NLS opposes NBA’s attempt to Appeal its Victory over the Corporate Affairs Commission to Register as an Association

Recall that the Promoters of NLS achieved an epoch-making victory in their suit filed against the CAC delivered by Hon. Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court to have the NLS registered as a professional association for legal practitioners in Nigeria. It appears the NBA now wants to appeal that Judgment even though the NBA was not a party before the trial Court; as we’ve learnt that the NBA has filed an application to appeal the Judgment as an interested party.

In an intense session before the Court of Appeal, with my Lord, Hon. Justice Hamma Akawu Barka presiding, on Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024 for the hearing of NBA’s application, Counsel to one of the Promoters (Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN), Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN who announced appearance under protest, contended that his client, designated as the 1st Respondent has not been served with NBA’s application. NBA’s team of Counsel, led by the President, Y. C. Maikyau, SAN maintained that they had served all the Respondents when they served the Counsel who represented the Promoters before the trial Court.

Gadzama, SAN argued that the application for appeal, being an appeal in itself, was a fresh and originating process, and as such, all parties affected must be served directly and not through proxies that have no direct or constructive instruction to receive service on their behalves. Hence, whatever was served had not gotten to the 1st Respondent.

The NBA team argued that it beholds on the Counsel who was served to draw the attention of either the Court or the parties affected that he had no authority to receive service or that an application had been served on the Respondents, notwithstanding the absence of proof that the Counsel had no visible authority to receive service. Counsel to the CAC also supported the NBA.

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Both sides referred the Honorable Justices of the Court of Appeal to an avalanche of authorities and the Court reserved its ruling on the issue of service on the 1st Respondent. It is worthy of note that the 2nd – 6th Respondents (namely Chief Mela Audu Nunghe, SAN, Amb. Garba Gajam, Chief Emeka Ichoku, Mrs. Chioma Ferguson and Tejumola Adigun) were absent and had no legal representation in Court. Issue on service on the 2nd – 6th Respondents is likely to be the next set of burning coals after that of the 1st Respondent is resolved by the Court of Appeal.

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