2011 NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL BAR FINALS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
COUNCIL OF LEGAL EDUCATION
NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL
BAR FINAL EXAMINATIONS
LAW IN PRACTICE
FRIDAY, 12TH AUGUST, 2011 TIME: 3 HOURS
THIS PAPER IS DIVIDED INTO 2 SECTIONS AND 2 ANSWER BOOKLETS ARE PROVIDED. QUESTIONS 1 AND 2 ARE TO BE ANSWERED IN ONE BOOKLET, QUESTIONS 3 AND 4 ARE TO BE ANSWERED IN THE OTHER BOOKLET.
ALL QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ATTEMPED
WRITE YOUR EXAMINATION NUMBER ON EACH ANSWER BOOKLET
Cyril Momoh a legal practitioner called to the Nigerian Bar five years ago was briefed by Mrs. Jeje to represent her as Counsel in a suit of unfair dismissal against her former employer. The matter was listed the first on the cause list. However, the Judge stood it down in order for him to run through the rest of the matters coming up for that day. There had not been electricity supply in that Court for the preceding two weeks and the heat had become unbearable. Just as the Registrar was calling Mrs Jejes case, Professor Goodluck (SAN) came into the Court room and the Judge immediately entertained his matter. Mr. Momoh has by this time run out of patience inspite of the quick disposal of the SANs matter by the Judge. Finally, Mrs. Jejes case was called and Mr. Momoh announced his appearance. The Judge who had some hearing difficulties, asked Mr. Momoh to repeat himself severally. At this point, Mr. Momoh snapped at the Judge saying I said I appear for the Claimant. Get yourself some hearing aid, damn it. The whole Court turned to stare at Momoh in disbelief. He was immediately cautioned by the senior members of the Bar there present. Having observed the days proceedings. Mrs. Jeje. Who already doubted Momohs capability to handle the matter de-briefed him as a result of his rudeness to someone she thought was old enough to be his father.
She thereafter briefed Henrietta Nnaji on the same case. While Ms Nnaji was taking instructions from her client, she discovered that the Company in question was a sister company to another company in which her husband was a Managing Director. She apologized to Mrs. Jeje to kindly look for another Lawyer. Mrs. Jeje cannot understand this development and has approached you to explain certain issues to her.
Answer the following questions:
(a) Why did the Judge attend to the SANs matter inspite of the fact that the Registrar was already calling Mrs. Jejes case?
(b) Assuming the Judge did not take kindly to Momohs rudeness, state the offence (if any) Momoh could have been held responsible for and state in numbered paragraphs, the steps that could have been taken against him.
(c) Assuming Ms. Nnaji was taking over the brief, what duty or duties shall be expected of:
(i) Ms. Nnaji and Mr. Momoh individually
(ii) Ms. Nnaji and Mr. Momoh collectively
(d) Mrs. Jeje alleges that she paid Mr. Momoh upfront for his representation. Is there any recourse for her considering that Momoh did not compete the job.
(e) Momoh is upset that he was debriefed and has therefore threatened Mrs. Jeje that he would expose an affair between the G.M. and Mrs. Jeje to her husband. He came across this information in the course of their Client/Counsel relationship. Avise him.
(f) Mrs. Jeje cannot understand why Mrs. Nnaji will decline the brief simply because her husband is the Managing Director of her former work place sister company. She demands an explanation from you.
(i) Mrs. Jeje has asked you to recommend an easy way out of all this as she getting stressed. Which seemingly easier line of action would you advise her to follow assuming she decides to employ you as her Lawyer.
What else is/are your reason(s) for proffering this solution?
A. Nobert Udoma is an Electrical Technician working with New Age Energy Limited. On June 20,2011 he was injured by one of the companys trucks at the Transport Unit of the company. He lost the use of his two legs to the accident. Three months after the incident, his appintment with the company was terminated.
Aggrieved by the action of the company, he briefed Ben Martins, a legal Practitioner to write to the company demanding N20 million as compensation for the injuries he sustained. If the company fails to meet with his demand, Ben Martins has his instructions to institute an action in Court againts the company.
