It is unethical for a lawyer to depose to an affidavit on behalf of his client in a case.

Bala v. Dikko [2013] 4 NWLR (Pt. 1343) 52 at 60 para G-H, per Mohammed, JSC:

“…It [is] unethical and quite contrary to the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession for… counsel to have filed the motion and also at the same time pose as a vital witness in the affidavit in support of the case of his client…”


The proper thing to do is to use the litigant (or duly authorised representative) as deponent or other staff in counsel’s office such as a litigation officer seized with the facts of the case.
Having said that, an affidavit deposed to by Counsel on behalf of his client cannot ipso facto be declared invalid. By being a deponent, Counsel only makes himself prone to enter the witness box and act as witness to his client in the event where the Court seeks oral evidence in support of the affidavit. This is precisely where the impropriety of such practice is exposed.

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.

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