On Whether Counsel Whose Seal is Affixed on Court Process must Tick His Name as Signatory to the Process

In MAINA V. E.F.C.C. (2020) 2 NWLR PART 1708 at PAGE 241-242, per ABUNDAGA, J.C.A. stated as follows:

“The Legal Practitioners Act, LFN, 2004, with particular reference to sections 2(1) and 24 thereof, was intended to cure a mischief; that of preventing fake lawyers parading themselves all over the place. It was however, not a complete success, as despite its promulgation, the practice it sought to check persisted with devastating indignation to the practice of law in Nigeria. Concerned about this the use of seal was introduced vide the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 to save the situation. Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct makes it mandatory for legal documents, including notice of appeal and all other processes filed in court to have affixed to them the seal of the legal practitioner who prepared them. That provision does not only help (and in fact has not only helped) to check the malaise of fake lawyers but has helped in identifying who among several lawyers whose names appear on a court process prepared or settled same, since two counsel cannot sign a court process. In this appeal, in compliance with rule 10(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct the seal of the counsel who filed the notice of appeal is affixed beside the names of several counsel in the law firm of Mamman Nasir & Co, appellant’s counsel. The first name in the list of counsel is the name of Mohammed Katu, Esq, above which is a signature. The name on the seal is Mohammad K. Ndanusa. Even without any name being ticked, is not obvious that the notice of appeal was signed by Mohammed Kuta? I want to state without equivocation that where there is a seal on a court process, it is otiose to tick the name of counsel whose name is in the seal as the signatory on the document or process. Therefore the contention of the 1st respondent’s counsel that the signature on the notice of appeal is not traceable to any of the persons whose names appeared as counsel to the appellant lacks substance.”

Moruff O. Balogun Esq.
Ijebu Ode ,Ogun State.

1 comment

  1. Deji Jayeoba

    I think I disagree with the reasoning sha. Seal, names and signatures are different things. The three can belong to and or emanate from three different people at the same time.
    That the name on the seal is included in the names on the list does not mean that another person from the list couldn’t have signed it. Thus, we cannot effectively determine who signed except a name on the list is ticked.
    Respectfully, the ruling runs on assumptions.

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