the scale of charges, taking into consideration prevailing challenges and experiences by legal practitioners as well as the nation’s economic realities”, he stated
In carrying out its functions, the Committee was admonished to be fair and to discharge its statutory responsibilities without fear or favor. Particular consideration should be given to the new Wigs and young Lawyers to encourage their dedication and commitment to justice delivery.
The HAGF expressed his gratitude to the States Attorneys- General and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) for their cooperation and collaboration in advancing the legal profession and strategically repositioning the NBA to deliver on its statutory mandates. He assured them of the Ministry’s non-relenting in its effort of improving the administration of justice in Nigeria, by providing necessary support and ensuring that NBA is well positioned to address the legal needs of legal Practitioners and Nigerians as a whole.
In his goodwill message, the 31st NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, commended the HAGF for the support extended to the NBA in respect to the fulfillment of its mandate in relation to the General Council of the Bar (GCB) and the Remuneration Committee under the Legal Practitioners Act.
The Remuneration Committee is charged with the responsibility of reviewing charges by legal practitioners while the General Council of the Bar is the statutory body responsible for making rules with regards to the conducts of legal practitioners in Nigeria.
Maikyau congratulated members of both the General Council of the Bar and the Remuneration Committee and urged them to make history. He maintained that their contributions and submissions would help in raising the Legal Profession to its enviable height.
Similarly, Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN who doubles as the Attorney General of Lagos State and the Chairman of Body of States Attorneys – General (BOSAG) stated that inauguration of both Committee was a step in the right direction. He added that building a legal profession that is fit for purpose required regulating the charges and conducts of legal practitioners.
In attendance were Attorneys General and representatives from Kwara, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Cross River, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Kogi, Benue and Jigawa states amongst others.
For; Director (Information)