By Abdullahi Adebayo Abdulrauf NCE, LLB-IN-VIEW (BUK)

It is customary that every Country of the world has its own municipal law which serves as a code of conduct that oversees and regulates the affairs of those that are living in that particular Country of the world, in the area of their day-to-day business transaction, interpersonal relationship, property acquisition, dispute resolution, criminal adjuducation and professional practises. Nigeria is not also exempted from this custom. Because of this, we shall query the Nigerian law on what it has concerning what qualities required of a person to practice law within Nigeria. Some of the reasons why a robot Lawyer can not be able practise are thus highlighted and explained;

  1. It does not possess an LL.B (Legum Baccalaureaus)
    LL.B is the degree award that a law student earns after the completion of his academic pursuit in law, its full meaning is Legum Baccalaureaus , it is a Latin word which means Bachelor of Laws. As a matter of law every Lawyer in Nigeria is an LL.B holder, though not all LL.B holders are Lawyers. Bachelor of Laws is an important certificate that anybody that wants to practice law in Nigeria must posses, it shows that one has been able to be exposed to the theoretical aspect of Nigerian law. The robot Lawyer does not have a record of where it obtained his Bachelor of Laws, in fact, it is just a programme written by some experts. Though it knows the law, but knowing the law does not automatically qualify it to be practicing law.
  2. No Qualifying Certificate
    The body that is responsible to issue Qualifying Certificate to anyone that has interest in practicing the law in Nigeria is Council of Legal Education (hereinafter referred to as “The Council”) it was established under Section 1 (1) of the Legal Education Act of 1976, its duty to discharge in respect of admission into Legal Profession according to Section 1 (2) of the Legal Education Act of 1976 is stated thus;
    “The Council shall have the responsibility for the legal education of persons seeking to become members of the Legal profession”
    The Council is responsible to issue what is called Qualifying Certificate to any candidate that it deems worthy to be awarded with such according to the prescriptions of the law that confers it such power it under Section 5 (a) (b) of the Legal Education Act of 1976.
    The Council is in charge of the Nigerian Law School where the practical aspect of law in Nigeria is being taught.
  3. No Call to Bar Certificate
    There is no Lawyer in Nigeria that does not have Call to Bar certificate. This is the only certificate that turns a person to a Lawyer and gives him the right to recognised as such. This Certificate is being awarded by a body known as the Body of Benchers which was established under Section 3 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act 1975.
    This body has the power to issue the Certificate of Call to Bar any candidate that has satisfied its requirements to be such awarded by the power conferred on it under Section 4 (1), (2), (4)of the Legal Practitioners Act 1975. The provision stated thus;
    (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person entitled to be called to the Bar if-
    (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria
    (b) he produces qualifying certificate to the Benchers, and
    (c) he satisfies the Benchers that he is of good character
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(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, a person may also be entitled to be called to the Bar, if–
(a) he is a non-citizen of Nigeria
(b) he produces qualifying certificate to the Benchers, and
(c) he satisfies the Benchers that he is of good character


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(4) The Benchers shall issue to every person called to Bar pursuant to subsections (1) (2) of this Section, a CERTIFICATE OF CALL TO BAR which shall be in such firm as the Benchers may determine. (Emphasis mine)
The Robot Lawyer that does not even possess a Qualifing Certificate, what will it tender to the Benchers for the Benchers to call it to Bar and isuue the certificate to him? Meanwhile, No certificate of Call to Bar, no entitlment to practice the Law in Nigeria.

  1. Not on the Roll of the Legal Practitioners
    Every Lawyer in Nigeria has his name on the roll of legal practitioners, which gives them the ability to have a roll call number. The Roll is a register where the names of all those that can practice the law in Nigeria are written, any Lawyer whose name is struck off this Roll can not be able to practice law even with his LLB, Qualifying Certificate, and Call to Bar Certificate. The Register is kept with the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Section 2 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act 1975 provides that a person will be entitled to practice law if and only his name is on the roll, though it also provides some exceptions to this under Subsection 2 (a) and (b) for a non-Nigerian Lawyer, Attorney-General of the Federation or a State, Solicitor-General of the Federation or a State, Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation or a State or a person that is exercising the function in the civil service of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation or a State, Solicitor-General of the Federation or a State to practice law in some provided circumstances. However, all of them are Lawyers that has satisfied the requirements, save the Non-Nigerian Lawyers.

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The Robot Lawyer does not meet any of the prescriptions stated above, meanwhile, for a person to be admitted into Nigerian Law School where he will be trained in the practical areas of law prescribed by the Council of Legal Education, he must display that he is morally upright, that he has not been found guilty of examination malpractice, fraud, or dishonesty (See Okonjo v Council of Legal Education (1979) what criteria shall we follow to access that the Robot Lawyer is honest and not fraudulent? Though his past record has shown that it did not even attend a school or conducted an exam, so we can not really say that it has once engaged in Examination malpractice.

However, the law is dynamic, this is the position of law that is in force as at the time that this writer is creating his craft. The Nigerian Legislatures have been given the power to make laws, the Judicial decisions of our Courts are also binding laws, either of them may make an enactment or decide in contrary to what this writer has opined anytime soon.

Abdullahi Adebayo Abdulrauf is a Law Student, studying the combination of Common Law and Islamic Law at Bayero University, Kano. He is a Certified Teacher, a Dynamic Writer and a Content Creator. He is the founder of Abdullahi Legal Academy where he gives Law Tutorials to Law Students and Legal Awareness to the Public. He can be reached via +2349034904883 (WhatsApp and Call) and abdulraufabdullahia@gmail.com

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