This is a comprehensive guide on how to study law in Nigeria, It is compiled to inform you with all the basic information you need to know, on the whole process from the University till call to bar.
If you are potential law student, or an individual researcher, making one form of research or another, whether to boost your personal knowledge of the whole process involved or any other form of research relating to this post, then you are at the right place.
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As a potential law student, you must first of all secure enrollment in the various faculty of law, in any of the universities in Nigeria or abroad.
This program is designed to last for five years for those that enrolled with UTME and four years for those that enrolled with direct entry
These are the requisite procedure necessary to qualify you to secure admission into any Nigerian University to study law.
You must, first of all, obtain a minimum of five credits either in (WAEC) or (NECO) subject to include English Language, Literature in English, and Mathematics.
You must sit and pass an entrance examination known as Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) organized by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), in this exam you are required to sit for three arts or social science subjects, in addition to the English Language which is compulsory for all candidates.
For you to gain admission through the direct entry, you must have two ‘A’ level passes in Arts or Social Science subjects.
While those with National Certificate in Education/ Ordinary National Diploma (NCE/OND)/First Degree (Second Class Lower) in relevant areas, stand to be considered for direct entry admission as well.
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The second step required of you after gaining an admission to study law in the University are as follow; during your years of the undergraduate program in the University, the undergraduate curriculum requires you as a law student to study 12 compulsory core law courses which include; legal method, the legal system, the law of tort, law of equity and trust, contract law, law of evidence, constitutional law, land law, criminal law and jurisprudence.
Though there are other relevant courses in the curriculum you must study and pass during your years of study as a law student, but the above-stated courses are the cores law courses that you must pass very well to qualify you for the award of LLB certificate.
However, an LLB Certificate is a certificate that can be awarded to law student upon his graduation at the university.
The meaning of LLB is “Bachelor of law” Upon the award of this certificate, you are qualified to proceed to any of the 6 current Nigerian law schools, across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria for the compulsory one-year law school program that will qualify you to be called to Nigerian Bar.
This is another step required of you to complete your pursuit of becoming a lawyer in Nigeria.
Upon the award of LLB Certificate, in the University either in Nigeria or abroad, that is a bachelor of law. Then you are qualified to apply for the one-year compulsory law school program.
How to apply
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You can apply to study at the Nigerian law school upon completion of an online form designated for this purpose, through the Council of Legal Education.
Council of Legal Education is a body established for training and supervision of students of Nigerian law school, in other words, known as bar aspirants.
Upon acceptance of the application and payment of necessary fees, you are free to enrol at any of the six Nigerian Law school campuses you are posted to.
For students that studied in foreign countries, you will be required to undertake the Bar Part 1 program which will ground you on the knowledge of the Nigerian Legal system that they were not thought while studying abroad.
However, for those that studied in Nigerian University, you will enrol at the Nigerian law school for Bar Part 1. In the Nigerian law school where you will be grounded mainly on the procedural law, vocational knowledge and practical law skills.
The Law school curriculum requires you to study and master 5 compulsory procedural law courses, which include Property law practice, Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation, Corporate law practice and Law in Practice (Ethics).
As an aspirant to bar you must at least obtain a pass in all the above courses for you to qualify to be called to Nigerian Bar.
This step is also one of the important steps required for you to be called to Bar. During your study program in the Nigerian law school, you are under obligation to attend compulsory 3 Law dinners.
This dinner is usually organized by the law school management, subject to supervision by The Body of Benchers (BOD) a body comprises of the Legal Practitioner organized for this purpose and more.
During the program also, you will participate in some month’s externship, in the Court and Law firm. This will help you to gain knowledge of practical law.
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This is one of the most important steps needed to complete your pursuit of studying law in Nigeria, you must sit for the compulsory Bar finals examination.
This is an examination that is organized at the end the program, as an aspirant to the Nigerian bar, you must at least obtain a pass in all the five courses for you to qualify to be called to the Nigerian Bar.
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This is the final stage in your pursuit to successfully study and start practising law in Nigeria.
It is the call to bar ceremony, which is officially organized to present the aspirant with their call to bar certificate, after which you are automatically enrolled in the supreme court of Nigeria.
This means that your name will be registered in the register maintained by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme court of Nigeria.
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Frequently Asked Question
How many years does it take to become a lawyer in Nigeria?
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For one to successfully become a lawyer in Nigeria, you must spend at least five years in the university from the enrollment period to the graduation time.
During this period of time, you are expected to pass all the courses in the curriculum designed especially for this program.
This is for those that got admission through UTME, but for those that got admission through direct entry will spend 4 years in the University.
However, you must attend and pass compulsory one-year law school to qualify to be called to Nigerian Bar
What are the best universities to study law in Nigeria?
The under-listed are the list of the best Universities in Nigeria to study law
- The University of Abuja.
- Covenant University
- Ekiti State University (EKSU)
- Afe Babalola University
- The University of Calabar
- Obafemi Awolowo University
- Abia State University
- Lagos State University
- University of Benin
- Babcock University
- Ahmadu Bello University, Abu, Zaria
- University of Ilorin
- University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
- Delta State University (DELSU)
- University of Jos
- Ambrose Alli University
- The University of Maiduguri.
- University of Ibadan
Who can be called a lawyer?
A Person who is called to Nigerian Bar, and practised law in Nigeria, whose name is enrolled on the register under the custody of Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court in Nigeria, once you are called to bar you have the right to practice as both barrister and solicitor at the same time.
The above assertion is only applicable to lawyers in Nigeria. But in some western countries, a lawyer who practices law as an advocate, barrister at law whose main duty is to represent clients in the law Court is known as a barrister.
While the one who prepare a legal document, gives legal advice and can represent clients only on the lower courts is known as a solicitor.
However, both barrister and solicitor are given the same kind of training. But because they find themselves in a certain jurisdiction, where they cannot practice as both barrister and solicitor at the same time.
In that case, they have no option either to choose to practice as a barrister or solicitor. Unlike Nigeria and Australia where one person can practice as both barrister and solicitor at the same time.