#ENDSARS PANEL: ‘WHAT SANWA-OLU TOLD ME,’ BY ADEGBORUWA

Fiery human rights activist and member of the #ENDSARS Judicial Inquiry Panel, MR. EBUN-OLU ADEGBORUWA SAN chronicles his encounter with Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwa-Olu and why he accepted to serve on the panel.

My phone rang unusually, but it was a call that I had to pick, given the assignment that came through that source some days earlier. He is my Learned Brother Silk and the Honourable Attorney-General of the State where I reside and practice. He is also a friend. About a week ago, he had politely requested me to serve Lagos State as a member of the Criminal Law Review Panel and I was already engrossed into that assignment, given the business-like model adopted by the Chairperson of the Panel, the Honourable Justice Adenike Coker. I had just returned from a very strenuous trip from Abuja, so I was thoroughly exhausted, but I had to pick the call. He thanked me for accepting to serve in the Criminal Law Review Panel but now he has a more urgent assignment for me. He then asked me to speak with His Excellency the Governor of Lagos State. Though the voice was somewhat calm, I could sense the urgency as well. He appealed to me to come to the aid of the State, at this time. He said he knows my position on issues and that is exactly why he has chosen me for a new assignment. He wanted people with an independent mindset who would tell it as it is, not minding what they uncover. He had given an undertaking to the youth to interface between them and the Federal Government in respect of the EndSARS protest and the National Economic Council has advised all States to set up Judicial Panels of Inquiry into the brutality suffered by citizens in the hands of the police. He wants me to serve on the Panel for Lagos State.

I thanked him and then requested for time to think about it, hoping in my mind to consult widely on the issue. I had a constituency and I began to call prominent members of my constituency, that is, civil society and the legal profession. Suggestions came forth in many ways and I gave the feedback to the State. Some adjustments were made and after securing assurances from the Governor, I accepted to serve as a member of the Panel. The next thing of course would be to ascertain the legality of the assignment, so I consulted the Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State, section 1 of which states as follows:

“1. Power to constitute Tribunal of Inquiry
(1) The Governor may when necessary, constitute one or more persons by a signed instrument, a Tribunal with authority to inquire into the conduct or affairs of any officer in the public service of the State, or any officer in a local authority in the State, or of any chief, or the management of any department of the public service or of any local authority or declarations of customary law relating to selection of an Oba or a recognized Chief or any matter relating to any chieftaincy dispute, or INTO ANY MATTER IN RESPECT OF WHICH IN THE OPINION AN INQUIRY WOULD BE FOR THE PUBLIC WELFARE.”

Given the position of the courts on the famed Oputa Panel, it became imperative to be well guided. In the opinion of the State, the Panel was primarily an attempt to heal wounds, to relate with victims of human rights abuses, by the police and other law enforcement agencies, such as Vehicle Inspection Officers, LASTMA, local government tax collectors, etc and then offer compensation. The Governor had assured of a Victims Trust Fund already established with a take-off grant of N200m, from which due compensation would be paid to the victims, as determined by the Panel. I had made other requests, concerning other members of the Panel and also my status, to serve only as a part-time member without the payment of any allowance, salary or benefit in any manner whatsoever. This was granted and indeed the Honourable Attorney-General ensured that members got the Instrument constituting the Panel signed by the Governor and also a letter of appointment. So far as these two documents were handed over to me, I was satisfied with the sincerity of the State, especially on the issue of autonomy and independence of the Panel.

The Panel members were sworn in at a brief ceremony at State House, Marina, on October 19, 2020 and we set to work immediately, by visiting the venue of its sittings at the Lagos State Waterways Authority office at Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos. We indicated our disagreement with the venue for many reasons and the authorities obliged us with a change of venue to the Lagos Court of International Arbitration, LCIA, at the second roundabout of Lekki Phase 1. We requested an independent secretariat and other facilities, in order to be truly independent of the government. Then came the Black Tuesday, at the Lekki Toll Plaza. There was a national outrage on the events that happened at the Lekki Toll Plaza, especially as to different accounts from social media influencers. By Friday October 23, 2020, the Governor made a state broadcast by which he added the Lekki Toll Plaza matter to the terms of reference of the Panel. As usual, Panel members demanded for an Instrument in this regard.

We then set to work, developing the rules of practice and procedure for the Panel, to interview and interact with members of the Secretariat and to conduct a physical inspection of the venue for the sittings of the Panel. It would then seem very clear that the State was serious about the Panel. I have received a number of calls, counsel and prayers, about my membership of the Panel. Why would I accept to serve a government that I had battled with in court for so many years? First, the cases that I filed in court were not meant to derail the government but rather to strengthen the rule of law and help the government. Second, having fought tooth and nail these many years, any opportunity created for engagement should not be ignored by those directly involved in the struggle to liberate our people. Or how else do we secure victory if we run away from the solution? The Governor stated it to me clearly and indeed in all his public declarations on the matter that he wanted people with independent minds and who have the integrity to do a thorough job without being influenced one way or the other. Pray, how do I run away from an engagement that will lead to the compensation of victims of government brutality, most of who are the masses of our people? What then is the essence of the struggle over the years, if we shy away from holding the government accountable for its actions and inactions?

