Classed as a ‘heavyweight’ by The Lawyer magazine, Chima is a highly experienced barrister with a versatile civil and family practice with over 30 years of combined legal expertise in the UK and Nigeria.
Dual qualified at both the English and Nigerian Bar, Chima regularly appears in the civil and family courts in the UK and Nigeria, has extensive experience representing clients in complex cases in the English High Court and the Court of Appeal, and has appeared in the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.
Chima has a strong civil practice focused on property and commercial matters and he is also experienced in family and public/immigration law, especially where there is an international element. He does a lot of probate and inheritance cases, especially those involving the determination of the validity of marriages.
As an accredited expert on Nigerian Law, Chima has been involved in many cross-border cases between Nigeria and England and regularly prepares expert reports on Nigerian Law for use in the English Courts and gives expert evidence on Nigerian Law at English Crown Courts.
Based in Nigeria, Chima frequently travels to London for interlocutory hearings, case and costs management conferences, trials and appeals, as well as appearing in English courts remotely from Nigeria. Thanks to technology, he can work effectively from any location and liaises closely with clients and solicitors in England, holding remote conferences via video and phone, receiving instructions, and drafting court documents. He has represented clients based in many locations throughout the world and clients often comment on his accessibility, speed, and accuracy of his work.
Areas of law
- Property Law
- Commercial Law
- Family Law
- Public Law & Immigration
- Probate & Inheritance
- Nigerian Law
- Disputes over ownership of property
- Rectification of entries in the Land Register
- Renewal of commercial leases
- Forced sale
- Applications for relief from forfeiture
- Landlord and tenant issues
- Obtaining injunctions to restrain the unlawful eviction of tenants
- All rights affecting property
- Breach of contract
- Allegations of breach of fiduciary duties
- Constructive trusts
- Quantification of damages in breach of contract cases
- Freezing injunctions
- Cross-border cases where proceedings are pending in England, Nigeria and other jurisdictions
- High-value divorce cases involving England and Nigeria
- Validity of marriages and divorces
- Cross-border child arrangements
Public Law & Immigration
- Challenging the decisions of local authorities in matters like allocation of council accommodation, granting and revoking licenses to operate nursery schools and homes for the elderly
- Disputes over the entitlement to bury people
- Advising on how to make visa applications, particularly those applying from Nigeria to the UK
- Completing visa application forms
- Preparing covering letters to support applications to the British High Commission
- Applications for judicial review where applications have been refused including the Home Office and the Foreign Office
- Representation at immigration tribunals
- Head of Clerkroom’s Nigerian Law Group
- Involved in many cross-border cases between Nigeria and England
- Expert advice on cross-border matters between the UK and Nigeria, be that property, commercial or family law for businesses and individuals with interests or family ties to Nigeria
- Preparing expert reports on Nigerian Law for use in the English Courts, especially on the validity of customary and statutory marriages, financial relief in matrimonial cases, custody of children, costs and length of litigation, enforcement of foreign judgments in Nigeria, succession, property law, criminal law, constitutional law and commercial law
- Giving expert evidence on Nigerian Law at trials at English Crown Courts
- Settling pleadings for use in the Nigerian courts
Chima appears as an advocate in the High Court of Abia State of Nigeria, the High Court of Lagos State of Nigeria, the High Court of Rivers State of Nigeria, the Federal High Court in Nigeria, the Court of Appeal of Nigeria and in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
- Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
- Elected full member of The Academy of Experts as a Nigerian Barrister
- Elected member of The Expert Witness Institute
- ILEX Diploma in Criminal Litigation
- Master of Laws (LLM), University of London, LSE
- Bachelor of Law (LLB Hons), University of Nigeria
Areas of Law
Chima Umezuruike is happy to accept instructions as counsel who is:
Very experienced in the areas of:
- Family Law
- Nigerian Law Group
Experienced in the following additional areas:
- Professional Regulation
- Wills & Probate
- Inheritance Act Claims
- Public Access Accredited
- Land & Property
- Business & Commercial Law
Outside of these key areas of law, Chima Umezuruike is always willing to consider any enquiry requiring the experience or knowledge needed to help you or your client. Please call Chima direct or the support team on 01823 247 247 if you would like to discuss any aspect of this profile.
