By Ahmad Deedat Zakari
A renowned Kano lawyer, activist, commentator and philanthropist, Barrister Sunusi Musa was among the 62 lawyers elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The LPPC, in a statement signed by its secretary and the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Hajo Bello, disclosed this on Thursday, September 29 2022. Hajo also disclosed that the new SANs would be officially conferred with the rank on November 21, 2022.
The title of SAN is the equivalent of the Queen’s Counsel in the United Kingdom. It is conferred on persons qualified to practice as barristers and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and who have distinguished themselves in the practice of law.
Over the years, the rules governing the conferment have been amended to accommodate law teachers and scholars who have contributed immensely to the teaching and learning of the law. Federal and state prosecutors who have excelled in the practice of law within the dictates of their engagement are also now considered for the SAN title.
The LPPC, which is chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, also have members like the Attorney General of the Federation and distinguished heads of courts and reputable senior advocates as its members.
The basic requirements for a lawyer to be elevated to the inner bar include:
1: Good Character and calm temperament;
2: Must be qualified to practice as a legal practitioner in Nigeria for not less than ten years;
3: Must have appearances at the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and other courts of record;
4: A good law office and law library are considered in the case of lawyers in private practice, amongst other things.
Few privileges are also enjoyed by SANs to the exclusion of other lawyers. These include:
1: Sitting at the inner bar or front roll and being given the opportunity of mentioning their cases before junior counsel;
2: Must appear with a junior counsel in a civil case;
3: Appear in a distinct robe on certain legal occasions;
4: The title also attracts more legal fees and professional patronage from clients and members of the public.
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