SHORTCHANGING A LAWYER ON DUE FEES/COMMISSION THROUGH DEBRIEFING – WHETHER PERMISSIBLE ?

CASE CITATION: SAVANNAH BANK OF NIGERIA PLC. v. OLADIPO OPANUBI (2004) 7

S.C. (PT. II) 1 

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 19TH  DAY OF JULY, 2004

COURT: SUPREME COURT

SUIT:  SC. 154/2000 

CORAM:      IDRIS L. KUTIGI, JSC – (Presided)

                       SYLVESTER U. ONU, JSC

                       SAMSON O. UWAIFO, JSC –(Delivered the Leading Judgment)

                       NIKI TOBI, JSC

                       DENNIS O. EDOZIE, JSC

 

ISSUE(S):   WHEN NOT TO DEBRIEF A LAWYER

 

CASE SYNTHESIS 

“All the reason the appellant gave in that letter for terminating the brief was that:

 

“Bearing in mind the strained relationship of client and solicitor, we have no other alternative than to withdraw the brief from your  Chamber. Please regard the brief as withdrawn.”What led to that was that respondent demanded to be paid the 10% commission of N4,750,000.00 being the balance of  N50,000,000.00, the judgment  debt actually paid by the company. The appellant appeared to resist on the curious ground that the money was no paid through the effort of the respondent. But it was. There had been an order for installment payment. One installment of N2,500,000.00 had been paid and on that the respondent  got  his 10%  commission, which was N250,000.00. Then the company decided  to pay all outstanding installments on the judgment at once, which was N47,500,000.00. The commission due on this was what the respondent demanded and which the appellant resisted. The respondent  successfully filed a suit  for payment of his commission. The appellant reacted by withdrawing the brief per Exhibit F.”

 

SAVANNAH BANK OF NIGERIA PLC. v. OLADIPO OPANUBI (2004) 7 S.C. (PT. II) 1 – click HERE to read full judgment

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