Certificate of Good Standing

As a lawyer, leaving Nigeria to live and practice in another country is not always an easy undertaking. In addition to reading and getting acquainted with laws that are often times different from Nigeria’s, you will also be required to get proof of your admission and current good standing with the Nigerian Bar. Not being physically present in Nigeria, the latter can seem to be an uphill task. It need not be. I got mine without much difficulty.

To get a certificate of good standing from the Supreme Court of Nigeria as a lawyer, simply write and send a letter of application letter for good standing addressing it to the chief countryar, such application should be brief and precise and must include the address of the foreign Bar. For instance

The Chief Registrar

Supreme Court of Nigeria
Three Arms Zone
Aso Villa
PMB 308
Abuja FCT

Nigeria.

Content of the Application letter

The letter should contain the date of your admission to the Bar and your enrolment number. You can see your enrolment number on your call to bar certificate (SCNO….) but if, like me, you were called around 2008, your certificate may not contain it. However, if you took part in the data verification exercise conducted in 2011 by the NBA for the building of the Nigerian Lawyers database, your enrolment number should have been given to you then.

It may also be necessary to state your branch of the NBA and when last you paid your practicing fees in the application letter. For me, I also mentioned that I have never had to appear before the disciplinary committee. The information helps in processing your application

Finally, state the jurisdiction that requested the certificate and their address so that the Supreme Court can address/send it to them. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your certificate of call to bar because that is the only way to show that you are the actual person making the application.

Fee and duration

As at the time I applied for my certificate ( February, 2012), no fee was payable for obtaining the certificate. I hope that is still the case. Mine was ready within two weeks and an email was sent to me by the Information Technology Unit of the Supreme Court to notify me of that fact Supreme Court and mail it to me. The Jurisdiction I submitted mine to did not require direct delivery from the Supreme Court. If however you want the Supreme Court to send it by courier to any destination, you will bear the cost of the delivery.

Change of Name

For those who may want the certificate to bear a name different from the one on their call to bar certificates, they will have to apply for a deed poll and that will cost them some money. I didn’t go through that so I do not know the procedure. The Supreme Court does not accept newspaper publication as evidence of change of name. Though I had married and changed my name since my admission to the bar, the jurisdiction I submitted the certificate accepted a certificate of good standing bearing my maiden name. If you need the deed poll, you can contact the Supreme Court with the contact below.

Applying from Abroad

For those outside Nigeria, you don’t need to mail a hard copy of your application. Just scan your call to bar certificate and email it and your application to: scn.lgs.enrolment@courts.gov.ng. Follow it up with a call to +2348091318059 or +2348152576253.

Good luck

By ANNE MMEJE, ESQ.

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