The legal practitioners act: a code for regulating the conduct of lawyers in nigeria

AuthorMichael Chukwujindu Ogwezzy
PositionFaculty of Law, Department of Public International Law Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria
AGORA International Journal of Juridical Sciences, www.juridicalj
ISSN 1843-570X, E-ISSN 2067-7677
No. 3 (2013), pp. 108-119
M. C. Ogwezzy
Michael Chukwujindu Ogwezzy
Faculty of Law, Department of Public International Law
Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria
* Corespondece: Michael Chukwujindu Ogwezzy, Lagos, P.O Box 30678 Secretariat,
Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
The legal practitioner is an expert whose services and expertise are required by
members of the public. He is expected to maintain the highest standards of professional
conduct, etiquette and discipline in the discharge of his duties. In addressing himself as a legal
practitioner he represents to those who depend on his professional advice and other services
that he has the requisite acumen and expertise. For this reason, under the general common law
and the rule in Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v. Heller & Partners Ltd, the lawyer can be held liable
for professional negligence. This paper will address “the Relationship between a Lawyer and
the Client” in the Context of the Legal Practitioners Act and Case Law as negligence in
handling of a client’s affairs may be of such a nature as to amount to professional misconduct
and if sued by the client will warrant prosecution and punishment of the Legal Practitioner.
This is because it is the duty of a lawyer to devote his attention, energy and expertise to the
service of his client and, subject to any rule of law, to act in a manner consistent with the best
interest of his client. He shall consult with his client in all questions of doubt; and keep the
client informed of the progress and any important development in the matter as may be
reasonably necessary and warn his client against any particular risk which is likely to occur in
the course of the matter.
Keywords: Nigeria, lawyer, professinal ethic
Introduction: Meaning of Professional Ethics?
In different parts of the world, dozens of ethics centres and programmes are established
and devoted to the study of business ethics, legal ethics, bioethics, medical ethics, engineering
ethics, and computer ethics. These centres are designed to examine the implications of moral
principles and practices in all spheres of human activity on our lives. Ethics can be viewed
from two angles, normative and prescriptive.
First, ethics refers to well-based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what
humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, and
specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable
obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical
standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty while
ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to
freedom from injury, the right to choose, the right to privacy, and right to freedom of speech
LL.B, (Ibadan) B.L, LL.M, (Nigeria) ML.D, (DELSU) MASIO/LL.M, (ZH/Switzerland) (Ph.D in View),
Lecturer I, Faculty of Law, Lea d City University, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Toll Gate Area, Ibad an, Oyo State-
Nigeria, Email address:, Tel: +234 8035 460865.

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