In a groundbreaking move, Y. C. Maikyau, OON, SAN, has ushered in a transformative era for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), focusing on strengthening institutional and regulatory reforms. One of the notable highlights of this administration’s agenda for building a dynamic bar is the overhaul of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners.
Recognizing the need for a robust framework, the President initiated a series of strategic engagements with key stakeholders, including the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and other regulatory agencies.
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The result of these engagements is the issuance of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2023, a historic document published in Gazette No. 103 in Vol. 110, Government Notice No. 69.
This milestone achievement demonstrates the NBA’s commitment to self-regulate its members in alignment with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) guidelines.
On 16 May 2023, under the hand of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, the General Council of the Bar issued the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2023, Gazette No. 103 in Vol. 110, Government Notice No. 69.
Following these engagements, a consensus was reached that the Nigerian Bar Association would self-regulate its members about Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Guidelines.
To achieve this, a decision was taken to incorporate the relevant guidelines into the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, providing the necessary structure and framework for self-regulation by the NBA.
Drafting the Guidelines and Rules on AML/CFT
President Maikyau’s administration constituted a formidable committee featuring legal luminaries such as Funke Adekoya, SAN, Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, Jide Ogundipe, Seun Abimbola, SAN, Wale Fapohunda, SAN, and some members of the General Council of the Bar (GCB).
This esteemed committee engaged in a series of consultations with officials from the EFCC and the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML).
The Committee drafted Guidelines and Rules on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism for Legal Practitioners. Consequent upon this, a new Rules of Professional Conduct was proposed to the General Council of the Bar (GCB), which contains the extant Rules as Part 1 and the Guidelines and Rules on the Committee Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism for Legal Practitioners as incorporated as Part 2 also note that the AML-CFT did not evolve into the RPC 2023, it was incorporated instead under part 2.
That draft was presented to the GCB and subsequently issued as the RPC 2023.
The extant RPC was made in 2007, under the hand of Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, as the HAGF. Against this backdrop, there is no gainsaying that the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2023 is a milestone achievement.
In this era of legal evolution, President Maikyau’s administration has set a precedent for future advancements, solidifying the NBA’s position as a proactive and progressive force in the realm of legal practice. The RPC 2023 proves the NBA’s unwavering commitment to excellence, ethical conduct, and the continual elevation of the legal profession in Nigeria.
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