I have myself been a victim of brutality, by the police and by soldiers, by LASTMA and by other government officers, so I know what it means to be a victim. I count myself also as worthy and deserving of some compensation for the many abuses that I suffered in the past but I drop my own personal case on this occasion in the interest of others since God has been merciful to help me survive and overcome the trauma of my ordeal. So then I accepted to serve on the Panel, given the assurances of the Governor, the commitment shown with the signed legal Instrument constituting the Panel, my letter of appointment and the other members of the Panel who have all shown the desire to do a thorough job. And since I made it a condition to serve only on a pro bono basis, that in itself is a signal to the authorities that it would be a no nonsense exercise. We will say it as it is and as it should be, otherwise it will not be worth the trouble at all.

It will then be for me to appeal to all and sundry to come up with their claims, complaints and petitions. The rules of engagement by the Panel have been made so simple, such that victims can approach the Panel and be assisted by the Secretariat to document their complaints on oath, since it is a judicial panel of record. Those who wish to appear with their counsel are free to do so, by submitting their petitions accompanied with an affidavit verifying the facts of the petition. We have multiple assurances from the government and the agencies concerned of maximum cooperation with the Panel in the course of its assignment. I therefore appeal to all Nigerians to come up with the cases, video clips, write ups and other evidence of human rights abuses such as torture, extortions, arrest and detention, killings, deprivations and such other cases as perpetrated by any agency of government.

On Sunday, October 25, 2020, it was widely publicized that Ministers and Governors of the South-West visited the Governor of Lagos State on a sympathy tour of structures affected by the wanton looting and destruction that took place. In the course of their visit, they were led to the Lekki Toll Plaza, to assess the situation thereat. It was at the same Lekki Toll Plaza that the incident of alleged shooting of EndSARS protesters was said to have taken place.

Since the Panel has been vested with jurisdiction over the Lekki Toll Plaza, I verily believe that it is illegal for anyone else to conduct any visit to the said Lekki Toll Plaza in the absence of and without the authority and consent of the Panel. It was reported that in the course of the visit, the former governor of Lagos State and the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, discovered a hidden camera, which he took. This is a clear case of illegally tampering with exhibits that may become useful to the Panel in the course of its assignment. I appeal to the Governor of Lagos State to allow the Panel the full autonomy and independence that was promised at the time of inauguration. It is contempt of the Panel for anyone to usurp the powers of the Panel in the way that has been reported. In this regard, the Panel will not shy away from summoning anyone who is alleged to be involved in any contemptuous act that may obstruct the course of justice. It certainly cannot be business as usual.

The healing process has commenced and I can assure all Nigerians that the Panel is determined to do a thorough job, based on its terms of reference. It is painful that these infractions happened at all, but the opportunity for restitution and compensation should not be discountenanced.

Victims can reach the Panel through the following platforms: judicialpanelonsars@lagosstate.gov.ng

0901 051 3203, 0901 051 3204, 0901 051 3205. The Panel will be sitting at the Lagos Court for International Arbitration located at N0.1A, Remi Olowude Street, 2nd Roundabout, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

Life without Christ is Crisis

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THE PRESIDENCY: A MATTER OF GRAMMAR

Nigerian Law School teacher, MR. SYLVESTER UDEMEZUE dissects the lexical nexus between ‘The Presidency’ and ‘The President’ and points the way forward 

The purpose of this piece is to demonstrate that it is incorrect and unfitting for any media aide to a Nigerian President to issue or sign any Public Statement or Press Release in the name or on behalf of “The Presidency,” and to suggest appropriate options to comply with extant law and procedure.

The discussion would be undertaken under four heads: Administrative & English grammar; the Law of Agency; and the Rule of Law (Constitutional). Part four would then discuss Conclusion and Recommendations

(1) The Administrative & English Grammar Angle

First, although the term, “the Presidency” is generally used to refer to “the administration or the executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of president of a state or nation,” (see Wikipedia), that term is not a person known to any law in Nigeria and on behalf of which/whom a person may act as an agent. Down here in Nigeria, “the presidency” is a term/noun used to refer collectively to the following offices: “Office of the President; Office of the Vice President; Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government; Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation; Office of the National Security Adviser; and the entire Statehouse Administration” (see https://statehouse.gov.ng/presidency/). This term is a creation done by people in power, in Nigeria, merely for convenience, and without any legal foundation and as such having no legal power or capacity. This being the case, when you say you issue a statement on behalf of “the presidency,” you give the erroneous impression that all the occupants of the above-named offices had met and agreed to issue the affected statement. It is my humble observation (I stand to be corrected) that each of the above-mentioned offices and officers within the presidency, has its/their own Media Aides who issue statement or press releases on their respective behalf. This is one major reason it is imperative that those appointed and retained for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should learn to sign or issue public statements or press releases emanating from that office, in the appropriate form/capacity so as to leave no one in doubt that they act specifically for the office of the president, and not for the entire presidency, except where the latter is the case, although I think this is still rendered inappropriate by the reasons advanced hereinbelow.

