Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, yesterday inaugurated 38 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) with a charge on them to display a high sense of integrity always and be good example to junior lawyers in the country.
The CJN reminded the SANs that the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria comes with immense prestige and greater responsibilities and as such should not be taken for granted.
In a speech at the inauguration of the new senior advocates at the Supreme Court complex Abuja, Muhammad, however, warned that the apex court would however not tolerate conduct and attitudes that seem to put the legal profession in a negative light.
Among the newly inaugurated include Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo, Apata; wife of Supreme Court Justice, Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa amongst others.
Muhammad congratulated the conferees, noting that it is a well-deserved honour, having emerged successful from among the 117 that applied for the position in 2019.
He disclosed that 80 applicants emerged after the preliminary screening while the list was later pruned down to 38 after the conduct of specified screening carried out by justices of the apex court, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, general public and the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee amongst others.
“As Senior Advocates of Nigeria, you carry on your shoulders a lot of responsibilities. From this moment, your behaviour and general conduct will now be publicly criticized by all those who come in contact with you. There is nothing like private life for you anymore, as everything you do or say will be openly displayed and dissected in the public domain.
“Watch what your utterances, watch your actions and watch your company because you have already assumed the role of Ministers of the Court as you are now expected to assist the court to attain justice, equity and fairness in all ramifications.
“You must display enormous integrity, self-discipline and high standard of advocacy as custodians of justice”, he said.
The CJN further advised them not to feel that they have arrived and thereby become casual visitors to courtrooms, warning that the leadership of the apex court would not tolerate any form of misconduct.
“I have stated severally that lawyers must desist from the practice of filing needless appeals at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Let it be known that the Supreme Court will henceforth be unsparing in punishing blatant abusers of court processes.
“I need to state clearly that any lawyer who does not adhere to the time-honoured dress code of legal practitioners will not be allowed to appear in court. Such attitude is capable of eroding the prestige and respect accorded to lawyers worldwide”, the CJN added.
Speaking on behalf of the new SANs, Mrs Adedoyin Rhodes Vivour, assured that her set of conferees shall always uphold the dignity of the rank of SAN as examplified by their comportment and relation with the courts.
She added that they will continue to mentor young lawyers and lead them along the right path through their conduct and behaviour.