2012 NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL BAR FINALS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
COUNCIL OF LEGAL EDUCATION
NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL
BAR FINAL EXAMINATION
LAW IN PRACTICE
THURSDAY, 9TH AUGUST, 2012 TIME: 3HOURS
1. ALL QUESTIONS ARE COMPULSORY.
2. THIS PAPER IS DIVIDED INTO 2 SECTIONS AND CANDIDATES SHOULD ATTMEPT ALL QUESTIONS. TWO (2) ANSWER BOOKLETS ARE PROVIDED.
3. ALL QUESTIONS IN SECTION 1 SHOULD BE ANSWERED ON A SEPARATE ANSWER BOOKLET, WHILE ALL QUESTIONS IN SECTION 2 SHOULD BE ANSWERED IN THE OTHER BOOKLET.
4. PLEASE WRITE YOUR EXAMINATION NUMBER ON EACH ANSWER BOOKLET.
You are the Principal Partner in the Law Firm of ITK & Co. One of your young Lawyers interviewed a client and made the following notes for you:
One new client was in our office today. He is a tenant at Cherry Plaza. In June, 2011, the Cherrry Plaza property managers decided to renovate and give the Plaza a face-lift. While coming out of his office, an iron rod dropped form a loose scaffold erected by the contractors and seriously injured him in the process. He went through a medical procdure to save the leg that was injured from amputation.
The client contacted a Lawyer to seek compensation for the Injury. The client wanted the matter settled in his favour without litigation but the Lawyer insisted on litigation. Since the client did not have money to pay the Lawyers fees, the client and the Lawyer agreed to share the compensation amount to be recovered equally. The client also told me that in the course of the trial, the Lawyer failed to tender some material evidence to support the claim for compensation and also refused to accept an offer for settlement by the defendants on the ground that the client will get more after a full trial.
On one of the dates for continuation of the clients case at trial, his Lawyer did not show up and the Judge dismissed the matter for lack of diligent prosecution and awarded N40,000 cost against the client. The client reported that the Lawyer is insisting on filing an appeal or filing an application to relist the case because the Lawyer says that the client is bound to continue the litigation to the end since the relationship is based on a contingency contract which he the Lawyer has already started executing. The Lawyer told the client that if the client refuses to continue with the case, the Lawyer will sue the client for his fees. The client wants us to take over the matter. The client still owes his hospital bills and cannot pay legal fees at this time. The defendants have a Lawyer.
After reading these notes above, please do the following:
a. State the problem or problems in this case. Also state in not more than a sentence the clients goal.
b. Assuming you have agreed to act for this client, what actions would you take to achieve the clients goal? Set out the actions in order of priority. Give reasons for each suggested action and where applicable support your opinion with authorities.
c. List (with reason or reasons) any additional information, fact or thing you need or clarification from the client to be able to advise him or take further action to achieve his goal or solve the problems.
d. Assuming you decide to contact the Lawyer that represented the client in the case, do so by a letter or not more than one page.
e. With the aid of authorities, write an opinion regarding the conduct of the Lawyer that represented the client including his insistence to continue with the matter after it was dismissed or the payment of legal fees by the client.
READ THE CASE STUDY IN QUESTION 1 AND ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
a. Assuming you advised the client to negotiate with the defendants, write an opinion in not more than one page explaining why negotiation is suitable in this particular case.
b. Assuming the client has requested you to negotiate on his behalf, draft a letter of not more than one page intimating the defendantsLawyer that you wish to commence the process of negotiation.
c. Assuming you have agreed with the client on a Contingency Fee arrangement:
i. Draft the Contingency Fee Agreement
ii. State the elements of a Contingency Fee Contract under the Rules of Professional Conduct.
d. Assuming you represented the client up to negotiation stage without any discussion or agreement regarding fees and negotiation fails, explain with authorities if you will still be entitled to Professional Fees. Draft a statement of claim you will file in Court assuming you have to claim Professional Fees by litigation.
e. Assuming that though you were not the Lawyer that represented the defendants in the case in Court but you had at one time acted as Lawyer to the owner of Cherry Plaza on a family matter and this was not known to the client, explain with authorities your line of action based on this fact.
PLEASE USE A SEPARATE ANSWER BOOKLET FOR THIS SECTION
(a) Read Case study in question 1 and answer the following questions;
(i) To prepare a persuasive trial story in a case, you must plan your case in chief considering your potential witnesses and exhibits. From the case study in question 1, state the likely witness or witnesses and their role to prove your case. What exhibit or exhibits are you likely to tender and to prove what?
