In May 2001, the British Council hosted the ‘First African Law Week’ Conference in Abuja. The aim of the conference was to discuss changes facing the legal profession at the beginning of the 21st Century, such as globalisation, the rule of law, access to justice, human rights, policing, prisons, capital punishment, environmental law and a host of other matters, which are still pertinent today.
The participants at the conference were made up of leading lawyers from the UK and Nigeria, including, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (Chair of the British Council at that time), Roy Amlot QC (Chair of the Bar Council at the time), Michael Birnbaum QC, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN (the current Vice President of Nigeria), Maryam Uwais, Oba Nsugbe QC, SAN, Tim Daniel, Tunde Ogowewo and Michael Franks (one of the Law Society Council Members at the time).
One of the resolutions from the 5-day seminar was the need to establish a bilateral organisation that would serve as a vehicle where lawyers from both jurisdictions could continue to communicate with each other for their mutual benefit and the promotion of legal ideals. That organisation became known as the British Nigeria Law Forum (BNLF).
From 2002 to 2005 the Law Society and Bar Council jointly supported BNLF and since 2005 BNLF has been an independent professional body run by its members, funded by subscriptions and corporate sponsorship. BNLF is governed by a constitution and is run by an executive committee of members.
Chairs of BNLF
- Seye Aina (2017- Present)
- Stephen Akinsanya (2015 - 2017)
- Babatunde Akinyanju (2009 - 2015)
- Professor Oba Nsugbe QC, SAN a founding member (2005-09)