(2) The Agency Angle

In the Law of Agency, an agent cannot act on behalf of a non-juristic person. Put differently, the principal in every agency relationship must be a juristic person, a person in law, capable of suing or being sued in his name; the principal must be legally capable of doing that which he purports to do through his agent. Is “the presidency” a legal person capable of holding property, or of entering into a contract or of suing or being sued in that name? No, to the best of my knowledge and honest belief. The next question is, Which law crates “the presidency?” None that I know of! Consequently, if the “presidency” lacks the legal capacity to enter into any contract in that name or to sue or be sued in that name, then it lacks any capacity to sign any Public Statements or Press Releases, and hence cannot delegate/appoint any media aide to validly issue or sign any such statement or releases on its behalf. In conclusion, no one can validly act on behalf, or in the name of “the presidency,” since ethe presidency is not a legal person; the legal defect which “the presidency” suffers cannot be cured by getting another to do anything on its behalf which itself cannot legally do. This principle is usually expressed in the maxim “Nemo Potest Facere Per Alium, Quod Per Se Non Potest” which means that “no one can do through another what he himself cannot lawfully do.” There is yet another principle in agency which is related to the above-expressed: Qui Facit Peralum Facit Per Se Ip Sam Facere Vindepur, which means, he who does an act through another is deemed in law to do it himself. See the cases of Anyaorah vs. Anyaorah (2001) 7 NWLR (Pt 711) 158; Amadiume v. Ibok (2005) LPELR-5730 (CA). Both Pastor Femi Adesina and Alhaji Garba Shehu are each agents of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as the President and Commander in Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces, having been separately employed, the former as the “Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” and the latter as the “Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” Neither of the duo was employed by or to act for “the Presidency.” Accordingly, when they sign or each signs statement, they ought to recognize, acknowledge, and disclose their principal, and state the fact that they act for the disclosed principal, in line with the rules of the Law of Agency.

(3) The Rule of Law (Constitutionalism) Angle

Section 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended provides that “(1) This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. (2) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed… except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. (3) If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.” The practical implication of the above provision is that the provisions of the Constitution are binding on all authorities and persons within Nigeria, including all the media aides to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who, as a matter of strict legal obligation, must comply with all the provisions of law in all their conducts and actions. In the famous case of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi v. INEC & 2 ors (2008) 1 SCNJ 1; (2008) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1080) 227), His Lordships, Pius Olayiwola Aderemi, JSC had this to say: “in all countries of the world which subscribe to and operate under the rule of law, all actions of both private and public persons are always adapted to the laws of the land. We ought to allow this time-honoured principle to sink well into our heads and hearts.” The Black`s Law Dictionary describes rule of law as predominance that is absolute of the ordinary laws of the land over every citizen and institution regardless of status, position, power. The rule of law, as explained by Oputa, JSC (now late) in Military Governor of Lagos State and others vs Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, simply means, inter alia, that the state is subject to the law, which implies that all actions and conduct of or by the state or by state actors or officials must be as sanctioned by extant laws of the land
This takes us to the next important question, what is the position of law, in the present instance? Beside the explanations already given in relation to the Law of Agency, section 5 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended vests the Executive Powers of the Federation of Nigeria, not in “the Presidency,” but in the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as follows:

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation shall be vested in the President, and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation.”

This is one reason the respective Letters of Appointment of each of Pastor Femi Adesina and Alhaji Garba Shehu states that they were/are appointed respectively as the “Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” and the “Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” This being the case, and in view of section 5(1) of the Constitution (cited above), it is inappropriate, even illegal, for any one of them to sign any Statements or Press Releases on behalf of “the Presidency” (an office unknown to law), instead of The President who appointed them and for whom they are legally authorized and entitled to act. Besides, the Constitution makes it clear that the powers vested in the President of Nigeria may be exercised either personally and directly by the President, or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation. I am not aware of any Law made by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic empowering any office known as “The Presidency” to act for or on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic, neither is there any extant legal instrument by which the holder of the executive powers of the Federation (Mr. President) has authorized “the presidency” to act on/in his behalf. By the way, this next question is also relevant, Does Mr. President even possess any powers to delegate any of his powers or responsibilities to “the presidency?” The answer is “no” because there is no such office in existence in Nigeria, which is known or called “the Presidency.” I have already explained (see above) what the term, “the presidency” stands for or represents.

May I point out that I have heard of a body/office known as “the presidency” and being a creation of law only in relation to the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to https://www.icc-cpi.int/about/presidency/Pages/default.aspx (accessed October 25, 2020), “the Presidency” as an arm of the ICC is “one of the four Organs of the Court. It is composed of the President and First and Second Vice-Presidents, all of whom are elected by an absolute majority of the Judges of the ICC for a three-year renewable term. The judges composing the Presidency serve on a full-time basis. The Presidency has three main areas of responsibility: judicial/legal functions, administration and external relations.” The current presidency of the ICC was elected by the judges of the Court on 11 March 2018, in line with Article 38 of the Rome Statute (the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute, is the treaty that established the ICC; it was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome, Italy, on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002). (se <https://www.icc-cpi.int/resource-library/documents/rs-eng.pdf> accessed October 25, 2020). Conversely, there is no law establishing “the presidency” within Nigeria, either as an office, or as a branch or segment of governance/government within the country to which power could be delegated or from whom any legal authority emanates or to whom legal capacity could be ascribed. How then, can anyone purport to act to act or to be acting for a legally non-existent body? This is why I shudder on each of the several occasions that I have seen public statements or press releases signed on behalf of, or in the name of “the presidency” by any one of Pastor Femi Adesina, Alhaji Garba Shehu, or indeed by anyone else, for that matter.