(ii) Prepare the questions you will ask a witness that will only tender an exhibit you have identified as important in the case during examination-in-chief.
(iii) Assume that your clients lawyer, up to the time the case was dismissed by the Court for want of diligent prosecution had finally sued your client to recover his fees? Assume also that the lawyer testified in chief and only tendered a written contingency fee contract that only provided for sharing of any damages that is recovered in the case and as at the time of the suit no damages was recovered, what will be your question or questions to the lawyer during cross-examination?
(iv) Write a short explanation of the principles of cross-examination and why you chose the question or questions you have asked in this case.
(b) Following his retirement from PAN PLC as a Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Mr. Ikenna Ibrahim decided to set up a law office. On 20th June 2012, he sold his shares in Dangote PLC for N5 million and invested it in his office. On 2nd June 2012, he rented an office at No 15 Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna at N1 million per annum and paid for two years. He also bought law books from Lexis Nexis bookshop for N1,000,000 on 28th June 2012. He also bought office furniture for N500,000 as well as computer set and accessories for N200,000 on the same 28th June 2012. On 29th June 2012, he opened an account with Zenith Bank PLC and deposited N1 million into the account. He also paid N100,000 as salary on 29th June 2012.
Draw up Mr. Ikenna Ibrahims cash book for the month ended 30th June 2012.
(a) You hold the qualification of Bachelor of laws degree and you were called to the Nigerian Bar in 2001. The Nigerian Law School has asked interested lawyers to join her teaching team as part-time lecturers. You have been in private legal practice. Since your Call to bar. Write an application addressed to the Director-General Nigerian Law School to be appointed a part-time lecturer. Draft your curriculum vitae.
(b) See the attached letter at page 8 and list all the things that you think require correction, stating your reason(s) for suggesting the corrections.
(c) Write an argument in not more than 2 pages in favour of this statement that says as follows:
In reality the Rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners is observed more in the breach than in its obedience.
Write the argument using the PRES (Style) P for point of view; R for Reasons/Ground for the view; E-for Evidence /Example; and S for summary or conclusion.
You will also be assessed for English grammer.
The Deputy Director-General
And Head Campus
Nigerian Law School
No. 10 Old Market Road
APPLICATION TO PARTICIPATE AS AND ADJUNT LECTUER IN NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL.
I humbly apply to participate in your portfolio Assessment programme as an Adjunt lecturer.
I obtained my LL.B at University of Nija in 2003. I was called to Barrister at Nigerian Law School in June 2005.
I undergone training in alternative Dispute resolution under BPD consulting Law research and training institute and obtained certificate of training and proficiency which added Professional Mediator and Negotiation (PMN) to my qualification in the year 2006.
I have been in active legal practice since I left school. Presently I am in the chambers of Chief O. Mkpo at the above address.
I promise to service effciently if my application is favourably considered. My particulars are hereby enclosed.
LAW IN PRACTICE
Question 1 (a)
The problems in this case are:
a) Instigation of Litigation by a Legal Pracitioner against the will of his client to settle out of Court.
b) Conflict of Interest The Legal Practitioner is more Intersted in what he can get from the client than helping the client to settle amicably with the firm he is claiming against
c) Lack of dedication and devotion to the cause of a client
The clients goal is to explore the option of alternative dispute resolution.
Question 1 (b)
First of all, I would seek his approval to take over the brief from the former Legal practitioner handling the brief. After getting his approval I would proceed to negotiate with the former Legal Practitioner on behalf of the client as to payment of his fees. After successfully debriefing the other Legal Practitioner, I would advise the client on the different ADR options that we can pursue in order to get the compensation for him. I would advise the client to explore the option of negotiation as an ADR. The actions I would take are;
• Determine the Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) well as the Worst Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (WATNA) the reason for this is that so we can have focus and directions when negotiation starts and also to save time.
• After determining the BATNA and WATNA, I would decide on the negotiation strategy to adopt. The strategies are the competitive or positional strategy (win/lose option) and the Co-operative or problem solving strategy (win/lose approach) I would go for the second approach which is the Co-operative/problem solving strategy. The reason why I prefer that approach is that it will enable the parties to focus on their interest and pick from several option that will resolve the matter amicably so that they can still be friends even after the settlement.