Cases and Publications
- Antoine –v- Barclays Bank  EWCA Civ 2846 (Court of Appeal) - Chima acted for the Appellant at the Court of Appeal in this complex case involving a novel point of law regarding the rectification of an entry at the Land Registry. The Appellant sought to remove from the land register, a legal charge that one Mr T. had created in favour of the Bank. Prior to creating the legal charge in favour of the Bank, Mr T. had been registered as the proprietor of the property in question and as a result of a court order which transferred ownership of the property from the Appellant’s father to him on the basis of forged documents which were presented to the High Court. Before a legal charge can be removed from the land register by the process of rectification, the registration of the legal charge must be a mistake for the purposes of schedule 4 to the Land Registration Act 2002. For it to be a mistake it must be void. The Court of Appeal held that whilst the forged documents that were presented to the High Court were void, the court order that was based on them was not void because whilst the legal concepts of voidness and voidability form part of the English law of contract, they are inapplicable to orders made by a court of unlimited jurisdiction in the course of contentious litigation. Such an order is either irregular or regular. If it is irregular, it can be set aside by the court that made it upon application to that court: if it is regular, it can only be set aside by an appellate court upon appeal if there is one to which an appeal lies. Accordingly, neither the registration of Mr T. as the proprietor of the property nor the subsequent registration of the legal charge that was created by Mr T. was a mistake for the purposes of schedule 4 to the Land Registration Act 2002
- Aribisala v St James' Homes (Grosvenor Dock) Ltd.  EWHC 456 (Ch) - Chima acted for the Claimant in Aribisala v St James' Homes (Grosvenor Dock) Ltd.  EWHC 456 (Ch) where Floyd J dealt with the principles of exercising the court's discretion under s.49(2) LPA 1925 (returning the deposit paid by a prospective buyer of property when the sale was not completed)
- Captain Saulawa -v- Captain Abeyratne & Another  EWHC 2463 (Ch) - Chima acted for the Claimant where the court dealt with the principles of giving permission to a claimant to file a fresh claim after the previous claim has been discontinued
- Attorney General of Zambia v Meer Care & Desai (A firm) and Others  EWCA Civ 390 (CA) - Chima acted for six of the defendants, including a former president of Zambia. It was a cross-border case between England and Zambia involving issues of constructive trust and fraud
- Corporate Carriages Ltd. v Smith and another Chancery Division 7 November 2005 - Chima acted for the Claimant in this case that involved the fiduciary duties of vendors of shares to the purchaser
- AIC Ltd. v Federal Government of Nigeria and Anor  EWHC 1357 (QB) - Chima acted for the Claimant in an application to enforce a judgment that was obtained against the Federal Government of Nigeria in a Nigerian court. The defendant pleaded state immunity in respect of its assets that the claimant sought to attach in London for the enforcement of the Nigerian judgment
- Mark v Mark  UKHL 42 (on appeal from  EWCA Civ 168 – Chima acted for the respondent in the House of Lords where the issue was whether a person can be either habitually resident or domiciled in England and Wales if her presence in the United Kingdom is a criminal offence under the Immigration Act 1971 for the purposes of presenting a divorce petition in England and Wales
- Moses-Taiga v Taiga  EWCA Civ 1399 – Chima acted for the appellant in the Court of Appeal in this case that dealt with the power of the appellate court to vary the terms of the grant of permission to appeal and the terms of the order for stay pending appeal
- R (on the application of Farina HAQQ) –v- HM Coroner for Inner West London and Another  EWHC 3366 (Admin) - Chima acted for one of the widows of the deceased in a dispute as to which of the two widows was entitled to the dead body of their deceased husband who had died intestate
- Abdullahi v Mudashiru  ALL ER (D) 477 (Oct) - Chima acted for the executors of the will of the deceased person in a dispute as to who was entitled to his dead body
Examples of Nigerian Law cases
- Giving expert opinion on a ruling regarding Nigerian Constitution s182 (1) (e) where the judge said, “The expert witnesses strongly held contrary views…I preferred and accepted the evidence of Mr Umezeruike, which reinforced my own view”
- Giving expert evidence on Nigerian criminal law and constitutional law in a fraud and money laundering trial involving a former Governor of a State in Nigeria (James Ibori) in Southwark Crown Court
- Expert evidence on Nigeria constitutional law on behalf of the Crown at the trial of the said James Ibori at Southwark Crown Court, where of the conflicting views of the experts, his was accepted by the Judge
- Acting as an expert witness for the defendants at Harrow Crown Court in a case of modern-day slavery, where he gave evidence on the Nigerian customary law of adoption of children
- He conducted a complicated trial for the determination of the validity of a customary marriage in the High Court of Lagos State of Nigeria
- “Reform of Legal Education and the Legal Profession in 21st Century Nigeria” (published in www.thenigeriabusiness.com/column7.html)
- “Review of the Civil Procedure Rules in the Various High Courts in Nigeria and the Court of Appeal” (published in www.thenigeriabusiness.com/column30.html and The Daily Independent, 9th and 16th September 2010)
- “The Concept of Double-decker marriages in Nigeria” (published in www.thenigeriabusiness.com/column7.html).
