Nigeria will today sign a trade deal that will see the country remove barriers preventing United Kingdom lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria.

Announcing the impending trade deal on its website monitored by CITY LAWYER, the UK Government wrote: “It will see Nigeria commit to working towards removing barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria, a step that could significantly increase UK legal services exports.”

The trade deal was announced in a joint statement by Ms. Kemi Badenoch, UK’s business and trade secretary, and Doris Uzoka-Anitie, Nigeria’s minister for trade and investment.

According to the UK Government, “The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) is the first the UK has signed with an African country and is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023.” 

Many lawyers are however sharply divided on the lifting of the barriers in the legal industry, with some expressing worry that this would further erode the revenue of Nigerian lawyers.

While some lawyers wondered whether UK will accord Nigerian lawyers the same access into its legal market, others said that there is nothing new about the trade deal, adding that Nigerian lawyers already enjoy limited practice in the UK legal market.

Though the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is yet to react to the development, its rival body, the embattled Nigerian Law Society (NLS) has expressed worry over the move, urging the government to tread carefully.

In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, the NLS said it is “concerned about the news,” adding that “It is not clear how this ‘Agreement’ will benefit Nigerians and the Legal Profession but a major area that must be considered before formalisation of any inter-trade on legal services must be the qualification requirements to practice law in Nigeria.”

Said Mr. Kelvin Iorzenda, a ranking NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) member: “The NBA President will not come out and react to this piece of information now. Once SPIDEL does, it becomes his headache. Let our Dear President come out now and take his shine. No one wants to take it off him.”

Another senior lawyer wrote on an online platform: “”I doubt folks know what this portends. financial and legal services ? This can only result in one outcome, an erosion of gains made by Nigerians. With mobile money to be controlled significantly by Airtel and MTN, Nigeria and Nigerians are about to lose a huge chunk of their economy. The environment that produced the FRA, Onyiukes, Chukwurah, GOK, Jim Ovia, Dangote, Aderinokun, Wigwe and more about to be frittered out on a platter. Satellite companies and law firms will rule roost. At the risk of intemperance, this is Colonialism 2.0.”

But a UK-based senior lawyer argued that there is nothing new about the trade deal, saying: “I would like to think it will be on equivalent basis with the English ‘Registered Foreign Lawyers’ scheme whereby you can register with the SRA and carry out some limited unreserved legal work and nothing more. If you are an RFL, you can practise the law of your home state, advise on English and Welsh law and provide unreserved legal services.”

He however said that African lawyers may be experiencing some disadvantage in the UK accreditation process. His words: “Having said that, my observation is that the SRA gives higher recognition to lawyers from non African Commonwealths like Australia and New Zealand over those from Nigeria and Ghana for example. The NBA should seek same level of reciprocity as the UK accords Australians from the SRA.”


The NLS is concerned about the news going round the Legal Community regarding an agreement between our government and the UK government that may give room for British Lawyers to Engage in Legal Practice in Nigeria.

We acknowledge that this is not a new concept or notion and there are already areas where British Lawyers (who may also be Nigerian Citizens) practice law in Nigeria as the requirements for this are set in our laws already.

However, in light of the shrinking professional space for Nigerian Lawyers to earn a living, we at NLS call on our Government to thoroughly consider this Agreement with the UK government by first calling all the stakeholders to the table to discuss the pros and cons.

It is not clear how this ‘Agreement’ will benefit Nigerians and the Legal Profession but a major area that must be considered before formalisation of any inter-trade on legal services must be the qualification requirements to practice law in Nigeria.

Furthermore there must be clear regulations as to whether legal services can be employed directly without first reference to Nigerian lawyers. If these are not considered, Nigerian lawyers may just be holding the short end of the stick.

We therefore use this medium to encourage government to broaden the scope of the legal profession in this country by making laws for compulsory use of lawyers in every area of governance and commerce.

We encourage lawyers to visit our website at for more information about NLS or WhatsApp 08065172866 for any complaints, suggestions or inquiries.

To join our CITY LAWYER platform on WhatsApp, click here

To join our Telegram platform, click here 

COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on “X” (TWITTER) at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER or for Special Features, please email or call 08138380083.

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 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.