(4) Conclusion & Recommendations

In view of the above, it is my humble suggestion to my friends, Pastor Femi Adesina and Alhaji Garba Shehu, to forthwith cease and desist from issuing statements for or on behalf of “the Presidency” because such action, apart from being unconstitutional and therefore illegal, is administratively inappropriate and grammatically misrepresentative, as I believe I have explained. In line with the horizons of their appointments and job specifications, I respectfully recommend the following options of signing/issuing Public Statements or Press Releases as being each apposite and in compliance with the Constitution, rule of law and administrative procedures:

1) Option One:
Signed:

Pastor Femi Adesina,
For: The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces,
Federal Republic of Nigeria.✅

2) Option Two:
Signed:

Pastor Femi Adesina,
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to
the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.✅

3) Option Three:
Signed:

Alhaji Garba Shehu,
For: The President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces,
Federal Republic of Nigeria.✅

Or
4) Option Four:
Signed:

Alhaji Garba Shehu,
Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to
the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.✅

▪️The options below (5 and 6) are inappropriate and legally unacceptable:

5) Option Five:
Signed:

Alhaji Garba Shehu,
Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity,
The Presidency❌

6) Option Six:
Signed:

Pastor Femi Adesina,
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity,
The Presidency.❌

Respectfully,
Sylvester Udemezue (udems)
(Coordinator, English For Lawyers Forum, Nigeria)
(englishforlawyerng@gmail.com, 08109024556) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

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#ENDSARS: AKPATA STORMS PROBE PANEL, VOWS CLOSE MONITORING

  • PROMISES FREE LEGAL HELP FOR VICTIMS

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata yesterday stormed the inaugural sitting of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for victims of #EndSARS-related abuses and the October 20 Lekki Tollgate shootings.

Briefing NBA Lagos Branch members after the visit, Akpata vowed that NBA will closely monitor the activities of the panel to ensure that justice is done to all victims of the crisis.

Akpata, who was addressing the lawyers during their monthly general meeting, said that NBA would also set up free legal assistance teams to help victims pursue their cases before the panel, even as he called for “sober reflection and positive action.”

He stated that he visited the Lagos State panel of enquiry to represent the association, adding: “My Lord Justice (Doris) Okuwobi gave me the opportunity to let the panel know that the NBA intends to be actively involved in this panel in Lagos and similar panels set up all over the country.”

Speaking specifically on NBA’s roadmap for the enquiry panels, Akpata said: “And just to latch on to the point made by my brother Emeka Nwadioke, our intervention will be two-pronged: firstly, as we have already indicated, we want to provide through our members pro bono service to victims – so that we can help them at all these panels, the 36 States and the National Human Rights Commission Panel set up in Abuja, help these victims articulate their petitions and also present their petitions.

“We are going to set up teams. We already have the Public Interest Team that we are putting together and a database of lawyers who have already indicated that they would like to be part of this process. He stated that the process is ongoing and urged the branch leadership to seek out more volunteers for the pro bono project.

Continuing, Akpata said: “The second leg of our intervention would be serving as independent observers in all of these panels, serving as friends of the court – or friends of the panel, as it were – to ensure that the panels are proceeding unimpeded.”

He stated that the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry leadership was “very delighted that the NBA is ready to play these roles, and has assured me that we would be given due recognition, and that our members who come in to play the independent observer role would be duly accorded recognition and audience as at when necessary.

“For Lagos, for example, by my calculation there would be 72 days of sitting for the next 6 months. So it will be important for us to set up committees. The volunteers can take turns to participate in the proceedings of the panel so that we can be the watchdog, play the watchdog role that is ours to play. We intend to be very involved.”

Turning to the protests, the NBA president noted that many lawyers bore the brunt of the destruction of properties. Noting that standing aloof is not an option, Akpata stated that there are “wider issues” involved. He said that beyond the #ENDSARS protests and the Lekki Toll Plaza killings, “there are root causes that we must address.”

He noted that “the masses are protesting,” adding that “we must attack the root issues, we must intervene in this process as the NBA, we must mediate in this process.”

On the efforts earlier made by the NBA, Akpata stated that in the days leading to October 20 when the crisis peaked with the killing of some protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, NBA led efforts along with its branches and States Attorneys-General to free all detained protesters, adding that he is “very proud of the work our members did facilitating the release of members of the public who were arrested around the country.

“Beyond that, we very quickly collaborated with the National Human Rights Commission. As you know, we are working closely with the NHRC on the independent panel of enquiry that has been set up by the commission to look into the SARS protest. Our First Vice President is a member of that panel which is led by the Honourable Justice Suleiman Galadima.

“We are also working closely with the National Assembly. Working closely with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, we set up a 7-man Committee on tweaking the Police Service Commission Act to ensure that the new iteration of that law will cater for a transparency and accountability framework that will deal with erring police officers.

“As soon as the unfortunate event of 20th of October happened, we issued a statement where we made it categorically clear on behalf of the association that the event of that night was totally unacceptable – shooting at unarmed harmless protesters – totally unacceptable, and would not be entertained by the Nigerian Bar Association; that we would rise up in defence of any Nigerian so assaulted, which is what we are doing.

“Immediately, we called for a meeting of the NBA and at that meeting we discussed the issue extensively and came out with a communiqué which had since been issued. Essentially, the association has given us the mandate not only to do that which we are already doing – which is to support Nigerians who have come under attack from the security forces – but also to intervene in what has become an impasse, to intervene in a situation that is degenerating by the day because the society is looking up to us as the NBA to intervene in this process.

