Law practise like any other profession is protected and as such, a non lawyer cannot do the work of a lawyer. Lawyers as used here means Legal Practitioners called to the Nigerian Bar and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria and not mere law graduates, other related professional or persons with law degrees or related courses.
It is a criminal offence in Nigeria, for a none lawyer to prepare any document relating to rent, tenancy, lease, mortgage, sale, transfer, gift, land, landed property, extracted and not-extracted minerals resources, mines, buildings, structures or relating to probate, letters of administration or any proceedings in court in Nigeria.
It is an offence punishable with fine not more than #200.00 or and imprisonment for not more than 2 years. Where an offender is a company, the directors, managers, secretaries or any such officer as well as the company will be held liable. Well, this offence cannot be brought to court after 3 years such offence was committed.
Any document/agreement relating to the issues mentioned above prepared by a none lawyer whether the matter is in court or not, whether the parties are happy or not, is INVALID, NULL AND VOID as well as any monies or ownership obtained via such documents. And any of the party at anytime can collect back any monies or property paid or transferred, earlier whether the matter is in court or not even after expiration of 3 years.
Note that, none lawyers are exempted from the above law, where such a person is doing such for himself and not in expectation of reward/payment. Other persons exempted are law students and staff of lawyers while performing their duties for the lawyer that employed them.
My authorities are sections 2, 22(1)(d), 22(2), 22(4), 22(5), 22(6), 22(7), 24 and 25 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1975.
CALL FOR AMENDMENT.
There is need to amend the Legal Practitioners Act of 1975 to meet up with reality. There should be an increase of the fine from #200.00 to an amount punitive in nature and the imprisonment term should be a minimum and not a maximum. Also, there should not be a limitation period for prosecution of the offence considering the peculiarity of our society and growing cases of fake lawyers and other overzealous professionals in real estate and investment sectors.
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