In 2005, Ben Martins had acted as Counsel to New Age Energy Limted in a suit filed by the company against Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
Answer the following question
i Draft the letter to the company asking for compensation for injuries suffered by Nobert udoma. The companys address is Plot 55 Wogi Street, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State
ii Assuming that the letter is marked without prejudicewhat is the evidential import of that.
iii Write a short legal opinion (maximum of one page) on the ethical implication of Ben Martins acting as Counsel to Nober Udoma
B. The Federal Government wishes to enact an Act to promote Child Social Security Rights. The Act shall prohibit anyone from engaging the services of a young person under the age of 16 in manual labour whether for a consideration or not. The Law is to be enforced by the Independent Child Social Security Rights Commission to be established under the Act, comprising of a Chairman, who shall be a Lawyer appointed by the President and 12 other persons to be appointed from each of the six geo-political zones of the Federation.
The Act is to become operative from 1st of June, 2010. All offences under the Act shall be punsihable by imprisonment without an option of fine. The headquarters of the Commission shall be located in the capital city of the Federation. And there shall be contained in it a list of 50 countries that the Government would wish to enter into bi-lateral agreement within the global prmotion of Child Scoial Security Rights.
Draft the relevant Act to reflect in the appropriate places the following:
i The Short Title
ii The Enacting Clause
iii The Long Title
iv The Establishment
v The Schedule
PLEASE USE ANOTHER BOOKLET FOR THIS SECTION
QUESTION 3 & 4 ARE COMPULSORY
(a) At the trial of mallam Dogo Shehu, a driver of a tanker with registration No. XY 256 DD involved in a road traffic accident, the following evidence was given in the examination in-chief of one Inspector Salau of the Nigerian Police Force with station at Ogba, Ikeja.
1. Q- You are Inspector Salau of the Nigerian Police Force attached to the Ogba Police Station
A: Yes Sir.
2. Q: You have been in the Police Force for 20 years now.
A: yes sir, that is correct.
3. Q: Where were you on 10th July, 2011
A: I was at the Station, at the Desk
4. Q: What report was made to you on the 10th July, 2011?
A: A report of a road accident
5. Q: What did you do?
A: I investigaged the case and found that the accident happened due to the over speeding of the driver
6. Q: How did you know he was over speeding?
A: From the nature of the accident and the sketch map I prepared.
Prosecuting Counsel: My Lord, I seek to tender the sketch map in evidence
Court: Any objection?
Defence Counsel: No objection.
Now answer the folloowing questions with relevant authorities:-
(a) As defence counsel, what objections would you raise to questions 2 and 4, and why?
(b) How would you have asked question 2?
(c) What type of question is question 5?
(d) As prosecuting counsel leading Inspector Salau in evidence in-chief, what question would you ask before questions 4 and 5
(e) State how the prosecution can discharge the burden of proof of over speeding.
(f) Assuming you are the defence counsel, would you have objected to the admissibility of the sketch map? Give reasons.
(g) State the sequence for tendering the sketch map.
3(b) Section 232 of the Bauchi State Criminal Procedure Code Law provides that: A preliminary investigation may be conducted by a magistrate in relation to any criminal matter and its findings shall be annexed to the charge before an accused person can be arraigned before a High Court of the State.
Section 233 of the same law provides that: In respect of any contravention of the Yankari Games Reserve (Anti-poaching) Law, a preliminary investigation shall be conducted by a magistrate before an accused person can be arraigned before a High Court of the State.
Audu Bala has been arraigned before the High Court of Bauchi State for carrying a fully grown elephant on his head from the reserve to his house and the charge was not preceded by a preliminary investigation. Prosecuting counsel argues that Preliminary investigation is discretionary, while the defence argues otherwise and also contends that the charge does not disclose any offence and same should be quashed.
i As the judge, which Rules and maxims of interpretation of statues would you apply in upholding the defence cousnels submission?
ii Assuming the court adjourns the matter to a date which later turns out to be inconvenient, as counsel to the accused, write an application for the adjournment of the matter to a more convenient date.
iii Goldstar Brothers Ltd. Is a trading Company and has been the sole disbributor of Unilever products in the North-Central geo-political zone of Nigeria for the past ten years. It takes goods from Unilever on credit and after selling it, pays off its debt. Due to recent managerial lapses, it has been unable to fulfil its financial obligations to its creditor.
iv Assuming that after filing the action, Unilever decides to negotiate a settlement of the case, what factors would you as solicitor to Godstar Brothers Ltd take into consideration in advising your client on whether to defend the action or to negotiate a settlement.
(a) If your client has agreed to negotiate a settlement, list the process of negotiation and state any four negotiation tactics you may encounter during negotiation.
