A professor of law and senior member of the Bench, Justice Cyprian Ajah, has raised concerns over the state of affairs in the legal profession, warning that disregard for ethics and code of conduct was capable of eroding public trust and undermining the rule of law and justice system.
He also told lawyers to “maintain the highest standard of honesty, integrity, and fairness towards their clients.”
Justice Ajah, a Judge of Enugu State High Court, therefore, advocated strict adherence to ethics and code of conduct, for the legal profession to sustain public trust and confidence.
He stated these in a lecture titled, ‘The importance of ethics in the legal profession,’ which he delivered at the 2022 dinner, organised by the Faculty of Law, Renaissance University, Ugbawka, in Enugu State.
A copy of the his paper was obtained by journalists in Abuja on Monday.
The reports stated Renaissance University is a community based institution (boarding only), in a holistic educational environment with a fully accredited Faculty of Law and established 17 years ago by a former Governor of Enugu State, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani.
Justice Ajah said, “The important role of lawyers as ultimate guardian of the law means that the legal profession has a huge responsibility in ensuring that rules of ethics are developed and that lawyers and the public are educated about ethics and made effective through disciplinary mechanisms.
He reminded lawyers of the need to constantly uphold the rule of law and access to justices, adding that “If lawyers do not adhere to, and promote principle of justice, fairness and equity, the law itself will be brought to disrepute and public confidence in it dimmed.”
According to him, the legal profession has a huge responsibility within society as upholders of the rule of law and protectors of individual rights against abuse of power.
He said the current state of affairs in Nigeria demanded the maintenance of reputation by the legal profession against fakes and quacks.
Justice Ajah said, “A profession’s collective reputation is crucial to the confidence it inspires. The reputation on the legal profession is linked to how the public views the administration of justice. Where there is no public confidence in the legal profession, trust in the justice system itself is undermined.”
He advised lawyers to maintain the highest standard of honesty, integrity and fairness towards their clients, the court and members of the public, “which includes promptly honoring of any undertaking given in the course of a lawyer’s practice.”
Ajah paid glowing tribute to Nnamani for his profound vision in establishing and sustaining the nascent citadel of intellectual, human and entrepreneurial development.
This, he said, remained an immense testimony to Nnamani’s fervent and unrelenting love for education and youth empowerment.
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