The conferment is made in accordance with the provisions Section 5 subsection 1 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 2007, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, by a Committee known as the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (as Chairman). Other members of the committee include the Attorney-General, one Justice of the Supreme Court (chosen by the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, for a term of two years, renewable on one occasion only), the President of the Court of Appeal, five of the Chief Judges of the States (chosen by the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General for a term of two years, renewable on one occasion only), the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, and five legal practitioners who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (chosen by the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General for a term of two years, renewable on one occasion only).
The body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria recognizes that it serves public interest and the interest of the legal profession to offer a fair and transparent means of identifying competency and excellence in advocacy in the Nigerian superior court of record. The body therefore provides for the identification of the very best advocates rigorously and objectively and in order to promote fairness, excellence and inclusiveness.
It is awarded as a mark of excellence to members of the legal profession who are in full time legal practice, have distinguished themselves as advocates or have made significant contribution to the development of the legal profession in Nigeria.
The award of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria shall be based on the certain principles. A candidate must also meet all the eligibility criteria and then be evaluated for the competency criteria.
The administrative office of the Body of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria is located at No. 109, Igbosere Road, Lagos Island – Lagos. The secretary of the Body is Mr. Seyi Sowemimo, SAN
The conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria dates back to 1975 when the Nigerian legal profession instituted the rank. The first recipients were Chief F.R.A. Williams and Dr Nabo Graham-Douglas and that was on the 3rd of April, 1975. Chief (Mrs.) Folake Solanke would go down in history as the first female recipient of the rank of SAN 6 years after in 1981.
Since 1975, a varying number of advocates in Nigeria have consecutively been conferred with the rank, with the exception of years- 1976, 1977 and 1994. The conferment is however restricted to fewer than 30 advocates per annum and is made by the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the recommendations of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee. Legal
As of September 9, 2015, a total of 429 advocates had become Senior Advocates of Nigeria.