S’Court Suspends Conferment Of SAN On Lagos Female Lawyer

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BY AHURAKA ISAH and KUNLE OLASANMI, Abuja

The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) has suspended its earlier decision to award the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to a Lagos-based lawyer, Ms  Oluwatoyin Ajoke Bashorun.

Mrs. Bsahorun was the only female lawyer on the list of 30 lawyers awarded with the LPPC earlier this year.

The LPPC announced the withdrawal of the title to Mrs. Bashorun in a statement signed by Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court who doubles as the committee’s Secretary, Hadizatu Uwani Mustapha.

The statement said the decision to withhold the rank from Mrs. Bashorun was taken at a meeting of the LPPC held yesterday.

But the statement was silent on the reason behind the sudden withdrawal of the rank to Mrs. Bashorun, noting instead that investigation on her case was on going.

The statement also did not say the conferment of the rank on the remaining 29 lawyers schedule for September 18 has been shifted.

Part of the statement reads: “Recall that the LPPC announced the nomination for appointment of 30 successful applicants for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. This was after a thorough investigation of petitions against some of the applicants which is governed by Paragraph 12(2) of the LPPC Guidelines, 2016.

“However, after the announcement, more facts have emerged, touching on the eligibility of the otherwise successful applicants.

“Consequent upon that, the LPPC, in an emergency meeting held today (15th day of September, 2017) has decided to defer the conferment of the rank of SAN on Oluwatoyin Ajoke Bashorun, pending further investigation of her case by a special constituted committee set up by my lord, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, chairman of LPPC.”

The Estate of the late Prof. Tolani Asuni had petitioned against conferment of the rank of SAN on Miss Oluwatoyin Ajoke Bashorun for misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner.

In a petition dated July 10, 2017 which was addressed to the chairman of the LPPC and signed by Dr Tolani Asuni on behalf of the Estate of late Prof Asuni, the petitioners asked the LPPC to rescid its decision to award Bashorun with the rank of SAN until she has vacated their property and pay all outstanding sums due to the Estate of the Late Prof Asuni.

The petition obtained by LEADERSHIP Weekend noted: ‘’Ms Bashorun’s conduct of blatantly abusing court process for 9years brings the legal profession into disrepute. A potential SAN out not to be found wanting on this regard.

“Ms Bashorun’s apparent inability to pay her outstanding rent shows that she is indigent, and therefore not a successful legal practitioner, which is one of the criteria your esteemed committee considers in conferring the award or that she has no respect for contractual obligation, both of which disqualify her from being a fit and proper person to be honoured with silk.”