Multi-Jurisdictional Qualifications for Nigerian Lawyers


If as a Nigerian Lawyer you are looking to expand your legal horizons, which an ambitious Lawyer should, gaining a prestigious and internationally recognised qualification that could open doors to a world of possibilities, regardless of whether you are a practicing Lawyer seeking career advancement or a legal professional looking to enhance your international credentials, then it may be worth considering the groundbreaking opportunity to qualify as a UK Solicitor right from your base here in Nigeria, by taking advantage of the change in regulations of the English Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) to qualify as a UK Solicitor. You can study from home here in Nigeria, as a result of a unique and exclusive collaboration between the Centre for Law and Business (CLB) and Barbri-Global Holdings UK


In the past, before the creation of the Council for Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School that now runs the compulsory vocational course for students who want to qualify and be licensed to practice law in Nigeria, prospective Nigerian Lawyers had to be called to the Bar at one of the four Inns of Court in England, namely Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Gray’s Inn, or Lincoln’s Inn. The first known Nigerian Lawyer to be called to the English Bar at the time, was Chief Christopher Alexander Sapara Williams (14th July, 1855 – 15th March, 1915). He was the first indigenous Nigerian Lawyer, called to the English Bar on 17th November, 1879. Others particularly in the 20th Century, such as Eric Moore, Chief Rotimi Williams, Sir Louis Nwachukwu Mbanefo, Chief Hezekiah Oladipo Davis, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, Chief Ladoke Akintola, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo (regarded by many as the pioneer indigenous Solicitor), but to mention a few soon followed. One of the early known Nigerian Solicitors by training was Dr Lateef Adegbite. He studied at the College of Law for Solicitors, Lancaster Gate in London, but then he also qualified as a Barrister at Gray’s Inn from 1963–1965, before returning to Nigeria to attend the Nigerian Law School. 


In the early days to qualify as a Solicitor, a person was required to be articled to a firm of Solicitors in England for at least four years. The educational qualification was West African School Certificate. The Law Society, which is the Governing Body for Solicitors, organised Solicitors’ Part 1 and Final Examinations which a candidate must pass. A law degree was not necessarily required.

 In 1922, a school was established to organise a course for Solicitors, and attendance was mandatory. Nigerians perhaps, due to the need to be articled with a law firm still opted instead to qualify as a Barrister rather than a Solicitor, especially since the profession in practice here in Nigeria was fused. 

Nature of Legal Practice in England and Nigeria 


In England as already noted above, the legal profession is divided into two classes, Barristers and Solicitors. A person usually trains, and then practices either as a Barrister or a Solicitor. 

 There is a marked difference, in the legal duties performed by each class. A Barrister’s business consists mainly of advocacy. He has a right of audience in the Courts. 

 On the other hand, the best-known area of operation for Solicitors, is in non-litigious work. This includes drawing up of documents such as conveyances, contracts, wills; administering estates and trusts, and advising clients generally. For litigious work, that is, work which involves litigation, a Solicitor instructs a Barrister, and can only appear without further assessments in the Magistrate Courts or County Courts. Things have changed in recent years, and Solicitors can now also appear as Solicitor Advocates in Superior Courts upon completing an additional assessment requirement. 


In Nigeria, however, the legal profession is fused, and aspirants to the Bar are trained as Barristers and Solicitors. 

Creation of the Nigerian Law School 

By virtue of the Legal Education Act, 1962 which later became the Legal Education (Consolidation etc) Act, 1976 contained in CAP L.10, Volume 8, LFN, 2004 the Nigerian Law School was “founded on the principle to educate and train graduates in vocational skills that would enable them function optimally as Barristers and Solicitors”. Nigerian Lawyers thenceforth, didn’t need to be called to the English Bar anymore, and the fusion of Barristers and Solicitors was formalised in the Nigerian legal system. Nigerians could no longer practice in the UK, and vice versa. Foreign Lawyers who wanted to appear in Nigerian Courts, had to obtain authorisation to do so. This issue arose during the treasonable felony trial of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1962, when he sought to have Mr E. F. N. Gratiaen Q.C, a British Lawyer to defend him, but he was denied this request by the Minister of Interior. See the case of Chief Obafemi Awolowo v The Hon. Mallam Usman Sarki &  Attorney-General of the Federation (1963) LCN/1050(SC)

 As at today, some Lawyers, such as Professor Fidelis Oditah, KC, SAN, saw the benefit and advantage of dual qualification, enabling them to practice both in England and Nigeria and thus, obtained qualifications in both jurisdictions with immense advantages; although ironically, it is now virtually impossible to qualify as an English Barrister while remaining here in Nigeria, but the Solicitors option which our forefathers sought to avoid because of the need to be articled with a law firm, is now presenting us with fresh opportunities.

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination 

Qualification to practice in the United Kingdom became restrictive for Nigerian Lawyers, and although there was an increased possibility under the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Test (QLTT) and subsequently, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) offering examinations for the licence to practice as a Solicitor in England and Wales designed for foreign-licensed Lawyers. The QLTS supplanted the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) on 1st September, 2010.

Under new regulations by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), the QLTS has now been fully replaced by the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

Whether you have studied law or not, SQE qualifies you as a Solicitor in the UK. The qualification requirements are the SQE 1 and SQE 2 examination, and work experience. Nigerian Lawyers may be granted exemption from SQE 2 and their work experience in Nigeria recognised, so that the only examination required of the Nigerian Lawyer to qualify as a Solicitor of England and Wales (UK Solicitor) could be the SQE 1 examination.

The collaboration between Centre for Law and Business (CLB) and Barbri-Global affords Nigerian Lawyers the opportunity to study here in Nigeria for the SQE 1 examinations, and also take the examinations in Nigeria without having to travel abroad. Lawyers can also from home, take the examinations to be called to the New York Bar and California Bar.

In this digital and technology age which has made the world “smaller” and reachable, as well as the ability to work remotely, the future for standing out and success for the legal professional will lie in multi-jurisdictional qualifications enabling Lawyers practice and offer legal services across dual or multi-jurisdictions, bearing in mind that 60% of the world’s legal system is the common law.


Monique Morrison, a representative of Barbri-Global Holdings and Dapo Oyewumi of CLB will be available to personally connect with you, by being physically present at an interactive event specially organised in a collaborative effort by both Barbri-Global Holdings and CLB taking place at 10am on Thursday 6th July, 2023 at the Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos where Lawyers, Magistrates and indeed, retired Judges, who are interested can obtain first-hand information on this great opportunity. As for Lawyers outside Lagos and others who cannot attend in person, you can take advantage of a virtual session starting at 6.00 pm. A visit to will offer all necessary and further details.

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