The next action I would pursue is to arrange a meeting between the disputing parties for the negotiation to commence. During the negotiation, I would makes sure I put everybody at case and proper introduction made. At the bargaining stage, I would ensure I adopt the firm style of negotiation. The reason being that it is professional than being too hard or soft.
Finally, at the closing stage, I would make sure that all the issues agreed upon are recorded and duly executed between the parties.
Question 1 (c)
• The clients name
• How long have u been a tenant at the plaza?
• Have you had any problem with the owners of the plaza before?
• How thick is the iron rod?
• What is the height of the scaffold?
• Was there any information or caution sign that one should not pass through the place?
• How long were you admitted at the hospital?
• How much did you spend on hospital bill. Do you have all the medical documents and receipts issued to you?
• Did the management of the plaza or their delegates visit you at the hospital?
• How many times did they visit?
• Did they make any effort to negotiate with you as to your compensation etc.
Question 1 (d)
UCHE OBASI & CO
10 KOKO CLOSE MAITAMA ABUJA
PHONE NO: 07032496366
Our Ref: __________________ Your Ref:_____________
9th August, 2012
NOTICE TO TAKE OVER THE BRIEF OF MR. DADA SULE PREVIOUSLY HANDLED BY YOU.
The above subject matter refers.
We have been instructed by Mr. Dada Sule hereinafter referred to as our client, to collect from you the case file and other items belonging to him for the purpose of continuing with the case. Be assured that you would be debriefed accordingly.
Thank you for your co-operation.
U. O. OBASI ESQ
Question 1 (e)
Under the relevant provisions of the Rules of professional conduct for Legal Practitioners, a Legal Practioner has the duty to uphold and observe the rule of Law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct and not to engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a Legal practitioner. Rule 1 RPC. In line with the above statutory provision some of the acts that a Legal Practitioner should not be associated with are instigating litigation as provided under Rule 47 of the RPC. In the instant case, the act of the Lawyer by insisting on litigation when the client had alread made his intention known that he wanted to settle out of Court amount to a gross misconduct and in my humble opinion, that it is ethically wrong.
It is also the duty of a Lawyer to show dedication and devotion to the cause of his client and try as much as possible to do anything that will protect the interest of his client, Rule 14 RPC
A lawyer should also represent his client competently by handling his clients matter with adequate preparation without being negligent. Rule 16 RPC. It is also my humble opinion froim the scenario that the Lawyer failed in this regard. He did not only fail in his professional responsibility to protect his clients interest, he even incurred debt on him.
On the insistence of the Lawyer to continue with the matter, A client is free at any time to dispense with the services of his Lawyer as he deems fit on the condition that the client must fulfill his obligations including the payment of his fees. In the instant case, it is ethically wrong for the Lawyer to insist on continuing with the matter after blowing his chances at the trial Court and also incurring debt against the client.
In conclusion, the Lawyer conmmitted grave professional misconduct and it is my humble opinion that he honourably hands over the brief to another Lawyer if the client insisting without demanding for any pay because he did not deserve it.
Question 2 (a)
The reason why negotiation is suitable in the instant case are:
(i) It will afford the parties an opportunity to settle amicably without involving a 3rd party and as such it is very private.
(ii) It is cheaper to adopt negotiation option.
(iii) It saves time, so that parties can dispense with the matter and do somethign else.
(iv) Successful negotiation generally results in some kind of exchange of promise being made by the parties to each other which may be tangible or intengible. The tangible promise may be an apology.
(v) Finally, at the end of the negotiation parties are happy and no unneccessary adversity is created and as such can still do business subsequently.
Question 2 (b)
UCHE OBASI & CO
10 KOKO CLOSE MAITAMA ABUAJ
PHONE NO: 07032496366
Our Ref:_________________ Your Ref:_____________
9th August, 2012
PRINCIPAL IN CHAMBERS
WUSE II, ABUJA.
REQUEST FOR NEGOTIATION
We have the authority and instruction of our client, Mr. Dada Sule to intimate you of his intension to resort to negotiation so as to end this protected matter.
We are looking forward to your reaction so that the process can be expedited.
Thank you for your Co-operation.
U.O. OBASI ESQ
Question 2 (c)
i Any situation which may come up in the course of the transaction which is not contemplated shall attract extra fees to be paid by the client which may not be less than 55 of the total amount involved
ii There must be an express agreement between the parties to charge contingency fee
iii The fee must be charged with the consent of the client
iv The fee must not be illegal or excessive.