Chief James Udedibia engaged the service of Mr. O. T. Ugoh, a legal practitioner in Abuja, to recover the sum of N2.5 million being owed him by Sunny Merchandise (Nig) Ltd. A company with whom he entered into a business venture. Mr. O.T Ugoh wrote two letters of demand and then proceeded to file an action in court on the undefended list. He obtained judgement and enforced same by levying execution against some properties belonging to judgment debtor. From the auction sales, he was able to realize the judgement debt. He wishes to send his bill of professional charges.
Answer the following question:-
(a) Draft Mr. O. T. Ugohs Bill of charges in respect of the case.
(b) Itemize the processes for recovery of his professional charges.
(c) Assuming Chief James Udedibia fails to response to the bill of charges and it becomes necesssary to file an action, draft a statement of claim for the recovery of charges.
(d) Assuming Mr. O. T. Ugoh paid in the sum of money he recovered into his personal account, what would be your advice to him?
NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL BAR PART II
LAW IN PRACTICE
A) One of the privilege accorded to the holder of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) is the right to mention a motion or a matter listed for mention out of its turn on the cause list.
It was however wrong for the judge to have stopped the Registrar from calling the case of Mrs. Jeje in order to call Professor Goodlucks case on the ground that he is a SAN. The court should have finished with Mrs. Jejes case before calling Professor Goodlucks case 2MKS.
B) Mr. Momoh would have been guilty of contempt of court. Since the contempt is committed in the face of the court (in facie courie) the judge could try him summarily. Momoh may be ordered by the judge to step into the dock and show cause why he should not be committed for contempt. 2mks.
C) (i) The individual duty of Ms Nnaji is to notify Mrr. Momoh of the change of counsel and ensure that Mr. Momhs professional fees are paid. Mr. Momohs individual duty is to release all the documents in his possession relating to the case to Ms Nnaji. 2mks.
(ii) Their collective duty is to notify the court of the change of counsel.
See Rule 29 RPC. 1MK.
D) Mr. Momoh has to pay back to Mrs Jeje part of the professional feees which he did not earn 2mks.
E) The general rule is that information given by a client to a lawyer in the cause of the legal representation of the client is confidential and should not be disclosed by the lawyer except in certain circumstances. See Rule 17 RPC.
This rule of non disclosure applies even when the relationship of counsel / client has been terminated. Mr. Momoh is prohibited by the RPC from disclossing the information he obtained from Mrs. Jeje in the course of the professional relationship 3mks.
F) One of the exceptions to the duty to accept brief is conflict of interest. A lawyer is not expected to accept the brief of a client where there is conflict of interest. Mrs. Nnaji was right in refusing to act for Mrs Jeje on the ground that her husband was the managing Director of her former work place sister company. See Rule 17 RPC. 3mks.
G) I will advise Mrs. Jeje to adopt alternative Dispute Resolution processes. 1mk.
The reasons for proffering this solution are the advantages of ADR over litigation.
(i) It is cheaper
(ii) It is less formal
(iii) It is quicker
(iv) It is quicker
(v) The proceedings are held in private
(vi) Parties have the right to choose who will preside over their case
Any four 4mks
QUESTION 2 (a) (i)
The address or letter headed paper of the firm.
The inside address
Salutation Dear Sir/Ma etc
Title of the letter
The body (Introduction, the main body which should include the facts of the matter) and the concluding part.
Demand and intended action if demand is not met
Name and signature 4mks
QUESTION 2 (a) (ii)
The letter will be non admissible in court against the maker if negotiation breaks down See Ashibuogwu v. A.G. Bendel State 2mks
QUESTION 2 (a) (iii)
A lawyer should disclose to the client all the circumstances of his relationship with the parties and any interest in or connection with the controversy which might influence the client in the selection of a lawyer. Therefore Ben Martin can represent Nobert udoma in the suit against New Age Energy Limited However Ben Martin should disclose to Nobert Udoma the fact of his having represented New Age Energy Limited in a previous suit against NNPC in 2005. See Rule 17 RPC. 4mks.
QUESTION 2 (b)
i) Short Title;
This Act is to be cited as Child Social Security Rights 2mks.
ii) Enacting Formula / Clause
Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows; or
The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria enacts as follows: 2mks.
iii) Long title:
An Act to Promote Child Rights and to Establish the Child Right Commission and for Matters Connected with it. 2mks.
There is established a body know as Independent Child Social Security Rights Commission 2mks.
The list of the countries with which the Federal Government wishes to enter bilateral agreement are; 2mks.