“Of course, you know that it has come close to home – uncomfortably so. We inspected the High Court at Igbosere and what we saw left us speechless. It is one thing to hear about the destruction, but to see it first-hand leaves you numb as it did to us yesterday (Sunday).”

He urged NBA Lagos Branch to “lead the way” in working with the judiciary “to see how we can come back to where we were before the unfortunate incident, and taking the opportunity to improve on the facilities that existed previously.”

Akpata also commiserated with members of the branch whose offices were vandalized during the carnage at City Hall.

In his response, NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Yemi Akangbe applauded Akpata intiitives taken by his administration to tackle the crisis, saying: “You have stepped in an.d taken leadership. We are proud of you as an esteemed member of this branch.”

Among many senior lawyers who attended the virtual meeting are former NBA presidential candidates, Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN and Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN; Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN; Mr. Tunde Busari, SAN; Mrs. Olufunke Agbor, SAN; Mr. George Etomi, NPOM; NBA General Secretary, Mrs. Joyce Oduah and fiery Nigerian Law School teacher, Mr. Sylvester Udemezue.

The panel is made up of the retired Justice Okuwobi as chairman; Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN; Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police and a founding member of SARS; Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos State Directorate of Citizens Rights; Ms. Patience Udoh, Mr. Segun Awosanya (segalink) and two representatives of the youth.

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LAWYERS’ GROUP, EBUKA, NBA PUBLICIST HAIL AKPATA AT 48

A group of lawyers under the aegis of Lawyers for Welfare Advocacy (LAWFWA) has felicitated with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata on his birthday today.

NBA Benin Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ogaga Emoghwanre has also congratulated Akpata on his birthday, describing him as “a  quintessential gentleman, effervescent, intelligent, savvy, spruce, dapper and a stylish personality.”

In separate messages made available to CITY LAWYER, they prayed for greater success for the NBA President.

Meanwhile, popular lawyer and TV host, Mr. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu has also joined in the flurry of congratulatory messages to Akpata. In the message posted on his verified Twitter handle, he wrote: “Happy birthday my presido @OlumideAkpata !!! More wins boss Folded hands

Below are the messages:

LAWYERS FOR WELFARE ADVOCACY (LAWFWA) CELEBRATES THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT; OLUMIDE AKPATA ON THE OCCASION OF HIS BIRTHDAY.

The Lawyers for Welfare Advocacy wishes to congratulate the most innovative President of the bar in modern history; Olumide Akpata on the occasion of his birthday.

Sir, not only do you seamlessly adapt to addressing the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our country today, but you are also always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination and focus.

We therefore seize this opportunity to thank you for all of your amazing efforts in repositioning our dear bar, for your sagacity in making Nigeria better and for your pragmatic approach to addressing her numerous challenges for the betterment of all.

We wish you many happy returns today and always.

Happy birthday sir.

For: Lawyers for Welfare Advocacy
Ezekiel Ugwueze Esq.
National Secretary

OGAGA EMOGHWANRE, ESQ FELICITATES MR. OLUMIDE AKPATA, PRESIDENT OF THE NBA ON HIS BIRTHDAY.

Today is the oldest you have ever been and before it loses that privilege, I will attempt to eulogize your good self. Words may fail me in doing that, however, this eulogy is inextricably linked with verifiable facts.

Mr Olumide Akpata, before the day goes dim or lusterless, I want to say a huge Happy Birthday to you. You are a  quintessential gentleman, effervescent, intelligent, savvy, spruce, dapper and a stylish personality, I wish you all the best as you celebrate today.

Our President Sir, you are a man with a keen sense of beauty, a genius of the first magnitude, a man of transparent honesty, your amiable disposition, regal dignity and humility makes you a matchless colossus.

Today may be like any other day for some, but a special, glamorous and illuminating day for you. It is not the years of our lives that counts but the life of our years.

You are a man who breaks down barriers, explores new frontiers, sets records only to  break them.

You are  quintessential in all that you do, a leader par excellence. You are revolutionary and progressive in ideas.

To truly know you is to have a  piece of heaven as you are God’s hand on earth. Your philanthropy transcends mortal reasoning; a man with a heart of gold and accessible to all.

You are by every means a man of the people and loved by all. We are indeed blessed to have you around; a gift to humanity.

Mr Olumide Akpata is a detribalized Nigerian with a penchant for bringing everyone together. As a trailblazer who has shown light in so many ways, moreso as a unifying factor to lead the largest community of learned personalities in Sub Saharan Africa.

The internet is agog today, the 7th day of October, 2020 from both lawyers and non lawyers with so much encomiums and birthday wishes. This shows that the Support and acceptance that trailed your emergence as PRESIDENT of the NBA was vox populi and a testament of the fact that it was divinely orchestrated. 

As is true about life, some hard balls may be thrown at you at some point; some days are good and some are bad, pain is written on all our cards so we remember to value our good times.

But one thing I know is that you have the grace to always weather the storm.

There is no doubt and it is crystal clear that your vast knowledge is unprecedented and oceanic, these and so many of your stirling qualities endeared me to you and I am indebted to you with so much gratitude, thank you for all you have done and will still do.

Your birthday is an opportunity for me to express my sincere and unalloyed gratitude to you for everything.

My wish for you on your birthday is that you always be, happy and healthy.

May you live a prosperous and abundant life.

May God grant you more wisdom, knowledge and leadership prowess to pilot the affairs of our Association, the NBA.

