A new initiative to drive partnership working between legal professionals in the UK and Nigeria has been announced by the Prime Minister on 29th August, 2018. The initiative is the latest stage of the Ministry of Justice’s ambitious ‘Legal Services are GREAT’ campaign, which aims to promote the strength and breadth of the UK’s legal offer across the globe.

The announcement was made upon the visit of the Prime Minister to the securities exchange company FMDQ in Lagos, and is part of a wider government drive to deepen its partnerships with African nations. It will bring UK and Nigerian legal professionals together to share knowledge, skills and legal expertise and highlight the advantages of UK legal services to wider business growth.

Speaking on the importance of the campaign, Lord Chancellor David Gauke said: ‘’Our legal services sector is one of the UK’s greatest exports, and we want it to remain at the very heart of our future as a global, outward-looking, free-trading Britain. We launched the Legal Services are GREAT campaign, to showcase the very best of what the UK’s legal services sector has to offer around the globe, and I’m delighted that we are now extending the campaign to Nigeria. We know that UK law firms and chambers are keen to increase working in this area and are committed to supporting them to take advantage of the many opportunities on offer’’.

In 2018, 5 of the world’s fastest-growing economies are African and the continent’s total GDP could well double between 2015 and 2030. The government is keen to support UK law firms and chambers to maximise the potential of this emerging market.

Commenting on the initiative, Nathan Searle, partner at Hogan Lovells, said: “While the new initiative to strengthen collaboration between the UK and Nigerian legal communities is to be welcomed, we must not lose sight of the fact that there are already very close ties between the leading firms in London and Nigeria. Our firm and other leading UK-based firms who have been successful in doing big-ticket Nigerian related deals or disputes have worked for many years hand-in-hand with leading Nigerian lawyers and law firms. These deep and long standing relationships, particularly those that have stood through the recent economic downturn from low oil prices, provide a firm foundation for this new initiative to build on.”

“Many of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria with whom I work are recognised as leading lawyers not only in Nigeria but in the West Africa region and are active members of international legal community. From a personal perspective, I am excited about the potential for the rising stars among the younger generation of Nigerian lawyers. I know many young lawyers in Nigeria and they are some of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial lawyers I have met. This new partnership initiative provides an exciting opportunity to help accelerate the development of Nigeria as a legal hub in West Africa. Collaboration and a willingness on both sides to learn from each other will be the key to making the new partnership initiative a success,” Searle said.

A delegation of legal representatives will visit Nigeria later in the year to meet counterparts and create new business opportunities.

‘’The Legal Services are Great’’ campaign was launched by Lord Keen in Singapore last year and has already delivered trade delegations to Kazakhstan and China. The campaign promotes the UK’s £24 billion legal services sector overseas, showcasing the very best of what the UK’s legal services sector has to offer and helping to bring new business to the UK for our legal firms, chambers and courts.