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Supreme Court affirms that legal doc without NBA stamp, seal is void


In a judgment delivered today in Appeal No. SC/722/15 All Progressives Congress (APC) V. General Bello Sarkin Yaki, the Supreme Court upheld the 2nd Cross-Appellant’s Cross appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division which summarily dismissed the 2nd Cross-Appellant’s preliminary objection which challenged the Appellants’ Notice of Appeal for failure to bear the stamp/seal of the legal practitioner who signed it.

In allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the sole issue formulated by the 2nd Cross-Appellant; ‘Whether the Court of Appeal was right to hold that failure of a legal document to have affixed to it a Stamp/Seal as mandated by rule 10(1) of the rules of professional conduct did not carry with it the consequence of rendering such legal document incompetent’.

By this decision the Court affirmed that if without complying with the mandatory provision of Rule 10 (1) Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners  2007 which requires a lawyer acting in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any Government department or ministry or any corporation, who signs or files a legal document to affix on any such document a seal and stamp approved by the Nigerian Bar Association, the document so signed or filed shall be deemed not to have been properly signed or filed. 

The court has therefore declared that the signing and or filing of a legal document by a lawyer will not be competent if the NBA is not affixed to it.

Mazi Afam Osigwe

General Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association

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