The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC, has disbarred seven lawyers and suspended 12 others over alleged involvement in various acts of professional misconduct.
This took place as Amasa Firdausi, who was denied the honour seven months ago over hijab wearing classified by the legal Body classified as improper dressing was among the 1,550 new lawyers called to the Nigerian Bar on Tuesday.
The young female lawyer from University of Ilorin was disallowed to perform the ceremony on December 12, 2017, after she declined to remove her hijab on the premises that doing so would amount to a violation of her rights.
Her insistence on wearing her lawyers’ wig over the veil, made the legal authorities to sideline her from partaking in the Call-to-Bar ceremony that took place at the International Conference Centre, ICC, in Abuja.
Firdausi’s appearance was said to have violated the dress code set by the law school.
It will be recalled that decision of the Body of Benchers not to admit the hijab wearing law graduate into the Nigerian Bar, had sparked-off a wave of controversy in the media as well as a legal dispute.
All the parties subsequently resolved to embrace an out-of-court settlement of the matter.
Meanwhile, though the legal body eventually rescinded its earlier position on hijab, it, however, ensured that Firdausi’s name was the last on the list of new lawyers admitted into the Bar Tuesday.
In his address on the occasion, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers, said the LPDC would not hesitate to discipline any lawyer whose conduct negated the sacrosanct standards of the profession.
Dalhatu said, “The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee has been carrying out its mandate in a just and fair manner without giving room for compromise, affection or ill-will.
From January to July, 2018, seven lawyers were disbarred, 12 were suspended (ranging from one year to three years) and one was admonished.
“You are, therefore, advised to be of good behaviour and abide by the ethics and traditions of the profession to avoid being brought before the committee.
“My advice to you is to at all times, shun all vices likely to dent your image as well as the image of the profession. Do not form the habit of bending the truth, or watering it down to sound logical with the aim of pleasing your listeners.
“It is important to note that failure to adhere to any provision of the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners would amount to an infraction that can be tried by the Body, acting under its Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee,” Dalhatu added.
On his part, Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, stated that the 1,550 new lawyers were candidates that succeeded in the April 2018 Bar Final examinations as well as 12 candidates from previous Bar final examinations.
He said the school had in a bid to address complaints on the low quality of lawyers in the country, entered into collaboration with law faculties and other stakeholders in the legal profession, as well as embarked on aggressive review of its curriculum to include teaching of ethics.
“The Council of Legal Education effective 2016, approved that henceforth resit students for the Bar final examinations must undertake two months’ revision exercise for eligibility to write the examinations.
“Recent performance in the examinations clearly justifies the investment with a success rate put at 68.6%,”, the Law School DG said.