QUESTION 3 (a)
They are leading questions as they suggest the answers tto the questions. Leading questions are not allowed in examination-in-chief objected to by the other party unless allowed by the court. See s. 196(1) Evidence Act. 1mk.
a. How long have you been in the police force? 1mk
b. It is an open question 1mk
c. The questions that should have been asked before questions 4 and 5 are
(i) Take your mind back to the 10th July 2011. Did anything happen on that day? 1mk.
(ii) Did you take any action after the report? 1mk
d. By calling of eye witnesses and the tendering of the sketch map. 1mk.
e. The facts do not disclose anyy ground for objection on admissibility of the sketch map 1 ½ mks.
f. The sequence for tendering a sketch map is:
i Lay proper foundation
ii Show document to the witness
iii Apply to court to tender the sketch map
iv Document will be shown to the other party
v If there is no valid objection, document will be admitted in evidence. (2 ½ Mks)
QUESTION 3 (b) (i)
b(i) As a judge, the principle that may apply is the one that says that the general provisions in a statute cannot override special provisions. See Schroeder v. Major (1989) 2 NWLR (Pt. 101) 1. The provision of S. 233 of the Buachi State Criminal Procedure Law should override that of s. 232. The magistrate should have conducted a preliminary investigation before preferring the charge. 2mks.
QUESTION 3 (b) (ii)
The contents of the letter are:
Address of the writer or an improvised letter head
Address of the registrar
Heading or title of letter
Body of the letter
Signature and name 3mks.
QUESTION 3 (b) (iii)
The factors to be taken into consideration are:
i Delay in judicial process
ii Cost of litigation
iii Publicity of litigation
iv Flexibility of ADR
v Psychological effect of litigation
vi Preservation of the relationship between the parties.
Any four. 2mks
QUESTION 3 (b) (iv)
The process/stages of negotiation are:
(ii) Contact/ice breaking
(iii) Agenda setting
(iv) Bargaining stage
(v) Conclusion 1 ½ Mks
Negotiating tactics are:
(iv) Take it or leave it
(vii) Limited authority
(viii) Lack of authority
Any five 1 ½ Mks
QUESTION 4 (a)
The Contents of Mr. O. T. Ugohs Bill of Charges will be;
i The two demand letters he wrote
ii The heading of the court, suit number and name of the parties
iii The originating process (including the writ of summons and statement of claim be filed
iv Number of appearances in court.
v Accommodation cost
vi Levying of execution of the judgment 7mks
QUESTION 4 (b)
Processes for recovery of professional fees
i Letter of demand
ii Bill of charges
iii One month shall expire before the action for recovery
iv Writ of summons (action in the State High Courtcourt) 4mks
QUESTION 4 (c)
Statement of Claim for recovery of Charges.
IN THE HIGH OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY
HOLDEN AT ABUJA (1MK)
SUIT NO………………….( ½ MK)
O. T UGOH …………………………………………………………………….PLAINTIFF
CHIEF JAMES UDEDIBIA………………………………………………….DEFENDANT (1 ½ MKS)
STATEMENT OF CLAIM ( ½ MK)
1. The Plaintiff is a legal practitioner with a law office located at ……………………..Abuja
2. The Defendant is a businessman based in Abuja
3. On or about the 5th day of March 2010 the defendant engaged the services of the plaintiff to recover the sum of N2.5 million (Two million, five hundred thousand naira only) being debt oweed the defendant by Sunny Merchandise (Nig) Ltd.
4. The Plaintiff in the course of the brief wrote two demand letters to the company and when the company failed to pay the debt, he commenced action against it under the undefended list.
5. The plaintiff successfully, prosecuted the claim and got judgement against the company.
6. Plaintiff also commenced processes for the execution of the judgement and successfully realized the judgement debt.
7. The plaintiff later forwarded his bill of charges for the sum of ………….to the Defendant on the 10th April 2011 but the Defendant ngelected to apy the plaintiffs fees. The bill of charges dated 10/04/2011 is hereby pleaded.
8. Whereof the Plaintiff claims from the defendant the sum of ……………………………being his professional fees and costs for the recovery of the debt frorm the company for the defendant. 2mks.
Dated this ……………………day of …………………………………………..2011 ( ½ mk)
O. T. Ugoh Esq
Chop & Chop Chambers,
No. 5 Wuse Street,
Abuja. ( ½ mk)
For Service on the Defendant
No. 10 Area 11,
Abuja. ( ½ mk)
QUESTION 4 (d)
Mr. O. T. Ugoh should be advised to open a client account and withdraw the money from his personal account including the interest it has yielded. The amount should be paid into the opened clients account. 2MKS.