Happy birthday once more sir. May this year bring for you all the graces you require to sustain the good works you have gained notoriety for.

Amen.

Cherish and savor the unprecedented love of God in your life and enjoy your Natal day to the fullest. God bless the President of Nigerian Bar Association Mr Olumide Akpata.

OGAGA EMOGHWANRE, ESQ.

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NBA-SPIDEL REJIGS MEMBERSHIP

The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest Law (NBA-SPIDEL) is set to reinvent its membership database.

In an announcement made available to CITY LAWYER, the leading NBA organ for the promotion of public interest causes urged members to take advantage of the exercise to ensure that their information is captured in the section’s database.

Below is the full text of the announcement.

Good morning Sirs/Mesdames,

I trust that you are doing great.

This is to inform you that SPIDEL Secretariat is updating its members database and in view of this we kindly request members on this platform to click on the link below to provide the required information.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeH72H2y6Chu3EI2rd2qRnjFFnszB9uzZOF4xRe1d31fJcAlw/viewform?usp=sf_link

We look forward to cooperation.

Thank you

Edidiong Peter, Esq.
SPIDEL LIAISON OFFICER

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

AKPATA, UNILAG DEAN, OTHERS TO SPEAK AT LMDC/YOUNG LAWYERS’ FORUM

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata and foremost legal expert and Dean of Law, University of Lagos, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa are among leading jurists billed to speak at a webinar in preparation for the 1st Online Settlement Month in Africa themed ‘Resolving Disputes Through Technology in Africa.’

The virtual workshop is a partnership between the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Young Lawyers Forum (NBA YLF) and Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC).

Other speakers expected at tomorrow’s webinar holding at 11 a. m. are the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba; Lagos State Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN; Justice T. Oyekan-Abdulai; Mr. Clifford Collings, Chief Operating Officer & Mediator, ACCORD as well as former NBA Lagos Branch Chairman, Mr. Alex Muoka among others.

Below is the full text of the statement made available to CITY LAWYER.

************************

The Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse invites you to attend a Webinar in preparation for the 1st Online Settlement Month in Africa themed ‘Resolving Disputes Through Technology in Africa’.

At the Webinar, you will gain first hand knowledge of the ODR Process; the effectiveness of ODR and the Online Settlement Month in the resolution of commercial and other types of disputes; understand the role of Counsel in ODR process and the types of cases that can be referred to the OSM.

As approved by the Hon. Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice K. O. Alogba, The Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse (LMDC) will hold the 1st Online Settlement Month (OSM) in Africa from November 16 – December 11, 2020. The OSM is a product of the Annual Settlement and District Settlement Weeks held by the LMDC and sponsored by the Lagos State Government under its Security and Governance THEMES agenda. The purpose of the OSM is to ease Court congestion and create an opportunity for the mediation of cases online across Africa, despite the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The LMDC Panel of Neutrals has the requisite training and experience in Mediating disputes online which cut across Banking, Telecommunications, Maritime, Aviation, Landlord and Tenant, Building and Construction, Real Estate etc.

The beauty of the Online Settlement Month is that you can resolve your disputes from any location in the world for free without leaving your homes or offices. The Terms of Settlement will also be signed online.

Registration link: http://rebrand.ly/LMDCwebinar

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

$1.9 BN NIGER RAIL PROJECT: EX NBA CHIEF TAKES AMAECHI TO TASK

The controversy trailing the $1.9 Billion Nigeria-Niger rail project may not go away soon as former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President, Mr. Monday Ubani and Lagos lawyer, Mr. John Nwokwu have asked Transportation Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi to provide them with details of the proposed project.

The request dated September 29, 2020 and addressed to Amaechi is coming under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). The two lawyers stated that their demand for details of the rail project was premised on the need for transparency and accountability.

Some of the information sought by the duo include actual cost of the project, contract papers and the firm handling it, economic benefit of the project and where it is provided for in the 2020 Appropriation Act, including the source of  funding for the project.

They also requested to know the details of the deliberation and approval of such fund by the National Assembly.

The FOI letter signed by Joseph Igwe Esq. reads:

“Kindly provide the information to the best of your knowledge in the interest of transparency and openness which you have been at the vanguard.

“In a public statement credited to you, you did disclose to the media the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic.

“Sir, you are hereby specifically requested to make available to our clients or grant them access to: The actual contract cost of the rail line cutting across Kano state in Nigeria through Maradi in Niger Republic and the termination of the track length.

“The awarded contract document(s), name of the firm and procedure of
the award of the contract to the preferred firm.

“The detailed information on where it is provided for in the 2020
Appropriation Act and the source of the generation of the fund for the
contract.

“The details of the deliberation and approval of such fund and rail project
by the National Assembly.

“The detailed economic benefit of the rail line project from Nigeria
through Niger Republic to the generality of the Nigerian populace.

“However, if you think that another agency of the Government has
greater interest in the information requested for, you are obliged under
Section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 to transfer this request
to the other agency within 3 days, howbeit not later than 7 days of
receiving this request.

“Our clients shall pay the necessary fees for the information. Be notified
that if you fail to provide the above information within the period
stipulated by law we shall proceed against you in accordance with the
provisions of the law.

“We have no doubt that you will accede to this request in the interest of the Nation you are serving meritoriously,” the letter concluded.