Question 2 (d)
(1) Where no express agreement is reached between the parties regarding fees, the Legal Practitioner can still claim his fees on a quantum merit basis. Search v Rutland Claire v Joseph. Also Rule 48(1) RPC provides that a Lawyer is entitled to be paid adequate remuneration for this services to the client. Therefore, he can still recover his fees as long as the service is not on a probono basis.
(2) Drafting of Statement of Claim
IN THE HIGH COURT OF FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY
IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT ABUJA
U.O. OBASI ESQ______________________________ PLAINTIFF
MR. DADA SULE ____________________________ DEFENDANT
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
1. The plaintiff is a Legal practitioner based in Abuja
2. The Defendant is a tenant at Cherry Plaza in Wuse Zone III, Abuja
3. The plaintiff avers that the Defendant gave him a brief on 15th June, 2012 to claim compensation against the owners of the plaza for the injuries he sustained in the plaza
4. The plaintiff avers that he accepted the brief and swung into action immediately to negotiate on behalf of the Defendant without first agreeing on the fees because the Defendant claimed he didnt have money
5. The plaintiff avers that negotiation failed as parties could not come to any agreement despite his effort.
6. The plaintiff avers that he demanded for his fees from the Defendant for the effort so far put in and the Defendant vehemently refused to pay the said fees.
WHEREOF the plaintiff claims as follows:
7. N75,000.00 being the fees to be charged on quantum merit.
8. N150.00 being general damages for all the stress the plaintiff has gone through including cost of litigation.
Dated this 9th August, 2012.
U. O. OBASI ESQ
20 KOKO CLOSE
FOR SERVICE ON
C/O HIS COUNSEL
J.N. AGADA (SAN)
10 ZIK AVE
Question 2 (e)
There is no rule that a Lawyer cannot act against his former client. Onigbongbo Community v Minister of Lagos Affairs & 31 others and In Re Chief F.R.A. Williams.
However, a Layer has the duty to disclose to his client all the circumstance of his relationship with the adverse client to the present client and any interest he has if any which might influence the slection of the Lawyer. Rule. 17 RPC. In the instant case, I owe the client a duty to disclose my previous relationship with the other client and allow him decide whether to use me or not.
Question 3 (a) (i)
(1) The first witness is the victim of the negligence as the PW1
(2) Any other person that was at the scene when the iron rod fell
(3) The medical expert that attended to the PW1 or victim while at the hospital to testify as to the extent of damage done to the PW1.
The likely exhibits to be tendered are;
(1) The piece of iron rod that dropped from the scaffold to prove existence of the plaintiff claims
(2) Medical bills to prove cost and expenses at the hospital
(3) Other medical reports like X-ray film and other material to prove extent of damage or gravity of injuries sustained.
Question 3 (a) (ii)
Q1. Tell the Court your name, where you live and what you do for a living
Q2. You were the medical expert that attended to the PW1 while he was at the National Hospital?
Q3. You said that you conducted series of tests to ascertain the damage done to the PW1?
Q4. Where are the results of the medical examination you said you conducted?
Q5. If you see the said medical reports can you identify them?
Q6. Take a close look at these documents and tell the Court if they are the medical reports you referred to?
My lord, I seek to tender the said medical reports as evidence in this case
Question 3 (a) (iii)
Q1. I put it to you that you were more interested in the money you wanted to collect from the Defendant than protecting his interest, thereby handling his matter with gross incompetence.
Q2. By the agreement in the written contingency contract, sharing of the damage is only consequent upon its recovery? Or
The agreement between you and the Defendant with respect to the written contingency contract is that you can only share the damage if it is recovered?
Question 3 (a) (iv)
Under the relevant provisions of the Evidence Act, Cross-examination is the question put to a witness by the adverse party in order to discredit the evidence of the said witness. The importance of cross-exmaination is to test the accuracy, veracity and credibility of a witness, to shake his credit by injuring his character, and to know who he is and what position he holds in life. Also any kind of question can be allowed in cross-examination but it is more preferable to ask a leading question in order to achieve the whole essence of cross-examination.
Finally, the sky is not the limit of a cross-examiner since he is not allowed to ask question that are scandalous, vexatious and insulting as they are not relevant to the facts of issue.
Why I chose to ask the questions is to discredit the evidence of the witness.
