June 23, 2022.

Hon. Justice Kazeem Alogba

The Chief Judge,

High Court of Lagos State,

Oba Akinjobi Street, G.R.A,

Ikeja, Lagos State.

My Lord, 



1. Sometimes in September 2020 the Attorney-General of the Federation, announced the amendment of the Rules of Professional Conducts for Legal Practitioners, (2020 RPC) being the Chairman of the General Council of the Bar. The amendment which is gazetted as S.I N0.15 of 2020 issued by AGF and dated September 3, 2020, deleted some key provisions of the RPC, including the rule mandating the use of NBA Stamp and Seal by Legal Practitioners. For the avoidance of doubt, The 2020 RPC  provides that “The Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 is amended, by deleting the following rules namely; 9(2), 10, 11, 12 and 13.” a copy of the gazette is attached to this letter

2. Rule 10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007, was the only regulatory basis for the imposition and operation of the mandatory NBA stamp and seal. The Rule provided:

“10 (1) A Lawyer acting in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal officer or adviser of any Governmental department or Ministry of any corporation, shall not sign or file a legal document unless there is affixed on any such document a seal and stamp approved by the Nigerian Bar Association.

(2) For the purpose of this rule, “Legal documents” shall include pleadings, affidavits, depositions, applications, instruments, agreements, deed letters, memoranda, reports, legal opinions, or any similar documents.

(3) If without complying with the requirements of this rule, a Lawyer signs or files any legal documents as defined in sub-rule (2) of this rule, and in any of the capacities mentioned in sub-rule(1), the document so signed or filed shall be deemed not to have been properly signed or filed.”

3. All judicial authorities holding affixing NBA Stamp and Seal to be mandatory, have had Rule 10 of the RPC as regulatory basis. However, it is clear that with the deleting of Rule 10 of the RPC, all legal practitioners are no longer mandated to affix NBA stamp on any processes.

4. There have been arguments and counter-arguments as to who has the authority to amend the Rules, and whether due process was followed. But as at today, the AGF and General Council of the Bar have not reversed the amendment neither has court voided the amendment. 

Why the amendment still stands?

5. My Lord, I am a Minister in the Temple of Justice and also an officer of the Supreme Court. One of the aims and objectives of the Nigerian Bar Association, is to Promote the Rule of Law. In the light of this, whatever the reservations that may be made against the validity of the 2020 RPC, the law is settled, that acts of officials are presumed to be valid until proven otherwise. I humbly refer my Lord to the case of SHITTA-BEY v. AG FEDERATION & ANOR. (1998) LPELR-SC.47/1992 where the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that, "Apart from what is called presumption of regularity of official acts, there is the presumption that, where there is no evidence to the contrary, things are presumed to have been rightly and properly done. This is expressed in the common law maxim in the Latin phrase Omnia praesumuntur rite esse acta. This presumption is very commonly resorted to and applied especially with respect to official acts.”

6. The decision above was restated in Chike Anyaonu v. Chukwuma (2010) LPELR-CA/E/EPT/62/2008 and OLLY V. TUNJI & ORS (2012) LPELR-CA/L/667/2011. We also refer my Lord to section 167 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

7. Thus, the deletion of Rule 10 of the RPC, implies that legal practitioners do not need to affix the NBA Stamp and seal on any legal documents including pleadings, affidavits, depositions, applications, instruments, or any similar documents in his capacity as a legal practitioner, legal office or adviser of any Governmental department or Ministry of any corporation. In other words, any such documents shall be presumed to have been properly signed without NBA Stamp and Seal. This is because since the legal basis for the use of the seal and or stamp is Rule 10 of the RPC and this Rule 10 of the RPC has been deleted, then, it no more exists and affixing such seal and or stamp of the NBA on legal document therefore lacks legal basis or legal foundation and one cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand. This is consistent with the often quoted dictum of Lord Denning in Macfoy v. U.A.C. (1962) AC 158 that you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there, it will collapse. The position further echoes the words of  HON. Justice Niki Tobi  in OWNERS VS ADENIJI (1993)2 NWLR(pt 274) that:

"One can add something to something, but one cannot add something to nothing because there will be nothing to receive the something. The something which will have nothing to support it will fall away, following Newton's law of gravity or gravitation"


8. In the light of the foregoing, I humbly advise that the following measures be taken by My Lord:

(i) The NBA Stamp and seal should no longer be mandatory requirements for filing or validity/competence of suits in Lagos since there is no basis for it under the Civil Procedure Rules of the Lagos State High Court or any other law: and/or

(ii) The presence or absence of the NBA Stamp and Seal should on pleadings no longer be an issue in court. Meaning, lawyers who desire to use it may continue while those who do not want should not bother themselves to affix the NBA Stamp and Seal. The Enrollment No of counsel should suffice if at all there is need for any safeguard.


Yours faithfully,


Olajide Abiodun Esq.


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