Ubani told a newspaper (not CITY LAWYER) that he would “feel personally sad if Amaechi fails, refuses or neglects to respond to the request.” He stated that he may head to court to compel Amaechi to provide the information if he fails to do so voluntarily.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

JICAM RULES: ‘P & ID CONTRACT WAS FRAUDULENT, POORLY DRAFTED,’ SAYS SAN

A senior advocate of Nigeria and chartered arbitrator, Prof. Paul Idornigie SAN at the weekend took a hard look at the controversial P & ID Case and concluded that the contract was fraudulent and poorly drafted.

Idornigie was speaking at the weekend in Abuja during the launch of the Janada International Centre for Arbitration & Mediation (JICAM) Rules 2020.

The foremost arbitrator whose paper was titled “Institutional Arbitration in Africa Post-COVID-19” stated that “the (P & ID) contract was fraudulent ab initio,” adding that “the contract was not properly drafted.”

According to Idornigie, the courts are not equipped to cure defective contracts, even as he urged arbitrators to “Africanize” arbitration by choosing Africa as the seat of arbitration in line with the “Africa Promise.”

On why Nigeria is not a leading arbitral centre and seat of arbitration, Idornigie who is also a member of the JICAM Governing Council said: “From my personal knowledge, most hearings in Nigeria are either held in hotels or law offices of the Legal Practitioners.  Such hearings whether domestic or international are not documented.  This probably accounts for the poor performance of Nigeria in this survey report.  This is without prejudice to the fact that issues of security, facilities, infrastructure and integrity of the Nigerian courts may also be factors responsible for the poor ranking of Nigeria in the continent.”

“The above lends credence to the establishment of JICAM.  JICAM is not only an arbitral centre but will perform arbitral services as it has its own Rules of Arbitration and Mediation.  These Rules are modern and comparable to other Rules like that of ICC and LCIA.  Indeed they are a blend of both.”

He stated that Nigeria’s legal framework would not adversely impact arbitral proceedings due to the advent of virtual hearings, saying: “Arbitration in Nigeria does not suffer the effect of the Evidence Act (s256(1)(a), the Constitution (s36(3) & (4) and the judicial pronouncements on hearing in public.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have used Skype, audio and video-conferencing at JICAM and ICAMA, Abuja and LCA, Lagos.”

Continuing, he said: “However, quite unlike physical hearing, we must prepare adequately for virtual hearing.  This is the challenge post-COVID.  For African arbitration institutions to survive, they must have facilities for virtual hearing side by side  the existing facilities for physical hearing.  There are enough Protocols, Guidelines, Guidance Notes, etc on this as highlighted above.  Thus several issues will arise before, during and after the arbitral proceedings that must be carefully addressed.”

He warned that “The arbitral institutions that will survive are those with modern rules and facilities for both physical and virtual hearings.  The arbitrators that will be in business are those who are innovative, creative and digitally knowledgeable.”

In his remarks, former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Auta said that he was “proud at the strides JICAM has recorded since its formal establishment in 2015. In keeping with its aim to promote a forum for the resolution of disputes, we have supported disputing parties in active reconciliation and resolution of their disputes.”

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Justice Auta, who is also the Chairman of the JICAM Governing Council, stated that online dispute resolution (ODR) has witnessed a resurgence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “We have witnessed online giants utilize this mechanism in the resolution of buyer to customer disputes but we have failed to expand its use to the resolution of the common disputes. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to discuss the Rules we aim to launch, today.”

Noting that “parties with bad cases could easily frustrate such an attempt by withholding the consent to conduct such proceedings virtually,” Justice Auta, who was represented by Mrs. Diane Okoko, added that “we have equipped our center with state of the art facilities including high speed internet for this very purpose. In similar fashion, the Rules take care of numerous other issues which have been unclear in the arbitration space which I do not intend on boring you with today.”

On his part, the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Benedict Kanyip who was the Special Guest of Honour stated that the Arbitration and Conciliation Act “does not apply in trade disputes,” adding that such disagreements are sui generis.

In his welcome address, former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidential candidate, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN said: “Indeed, while I consider it a huge privilege to have some of the best minds in the Alternative Dispute Resolution sector present at this event, I strongly believe that the launch of the JICAM Arbitration & Mediation Rules 2020 will usher in a new era in the realms of our Alternative Dispute Resolution engagements, which in the long run, will contribute significantly to the development of ADR both locally and internationally.”

According to Gadzama who is also a chartered arbitrator and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), JICAM “was established in 2015 and commissioned by the then President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, OFR, CON, as a dispute resolution center designed to promote a suitable forum for the resolution of domestic and international disputes,” adding that “JICAM is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, with its rules and guidelines accommodating both ad hoc and institutional arbitration.”

Concluding, the leading litigator said: “I strongly believe that this comprehensive document will facilitate speedier, more effective and efficient arbitration cum mediation proceedings, which in the long run will promote the advancement and viability of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

In his goodwill message, the President of Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Chief Emeka Obegolu, commended JICAM for unveiling the new Rules.

Noting that there are over 10 prominent Arbitration and Mediation institutions in Nigeria, the former NBA General Secretary said: “I believe the general hope is for these institutions to leave their mark in the dispute resolution landscape, and contribute to the effective resolution of disputes. However, to achieve this, there must be synergy of some sort between these institutions. We must see ourselves not as competitors, but as partners in this dynamic field of ADR.”

