Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has urged lawyers to embrace honesty, transparency, and integrity in order to keep the legal profession in high esteem.
Justice Ariwoola gave the charge on Monday in Abuja while declaring open the 2023 Nigerian Bar Association- Section on Legal Practice, (NBA-SLP) Annual Conference.
The CJN who was represented by retired Justice Salisu Garba, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, said that lawyers had a key role to play in ensuring effective application of laws and guaranteeing legal certainty in the country .
The CJN implored legal professionals not to sit and watch the country deteriorate but to rise to the occasion as lawyers and ensure law and order in the country.
For his part, the President of the NBA, Mr Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, in his welcome remarks, said that a new code of conduct for legal practitioners was set to be launched as part of efforts in fighting corruption.
Maikyau said that the association’s commitment to the fight against corruption was an inherent responsibility of all lawyers which must be upheld.
He said the new code of conduct for lawyers would be inaugurated on Jan. 1, 2024.
Maikyau decried the situation where Seniors Advocates were denying junior lawyers access to them.
“It is tyrannical for senior advocates not to allow their juniors access to them.
“They are supposed to be mentored but if they do not see you, how can you mentor them?
“Stop building barricades around yourselves and allow your juniors to have access to you,” Maikyau said.
Welcoming participants to the conference, Chairman of NBA-SLP, Mr Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) said that the age of artificial intelligence had widened the legal space which lawyers should take advantage of.
The senior lawyer said the theme of the 2023 conference was chosen to engage with global issues of transformation in the legal profession.
“The age of artificial Intelligence, the largely unexplored legal spaces, interrogates the widening scope of the legal services market and lifts the veil of jurisdictional stonewalling.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Central Planning Committee of the 2023 NBA-SLP Annual Conference, Mr Paul-Harris Ogbole, SAN, urged lawyers to take advantage of the conference to deepen their knowledge on globalization in the practice of law.
Ogbole said that the conference would in particular, x-ray the future of legal services in Nigeria and beyond.
“The conference will also examine topical issues such as exploring the frontiers of dispute resolution in investment matters, organ donation and transplantation under Nigerian law among other topics.
The senior lawyer said that the conference would further examine the practice of law in Nigeria in an ever globalised and internationalised environment.
For his part, the Chairman of NBA, Abuja Branch, Mr Afam Okeke said that the conference would afford legal practitioners the opportunity to exchange knowledge, cross-fertilise ideas and reflect on the evolving nature of the legal profession.
Okeke said that as lawyers, saddled with the responsibility of global transformation, addressing cross-border disputes and tackling transnational legal issues, it was important to come together to rub minds.
He encouraged participants to actively engage in conversations, build new relationships and seize the opposite to collaborate on future endeavors.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the theme for the 2023 Conference is: “Legal Practice Without Borders.” (NAN)