By Gozie Francis Moneke, Esq.
The Dialectics of Ethics: Bold Visions for Professionalism in the Bank and Bench is passionate effort at reawakening commitment to the cherished traditions of the legal profession. Having rummaged through the body of legal literature in Nigeria and unable to find a one stop authoritative text on the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners and Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, the author deemed it very pertinent and germane to put together this manual or handbook for easy reference and reflection on the tenets of ethics that make legal practitioners not just professionals, but worthy custodians of public trust – a trust reposed in them by virtue of their presumed integrity and great learning in the sinuous ways of the law. The worrisome rampancy of misconduct or infamous conduct in professional respect threatens to squander or erode that public confidence and consign the legal profession to the attritions of infamy and disrepute. Hence, the need to circumvent the decline in the traditional high standards of conduct warrants an authoritative reference material that encapsulates the rules and codes, with all relevant judicial clarifications and amplifications made thereon. That is exactly what this book has set out to achieve.
With changing times and circumstances, and what with the explosion in the census of admittance into the clique of learned gentlemen, the legal profession has found itself in changing places with concomitant erosion of its agelong cherished traditions. The danger of public loss of confidence in the justice system is real and imminent, if the incidence of malfeasance in the legal profession is not very robustly checkmated. The most effective means of securing proper behaviour is not in punishing mishaviour but in constantly reminding people of the canons of ideal and expected behaviour vis-a-vis the proscribed opposites. Let not the sword of Damocles fall on one for others to fall in line, but let everybody be constantly apprised of the standards, so that in the doldrums forgetfulness, the rules are not inadvertently jettisoned by one to the peril of all.
Lawyers will therefore find this book a very good companion and resource material to enable them constantly check their relations with clients, judges and their fellow lawyers and ensure that their conduct are always in tandem with the parameters set out under the Rules of Professional Conduct. The book also signposts a broad vision for expanding the frontiers of law practice for a more rewarding and fulfilling experience in the Bar. Students of law, who aspire to join the elite and august circle learned gentlemen, will do well to voraciously ravish the content of this book and commit the rules to heart as their most important orientation in the journey towards admittance into the Bar. Judicial officers, may find this book an interesting tool for easy reference to the provisions of the Code of Conduct. However, with great humility to learned justices, judges and other judicial officers who may come across this book, it is not by any means a personal dictate for the learned noble Lords, but in fact a response to the Preamble of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officer, which inter alia stipulates that the prescribed code be “published for the information and due compliance by the judicial officer himself and the public in general so that the objectives set out in this Code of Conduct may be achieved.” Members of the public, who come in contact with the justice system, either by engaging lawyers or appearing in court, will need this book to understand really what happens in court and what indeed lawyers and judges do and how it affects them, plus the attitudes and responsibilities expected of them as they try to take advantage of legal services to ventilate their rights in the temple of justice.
Finally, it is hoped that this book will conduce to a new lease of professionalism in the legal profession by bringing a refreshing breath to our evanescent memories of the required standards of behaviour, and by that token foster the integrity of the profession and sanitize the environment of law practice to expel invidious pests, fakes and imposters, who infiltrate the profession and degrade its nobility with scandalous conducts and unprofessionalism. The hope is cherished too that by complying with the ethics of our profession, we will enhance public confidence in the justice system; and then, of course, do well for ourselves while doing good.
An official book presentation of The Dialectics of Ethics is scheduled to take place at Hilton Leisure Resort and Hotel, Awka, Anambra State on 2nd December, 2022. The Special Guest will be the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Hon. Justice O. M. Anyachebelu. The Hon. Attorney General and the Commissioner for Lands of Anambra State Prof. Sylvia Ifemeje and Prof. Offornze Amucheazi, SAN respectively will be the Guests of Honour. The event will be chaired by renowned Rev. Fr. Dr. E. S. C. Obiorah, SAN. Mr. Ikeazor Akaraiwe, SAN will be the book reviewer, while Hon. Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, Chukwuka Ikwuazom, SAN and Valentine Obienyem, Esq. will be the guest speakers to engage participants on professionalism in the legal profession for efficient justice delivery. Many eminent justices, Senior Advocates and distinguished members of the legal profession and the public are expected to grace the occasion.
Author: Gozie Francis Moneke, Esq. LLM (London)