In a similar goodwill message, the Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Mr. Chinwendu Madumere noted that the institute maintains a robust relationship with JICAM, adding that the emergence of the centre would “bridge the gap of having a world class arbitration centre with appropriate facilities and Rules.”

The event was moderated by the JICAM Acting General Manager, Chimdindu Onyedim-Etuwewe while Bar. Lama Joe-Kyari Gadzama gave the vote of thanks.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.

ARBITRATION CZARS TO UNVEIL JICAM RULES TOMORROW

Leading arbitrators will tomorrow gather to unveil the “JICAM Arbitration & Mediation Rules, 2020.” The virtual event will also witness a lecture on “Institutional Arbitration in Africa Post COVID-19” by renowned chartered arbitrator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Prof. Paul Idornigie, SAN. Time is 11 a. m.

The event is facilitated by the Janada International Center for Arbitration and Mediation (JICAM), Abuja.

With the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Benedict Kanyip as Special Guest of Honour, the event will be chaired by the retired Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Hon. Justice Ibrahim Auta. Justice Auta is also the Chairman of JICAM Governing Council.

Also expected at the virtual conference is former NBA presidential candidate and leading chartered arbitrator, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN. Gadzama also doubles as the Chairman of the JICAM Board of Trustees.

Among the panelists are Prof. Ike Ehiribe, Mrs. Diane Okoko and Dr. Fidele Masengo, all fellows of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and members of the JICAM Governing Council. Chimdindu Onyedim-Etuwewe, JICAM Acting General Manager is billed to anchor the event.

To register, click on the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEud-usrjwpE9SIcT5YoBxdjbGbNx4mWIfe

NBA ELECTION AUDIT C’TE INVITES MEMORANDA

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Electoral Reform and Audit Committee (NBA-ERAC) has asked stakeholders to submit memoranda for a successful audit of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 Elections and reform of NBA’s electoral system.

In a statement today signed by Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN and Mrs. Nnenna Uko, its Chairman and Secretary respectively, the committee stated that all memoranda must be submitted “on or before 6.00 pm on Monday, November 2, 2020.”

Below is the full text of the statement.

NBA ELECTORAL REFORM AND AUDIT COMMITTEE: INVITATION TO SUBMIT MEMORANDA FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE

Distinguished Colleague,

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata on the 30th of September 2020 inaugurated the NBA Electoral Reform and Audit Committee (“the Committee”) comprising of;

Ayodele Akintunde, SAN (Chairman)
Hon. Mike Igini (Vice Chairman)
Nnenna Uko (Secretary)
Andrew Odum
Altine Ibrahim
Ama Etuwewe SAN
Basil Udotai
Hadiza Nasir Ahmad
John Owubokiri
Mas’ud Alabalewe
Oludayo Olorunfemi
Rotimi Ogunyemi
Joyce Oduah FICMC (NBA General Secretary)

At the inaugural meeting of the Committee held on the same day, the Committee resolved to invite members of the NBA, branches of the NBA and all stakeholders to submit Memoranda in line with the Committee’s terms of reference below:

(a) To audit the elections of National Officers of the NBA of 2016, 2018 and 2020 and recommend reforms if any of the electoral process.

(b) To receive Memoranda and carry out extensive consultations across all demographics of the NBA on the experiences of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 NBA Elections in order to make recommendations that will strengthen the conduct of transparent, free, fair and credible elections of National Officers of the NBA.

(c) To review post-election audit reports for the 2016, 2018 and 2020 election of National Officers of the NBA by the Election Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (“ECNBA”) or any other body appointed to conduct the post-election Audits.

(d) To identify any issues, failures or irregularities with the process and conduct of the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections of the National Officers of the NBA and make recommendations.

(e) To study the provisions of the NBA Constitution (as amended) on elections of National Officers of the NBA and propose amendments as may be deemed necessary.

(f) To identify international best practices on elections of Professional Associations similar to the NBA that will impact positively on the quality and credibility of elections of the National officers of the NBA NBA.

(g) To review the efficiency of the National Secretariat in assisting the Election Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) and make recommendations to strengthen the role of the ECNBA and its independence in dealing directly with branches on data collation and management with minimal interference of the National Secretariat of the NBA.

(h) To review and recommend ways to strengthen data collation, storage and management for elections.

(i) To work on all such areas that would improve Data Collection of Members of the NBA and Electronic Voting to guarantee free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

(j) To do anything that the Committee may consider relevant or necessary in connection with these terms of reference.

(k) To make recommendations deemed necessary for the realization of these terms of reference

The Committee has till the 31st of December 2020 to deliver its assignment.

In view of the short timeline of the Committee to deliver on the assignment, the Committee hereby calls for Memoranda from members of the NBA, branches of the NBA and all stakeholders. All Memoranda must not be more than 6 pages, using 12 font size of either Arial or Times New Roman; and must be limited to the terms of reference specified above.

The Memoranda is to be addressed to the “Chairman, NBA Electoral Reform and Audit Committee” and submitted in soft copies by e-mail to: nbaelectoralreform@gmail.com on or before 6.00 pm on Monday, November 2, 2020.

Ayo Akintunde, SAN                                                     Nnenna N Uko (Mrs.)
NBA ERAC Chair                                                              NBA ERAC Secretary

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to citylawyermag@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/City-Lawyer-Magazine-434937936684320 and on TWITTER at https://twitter.com/CityLawyerMag All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to www.citylawyermag.com. However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.