Court Restrains Ernst & Young, PWC, KPMG, Deloitte, from Rendering Legal Services In Nigeria
The Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun state has restrained four known accounting and consulting firms; Ernst And Young Advisory Services Limited, Price Waterhouse Cooper Ltd(PWC), KPMG Professional Services and Deloitte & Touche Consulting Ltd from invading legal space by rendering legal services in Nigeria.
In the consent Judgments in the above cases with the SUIT NO.: FHC/AB/CS/71/2020, FHC/AB/CS/70/2020,
FHC/AB/CS/69/2020, FHC/AB/CS/72/2020, instituted by Olumide Babalola against the firms and the Attorney General of the Federation, all parties consented to the fact that they don’t have the right to offer professional legal services.
In the suits brought before Justice Honourable Justices O. O Oguntoyinbo and M. Shitu Abubakar, the Plaintiff sought various reliefs.
In delivering the consent judgment, the court perused the Terms of Settlement agreed and signed by both parties to the suits dated, 5th July and filed 22nd November, 2021, 5th and filed 14th July, 2021, dated 15th, and filed 18th January, and 16th January and filed on 1st February, 2021, respectively.
Both counsel respectively prayed the court to admit the Terms of Settlement and enter same as the judgment of the court.
In the CTC, the Parties accordingly agreed as follows:
1. The accounting firms are not firms of “Legal Practitioners” as defined under section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010 and do not, and cannot, practise as Legal Practitioners in any form or guise in Nigeria or offer services reserved by law for Legal Practitioners. For the avoidance of doubt, the law has reserved the following for legal Practitioners;
Preparation, signing and/or franking of originating court processes, pleadings and/or court related applications or filing any such documents as Legal Practitioners in courts for clients in connection with court proceedings;
Representation of clients in courts as their Legal Practitioners;
Preparation, signing and/or franking of any agreement, contract, deed, letter or any other document that confers, transfers, limits, charges or extinguishes any interest in any immovable property; and
Preparation, signing and/or franking of any document relating to, or with a view to, the grant of probate or letters of administration.
2. The accounting firms agree that the current state of Nigerian laws does not permit them to operate as a firm of Legal Practitioners as contemplated by the Legal Practitioners Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010 or offer services reserved by law for Legal Practitioners.
3. The Firm’s declare that its personnel who are legal practitioners by virtue of their professional training do not provide, and do not hold themselves out as providing, within Nigeria to the clients of the Defendants any of the services which the law has reserved for Legal Practitioners, and will not do so unless or until the applicable law in Nigeria permits same.
The parties agree that these Terms of Settlement are definite, final and conclusive of all issues and questions for determination raised herein, contingent or otherwise, that have or that ought to have been raised by the plaintiff against the Defendants and vice Versa in this action and any other action.
The plaintiff in this case was represented by A. O Abdulrasak Esq, and A. A Shuaib, while the defendants were duly represented by Femi Adeluola Esq, Aziz Shobiyejo, Esq, holding brief for Joshua Abe, Sandra Onyedem.