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FACT CHECK: Is it true Nigerian lawyers can’t practise abroad?

A post on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook claims that lawyers who study in Nigeria are not qualified to practise in other countries. The post…

A post on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook claims that lawyers who study in Nigeria are not qualified to practise in other countries.

The post reads, “You know what’s funny about studying law in Nigeria? You can’t practice anywhere else in the world. It’s either you practice here in NG, where the law books ain’t respected or you go abroad and wash plates.”

The post on X by @LifeOfNapaul has garnered over a million views and 478 comments with over 5,000 reactions.

However, a user who commented on the tweet said, “Nigerian lawyers can practice law in a number of countries from Europe to North America but the requirements for doing so vary from country to country. Some countries allow Nigerian lawyers to practice law without any additional qualifications while others require them to obtain a local law degree or pass a bar examination.”

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Verification

For further clarification, fact-checkers at Daily Trust reached out to lawyers.

Barrister Aisha Odums confirmed that the claim is entirely false.

Odums said, “Their laws abroad are different from ours and vice versa, so we have to take an exam to be able to practise; the same way they have to fulfil some criteria to be able to practise in Nigeria. My brother currently practise in the US.”

A Nigerian practising law in the New York, Abdulrasheed Ijaodola, made a tweet addressing the issue of Nigerians not needing to write the New York and California Bar examination.

In the tweet he said, “Nigerian lawyers who have practised for at least two years can get qualified in the UK as barrister or solicitor without taking any exams but the application for exemption is very long one.

“For California, all you need is a letter of good standing from the Supreme Court and application cost around $1,100. For New York you’ll need to send your University and Law School transcripts and there’s an advised date they are expected to receive it depending on when a person wants to take the exam.

“They’ll assess your documents and tell you you can write the exam. The exam costs $750 to register. You’ll also need to do two other simple exams called the NYLE before you can be admitted. You’ll also need I think 50 hours of pro bono, but you can get a pro bono certificate or letter from Nigeria and use it.”

He also stated that to be admitted at both California and New York, you’ll need to write the MPRE – a professional ethics exam.

“You don’t have to write it before the bar exam but you need it to get admitted. I think it costs about $200 or so and you can read for it in one week. You’ll also need to be physically present to write this,” he added.

Verdict: False

Conclusion

Our findings show that lawyers who study in Nigeria can practise in other countries but have to meet the criteria of the country they intend to practise. Hence, the claim is false and misleading.

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