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Can lawyers who studied in Nigeria practice in other countries?

Claim: A Facebook user claims that lawyers who studied in Nigeria can only practise in the country. 

Verdict: The assertion is false. Findings by DUBAWA show that lawyers who studied in Nigeria can practise anywhere in the world as long as they meet the host country’s requirements.

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Law practice is typically linked to a country’s constitution, so lawyers must study it in their school curriculum. 

However, on September 6, a Facebook user, Okeke Daberechukwu Chukwujekwu (Deco), alleged that Nigerian lawyers can only practice in the country.

“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 & wash plates,” he said.

The post also resurfaced on X, formerly Twitter, amassing over 1.1 million views with 5,000 reactions and controversial reactions. 

A user, Omotayo Akorede Psamuel (@akorede_psalms), challenged the claim, stating that lawyers who studied in Nigeria could practice in other countries, such as the UK.

That’s not true, though…. ❌❌❌ I didn’t study Law in Nigeria, but I am qualified to practise Law in Nigeria, and Nigerian-qualified lawyers work in UK law firms. The process can be challenging for most, but some do it,” he argued.

Other users sought further clarifications on the matter. The controversy necessitated DUBAWA’s input.


According to the Nigeria Lawyers Forum, a public opinion forum of lawyers on Facebook, a lawyer qualified to practice in his or her home country (Nigeria) can do so in other countries if they meet the specific requirements set by the legal authorities of the other country. In 2022, Daily Trust reported that Nigerian lawyers could practice in other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom and the United States. 

DUBAWA further sought the opinions of Nigerian lawyers to gain insight into the matter. A human rights lawyer, Festus Ogun, disputed the claim, stating, 

“It is false because many Nigerian lawyers are out there.” 

Another lawyer, Emmanuel Okorie, clarified that there are no specific restrictions on Nigerian lawyers practising in other countries, asserting, 

“There is none. Most Nigerian lawyers are practising in other jurisdictions. You must write and pass the Bar Exam of the jurisdiction you wish to practice,” he clarified. 

Wale Adeagbo, supporting the assertion of his colleagues, states that he has Nigerian friends practising in the US.

International agreements

The Hague Convention on the “Law Applicable to Certain Legal Relationships Resulting from Civil and Commercial Matters” addresses the issue of foreign lawyers practising in other countries. Article 3 of the Convention states that lawyers may practice law in a country other than their home country if they are admitted to practice law in their home country and if the host country has no laws prohibiting foreign lawyers from practising law.

Requirements for practising law abroad

DUBAWA’s investigation also revealed that the state of New York allows foreign lawyers to take the bar examination if they have completed designated subjects at a US law school and obtained a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.). Upon successfully passing the examination, they can practice law in the state.

Caleb Adebayo, a Nigerian lawyer practising with Allen & Overy in New York, shared his insights. 

He explained, “All law is local, as the practice of law is highly jurisdictional.” 

He elaborated that to practice in a jurisdiction outside the area of their primary qualification; lawyers must pass that jurisdiction’s bar exam and fulfil other requirements. Mr Adebayo highlighted that hundreds of Nigerian-trained lawyers are practising in various US states.

“To date, hundreds of Nigerian qualified lawyers are practising in various States in the US. It’s called the New York Bar, and I took it and passed it last year,” explains Mr Caleb, a Law graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2015.

Sierra Leone’s legal framework

In Sierra Leone, Section 10(a) of the Legal Practitioners Act 2000 permits foreigners to practice law in the country if the Council of Legal Education approves their law degree from any Commonwealth country. Since Nigeria is part of the Commonwealth, Nigerian lawyers can practice in Sierra Leone. 

“We (the lawyers) must meet their requirements before practising there. That is the same way lawyers in those jurisdictions will need to meet our requirements before they can practice here,” Barrister Agba Obinnaya stated. 

Insight from legal scholar Kilimnik Kenneth

The publication “Lawyers Abroad: New Rules for Practice in a Global Economy,” authored by Kilimnik Kenneth and featured in the Penn State International Law Review, sheds light on the professional practice of lawyers in foreign countries.

“Increasingly, lawyers and law firms are practising in foreign jurisdictions and giving advice to foreign clients or on foreign law within their jurisdictions,” the book reads.


Lawyers who study in Nigeria can practice law in foreign jurisdictions. However, they must meet the requirements established by the host country. Hence, the claim is false.

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