- “The Validity of a ceremony of a Nigerian Customary Law Marriage Celebrated outside Nigeria or in Nigeria but Outside the Bride’s Place of Domicile” (published in www.umezchambers.com)
Fees and Feedback
Details regarding our approach to fees can be found at the following link: http://www.clerksroom.com/content-html?cid=514
Please see “profile” tab for a description of the legal services provided by this barrister.
We aim to complete and return all paperwork within 14 days (2 weeks) of receipt if no specific deadline is provided. We can work to much faster timescales if requested or we can agree a specific target date for each individual circumstance. We will always advise at the outset if counsel is unable to meet any deadline.
Each barrister has a standard hourly rate for their work. The individual hourly rate can be agreed when instructions are acknowledged if preferred. We welcome early discussion as to the suitability of a specific barrister for a specific case. The right barrister will have the relevant expertise to deal with the case but will not be too junior, or too senior depending on the complexities.
We aim to allocate all cases to the correct level of experience & seniority which we believe will prove most to be the most cost-effective solution for our clients.
If, due to urgency, we allocate paperwork to a more senior member of Clerksroom, we will charge the appropriate hourly rate for the work, not for the barrister. We welcome early discussion to ensure the correct fee is applied to the case at the outset.
All our barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and hold a current practising certificate, details can be found at the following link Barristers’ Register
If you are not satisfied with the service provided, you can make a complaint to Chambers. Information on the chambers’ complaints procedure is available at the following link: http://www.clerksroom.com/content-html?cid=416
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from my chambers, you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. You must contact the Legal Ombudsman either within 6 months following the conclusion of our handling your complaint, within 6 years from the date of the act/omission, or 3 years from the date that you should reasonably have known there were grounds for complaint (if the act/omission took place before the 6 October 2010 or was more than six years ago).
The Legal Ombudsman’s details are as follows:
PO Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
1. This is a privacy notice that describes how, why and for how long I will process or keep your personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’).
2. The GDPR governs how an individual’s personal data is used, and your rights in relation to that data.
3. I, Chima Umezuruike, have been instructed by you or your litigation friend (usually a parent), through your solicitor or agent, or via the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
4. It is necessary for me to process your personal data in order for me to provide you with legal services, for example:
· Advise on the prospects of litigation;
· Advise on the value of your claim;
· Representation at a court hearing;
· Representation at trial;
· Advise, review or comment on legal issues or evidence.
5. Processing means anything done to data such as: recording, organising, adapting, altering, copying, consulting, transmitting, combining, erasing or storing it.
6. The processing for the purposes listed above will take place in accordance with either Article 6(1)(a) GDPR or Article 6(1)(b) GDPR, depending on how you instructed me.
7. If you have instructed me on a direct access basis, or engaged a solicitor (or legal agent), to assist you in bringing or defending a claim then the processing is necessary to perform a contract to which you are a party (Article 6(1)(b) GDPR). To give effect to that contract (i.e. to bring a claim) it is necessary for me to process your personal data for litigation purposes.
8. If I am assisting you on a pro bono basis, it will be necessary for me to seek your consent to be able to represent you (Article 6(1)(a) GDPR). In this scenario, you will be sent a consent form.
