M.J Onigbanjo SAN Joins Ask A Lawyer Group For Its Maiden Summit
Ask a Lawyer is an initiative of Imran ‘dapo Shitta-Bey Esq. It is the coming together of about 40 Legal Practitioners of various backgrounds and expertise on a Whatsapp and Internet Platform to share knowledge and drive professional development towards excellence in legal practice.
At its maiden Summit with the theme –
“Sharing Knowledge in Building Enduring Professional Ties” , Ask a Lawyer members explored issues of Ethics in the Legal Profession, Advocacy and Legal Jurisprudence. The keynote speakers at the Summit were Charles Ayodeji Adeogun-Phillips (Former United Nations International Prosecutor), Moyosore Oniganjo SAN and Professor Bankole Sodipo (Former Dean of Law, Babcock University).
Charles Adeogun-Phillips emphasized on the need for more discipline within the Legal Profession and the strengthening of the NBA disciplinary committees to handle cases of professional misconduct. He recommended the disciplinary module adopted for Lawyers practicing in the International Criminal Court. A leading prosecutor in high profile cases brought by the Federal Government of Nigeria, he emphasized the need to build capacity and enhance the conditions of service amongst Prosecutors in the country.
Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, emphasized the need to develop our case law and to avoid technicalities in the preparation and handling of briefs. He noted with regret that many cases that go to our Superior Courts do not touch on substantive issues but on technical matters and preliminary objections thereby stifling the development of our legal jurisprudence. He observed that there are fewer landmark judgements in recent times due to undue attention to technicalities. He therefore urged colleagues to resist the temptation of seeking out technical loopholes and rather focus on applying the substance of the law to the disputes at hand.
Professor Bankole Sodipo represented by Femi Fajolu, managing partner at G.O. Sodipo & Co., reiterated the need for development of our laws. He observed that we talk a lot but we do not act. We have seminars, workshops and so on but when it comes to implementation we are found wanting. He shared his experience as an Intellectual Property Practitioner in the Federal High Court and noted that we need a lot of reform in both our judicial system and in the training of our Judges. Specifically, he called for the establishment of State Appeal Courts to be vested with exclusive appellate jurisdiction on matters contained within the Residual Legislative List of our Constitution.
Martin Ogunleye, Chairman of the NBA, Lagos Branch, observed that the professional body is doing a lot to address shortcomings within the profession and judicial system and with the new leadership of the NBA at the national level he is certain that reforms will take place.
Members and participants then went into a question and answer session which spurred enlightening comments and discussions at the end of which K.C. Carew Esq. (Summit Chairman) summarised key points and submissions in his final remarks.
In the finale, Mr. I.O. Shitta-Bey unveiled ASK A LAWYER 2.O (ask.legalpractitioner.me ), an upgraded and Online version of the Ask a Lawyer platform. A FREE portal to be launched in January 2017 to provide quick answers to legal questions posed by lawyers and the general public alike and also act as a legal referral platform