Question 3 (b)
Mr. Ikenna Ibrahims Cash Book
DATE PARTICULARS DR CR
20/6/2012 Capital 5,000,000
2/6/2012 Rent 1,000,000
28/6/2012 Law Books 1,000,000
28/6/2012 Office Furniture 500,000
28/6/2012 Computer/Accessories 200,000
29/6/2012 Bank Account 1,000,000
29/6/2012 Salary 100,000
29/6/2012 B/C 1,200,000
30/6/2012 B/D 5,000,000 5,000,000
Question 4 (a)
U.O . OBSAI ESQ
20 KOKO CLOSE
NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL
9TH August, 2012
APPLICATION FOR APPINTMENT AS A PART-TIME LECTURER
IN THE SCHOOL
Following the advertisement posted on the schools website of the request to employ part-time lecturers. I hereby apply for the said post.
I hold a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) Hons., from University of Ibadan and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2001 and have been in private Legal practice since my call to bar.
I am also involved in facilitation of students aspiring to the bar and as such, see myself as a fit and proper person to be considered for the job.
I pledge to put in my best if I am considered for the appointment to the best of my ability.
I humbly urge that my application be given a favourable consideration
Thanks you in anticipation.
U. O. OBASI ESQ
UCHE OGWO OBASI
No 20 KOKO CLOSE, MAITAMA
Date of Birth: 22/09/1979
Place of Birth: Aba, Abia State
State of Origin: Abia State
Local Government: Ohafia
Marital Status: Married
To stand distinguished in all my undertakings and to leave appreciable footprints in the sands of time by way of challenge and responsibility taking by being innovative and creative in ideas that would leave the human society better than I met it.
To be a developer of the Law by being an answer to the several answered legal questions:
INSTITUTIONS ATTENDED DATES
Nigerian Law School, Abuja 2000/2001
University of Ibadan 1994/2000
Baptist High School, Ogbomoso 1988/1993
Best Brain Primary School, Bodija, Ibadan 1983/1992
QUALIFICATION OBTAINED DATES
Barrister of Law (BL) 2001
Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) 2000
Senior School Certificate Examination 1993
First School Leaving Certificate 1992
NYSC Discharge Certificate 2002
A Corp Member/Legal Practitioner
November 2001 October 2002
A. U. AJODO & CO.
No. 1 Market Plaza
Opposite General hospital
Sokoto Road, Funtua
Responsibilities: Brief taking preparation of Court processes and other Legal documents, intensive researchers, conduct of searches full time litigation of matters in Court/Tribunals Corporate transaction at the Corporate Affairs Commissioner (CAC) solicitor or general legal issue etc.
• Team work motivation
• Interpersonal relationship without discrimination
• Good oral and written communication skill
• Teaching potentialities
• Personal representation
• Good computer knowledge and skill
Reading, traveling and watching sports
ALEXANDER UGBEDE AJODO ESQ
A.U. AJODO & Co.
No 1 Market Plaza, Opp. General Hospital
Sokoto Road, funtua
Question 4 (b)
1. The addressee and address is supposed to be placed at the left hand side while the applicants name and address is supposed to be placed at the right hand side in compliance with the format of writing a formal letter
2. Nija in paragraph 2 is a slang and is not supposed to be used in a formal letter.
3. The word service as used in paragraph 5 is a very wrong expression as such kinds of grammatical blunder is only spoken by illiterates and comedians.
4. In the closing. Yours sincerely is a wrong expression to use since the applicant did not use the name of the addressee. The right word to use is Yours faithfully,
Question 4 (c)
Point of view
I am absolutely in support of the assertion as presented in the scenario
The reason basically is founded on the intention of the people that sponsored the draft Rules to pin the upcoming legal practitioners down so that the big Lawyers can continue to rise.
All the Rules as stipulated in the Rules of Professional Conduct to guide the ethics of the profession are not even kept by those that made the rules.
I personally have seen some of them in Court conspicuously breaching the said rules which informed my reason for saying that they only made the rules to punish the upcoming Lawyers.
Evidence / Example
A vivid example is the case of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria that came to the Court where I went to move a motion, to wait for a client for the purpose of accepting brief from him and right in my presence, the SAN waited for the client under a Mango tree, and when the client eventually came out from the Court room, the SAN collected money from him and counted it under the Mango tree; yet the RPC said that we should not take brief outside the office, that amount to an absolute observance of the Rules in breach.
It is trite to state at this point that the General Council of the Bar meant well for the Legal Profession. However, the said intention has been taken over by the Nigerian factor where Rules and Laws are made but are never implemented.