Recipients of your data
9. I may also be required to share your data with others, depending on the nature of your case. This may include:
(i) Courts and other tribunals to whom documents are presented;
(ii) Your solicitors, or agent representing you, through whom I have been instructed;
(iii) Potential witnesses, experts and other persons involved in the case;
(iv) Solicitors, barristers, or other legal representatives;
(v) Ombudsman and regulatory authorities;
(vi) Education and examining bodies; and
(vii) Current, past or prospective employers.
Special Categories of Data
10. In some cases I will have been given your personal data that is within the ‘special categories’ of data described in GDPR Article 9(1). For example, personal data that reveals your race, ethnicity, sexual preferences, political or religious beliefs, trade union membership or health. There are also restrictions for processing information regarding criminal convictions.
11. This type of personal data will only be processed where it is necessary in order to represent you in your legal claim, or advise on the prospects of a legal claim.
12. I will retain your personal data for no longer than is necessary, and where it is possible, I will anonymise your data.
13. How long your personal data is kept will depend on a number of factors. The retention period will be reviewed when the service I am providing you with is complete. However in general, I am obliged by the Bar Code of Conduct to retain records of my cases, and by HM Revenue and Customs to retain records for 6 years.
14. Once your case has concluded and fees have been paid, I shall retain only the personal data necessary for the following purposes:
(i) The legal and professional obligation to retain information relating to my cases;
(ii) To check for any potential conflict of interests that may arise in the future when I am instructed on other cases;
(iii) For use in the defence of potential complaints, legal proceedings or fee disputes;
(iv) To refer back to in future cases which raise similar legal, factual, or procedural issues.
15. The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14 (ii), (iii), and (iv) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(f) GDPR. That is, for the purposes of legitimate interests that are not outweighed by your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms.
16. The processing for the purposes listed in paragraph 14(i) above, will take place in accordance with Article 6(1)(c) GDPR. That is, the processing is necessary for me to comply with a legal obligation.
17. Where processing of your personal data was based on your consent (see paragraphs 6 and 8) you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. This does not affect the lawfulness of the processing based on consent before its withdrawal.
18. Withdrawal of your consent to process such data will most likely mean that I am no longer able to provide you with the legal services you seek.
19. You may request confirmation that your personal data is being processed by me and details about the personal data, the source, the processing, the purposes of the processing, the recipients and the retention period.
20. You may request a copy of your personal data that is being processed by me. You may also request rectification (i.e. correction) where there are inaccuracies in the personal data.
21. You have the right to object, on grounds relating to your particular situation, at any time, to processing of your personal data in paragraph 14 of this privacy notice. Should you object, the processing will only continue where there are compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests.
22. Where the processing or retention of your data is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, it will not be possible to object.
23. You have the right to request that your personal data is erased where any of the following apply:
(i) The personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed;
(ii) You withdraw your consent where the basis of processing was based on consent and where there is no other ground for the processing;
(iii) Where your fundamental rights, freedoms and interests override the legitimate interests of processing in paragraph 14;
(iv) The personal data has been unlawfully processed; or
(v) The personal data have to be erased to comply with a legal obligation.
24. You have the right to request that your personal data is restricted from processing, so that it is simply stored, for the following reasons: as an alternative to deletion; so that it can be corrected; for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; to verify if a legitimate ground exists (paragraph 14).
25. Where it is necessary to correct your personal data, or you have requested the restriction or erasure of your personal data, I shall endeavour to contact the recipients of the personal data, unless this involves disproportionate effort.
26. I take appropriate physical and technical procedures to safeguard your personal data to prevent it from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way. The I.T. systems used by Clerksroom are ISO27001 compliant.
Complaints or Queries
27. If you have any questions regarding this privacy notice, or how I use your personal data please email me: Chima.Umezuruike@clerksroom.com, or my clerks: mail@clerksroom telephone 01823 247 247.
28. I shall aim to respond as soon as possible, and within 30 days.
29. You have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you believe I have not handled your request in an appropriate manner. For information on contacting the ICO please go to: https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
Mike N. Epelle Intels Nigeria Limited
'I must say that the legal advice and opinions of Chima demonstrate insightful and profound knowledge of Nigerian law, well researched not only in the aspect of the substantive law, but also practice and procedure.'