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Judith A. Guserwa: Kenya’s Pre-Eminent Employment & Labour Relations Lawyer

According to the Chambers Global Guide 2021 Edition “Judith Guserwa maintains a notable reputation in the country for her handling of disputes on behalf of employees and trade unions. She is recognised for her work on high-profile cases and is regarded as one of the market’s pre-eminent labour practitioners.”

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Senior Advocate Judith Abrahams Guserwa, ranked one of the Top 14 Employment Lawyers in Kenya in 2021

When it comes to employment and industrial relations matters in Kenya, especially those touching on unions, Senior Advocate Judith Abrahams Guserwa is the go-to lawyer. Boasting 37 years’ experience in legal practice, the principal of J.A. Guserwa & Company Advocates has over the years cut a niche in legal practice as the trade unions’ lawyer of choice against employers, the union ranks, Government or even other unions.

Lawyer Judith A. Guserwa is consistently ranked by the Chambers Global Guide Global as one of the top Employment and Labour Relations Lawyers in Kenya. According to the Chambers Global Guide 2021 Edition “Judith Guserwa maintains a notable reputation in the country for her handling of disputes on behalf of employees and trade unions. She is recognised for her work on high-profile cases and is regarded as one of the market’s pre-eminent labour practitioners.”

For instance, when Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Nominated MP Hon Wilson Sossion faced an eminent coup within his Union’s ranks, he turned to Lawyer Judith Guserwa to secure his return to office. On top of getting a Court Order reinstating Hon Sossion, Guserwa was quick to thwart an attempt by the KNUT’s NEC to block the return of her client despite the court order by convincing the court to order the Police to enforce order.

Lawyer Judith A. Guserwa was at hand to represent KUPPET against TSC alongside Paul Muite, SC acting for KNUT from Employment & Labour Court to the Supreme Court to make the case for enforcement of CBA for enhanced salaries for teachers. They managed to convinced the apex court to order TSC pays teachers enhanced salaries pending its appeal. TSC was left with no option but to comply with the court order or be held in contempt of court.

When COTU representatives were left out by the Labour and Social Security CS in the appointment of NSSF Directors, Guserwa took the case to court seeking orders to block the new board of trustees for lack of representation of the workers. The court barred the Labour CS from convening the NSSF Board pending the appointment of a nominee from the worker’s union. Eventually, Labour CS reinstated COTU Secretary General as NSSF Board Member.

The supremacy battles between Federation of Public Service Trade Unions (PUSETU) and Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) as to who is the legitimate representative of workers in Kenya were settled by Lawyer Judith Guserwa going to court and obtaining an order stopping PUSETU from interfering with the National Labour Day festivities organized COTU. This effectively confirmed COTU as the National Umbrella Workers Union in Kenya.

In order to protect the rights and welfare of their members when Standard Group announced massive restructuring, the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) issued a statement to the effect that it had engaged “Ms Judith Guserwa, a leading lawyer in Nairobi, to study the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), labour laws and Standard Group communication” and give them a legal opinion to determine their next course of action.

Leading High Profile Employment and Commercial Cases

Besides union cases, Lawyer Judy Guserwa has also acted in numerous other high profile employment cases on behalf of senior executives and corporates. She was the lawyer for the National Irrigation Authority CEO Gitonga Mugambi in the case filed by Activist Okiyah Omtatah in Employment and Labour Court challenging his re-appointment. The matter is still pending before the Employment Court.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa also acted for the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation CEO Jadiah Mwarania in his case where he obtained orders stopping the Kenya Re’s Board from replacing him pending the determination of his case. He succeeded in staying the wrongful termination and is still serving as the Managing Director of Kenya Re.

In November 2020, Lawyer Judith Guserwa successfully obtained a judgement of over Ksh. 370 Million in favour of former of KPLC Managers who had been unlawfully retired. Previously, she had successfully prosecuted a commercial claim of foreign traders who were adversely affected by Post-Election Violence (PEV) obtaining landmark judgement award in their favour of over Ksh. 12 Billion in June 2018.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa was also on Record alongside Kioko Kilukumi for Former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza in her famous case challenging the decision of the Tribunal formed to investigate her conduct recommending her removal. Later, the shoe was on the other foot when President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed her the Vice Chairperson of the Tribunal to investigate the conduct of the Supreme Court Judge Justice (Retired) Philip Tunoi.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa has also proven herself as defendable defense lawyer in high profile economic crimes.  She led a team of seven (7) in NYS 1 Scandal Case in 2018 into getting Former PS Eng. Peter Mangiti and 30 others acquitted of corruption charges. Now she is defending them in NYS 2 Cases. Recently, she struck a blow for justice by getting a law student admitted to Kenya School of law through court order after being denied admission on discriminatory grounds.

Labour, Commercial, Procurement and Competition Lawyer

Lawyer Judith Guserwa’s firm specializes in Labour Law and Commercial Law. As indicated in the LSK website, Industrial Relations, Unions and Employment Law comprises 50% of her practice while Family Law & Succession Matters take up 20%, Commercial Law takes 15%, Alternative Dispute Resolution 15% and Legislative Drafting 5%. Lawyer Judith Guserwa is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) and is actively acting in numerous arbitrations.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa is also a procurement law expert and served as a member in the inaugural Public Procurement Review Board. She was also a pioneer Board member and Vice Chairperson and Acting Chairperson of the Competition Authority of Kenya. In that capacity, she played a pivotal role in laying the framework for Competition law enforcement in Kenya as it exists today.

Judith Guserwa holds LL.B and LL.M degrees from the University of Nairobi and an MBA in Strategic Management. Due to her wide-ranging experience in Employment and Industrial Relations Law in Kenya, she is an International Labour Organization (ILO) consultant in labour and human capital. She has previously served as Law Society of Kenya Council Member and as a Member of the State Corporations Appeals Tribunal.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa has been called upon by LSK and the Employment and Labour Relations Court to train young advocates on what it takes to practice at the Court. Most recent, she was called upon by Nairobi LSK Branch to speak on the “Place of Judicial Review and Constitutional Petitions in Employment and Labour Matters” as well as “Jurisprudence on the Remedy of Reinstatement” alongside Lady Justice Maureen Onyango, the Presiding Judge of the Court.

Lawyers

Eric Kivuva: Reset and Calibrate for a Nairobi LSK Branch that Delights Members

“My vision is for a Nairobi Branch that delights members because things work as they should to improve practice, welfare, and mentorship,” Eric Kivuva.

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Eric Kivuva, Senior Partner at McKay Advocates and Nairobi LSK Branch Chair Candidate

By Eric Kivuva, Nairobi LSK Branch Chair Candidate 2024-2026

Nairobi Branch has had stability over the last few years but we seem to have stagnated on protecting and advocating for improvements in the practice environment and have become superficial about the real welfare issues of members. The time is nigh for us to reset our leadership and the branch. It is time to replace stagnation in practice with progress; Public relations in member care with results-oriented action; silence with empathy, disconnection with engagement. It is time for a reset and calibration of the branch for positive, progressive impact on our practice and welfare.

My Promise: To make Nairobi branch a truly world class branch when it comes to championing a better practice environment and more opportunities for members.

My Agenda: Our practice environment is not conducive for many advocates because of the bottlenecks that exist. We must prioritize practice matters if each one of us is to have a thriving practice so that you can not only meet your needs but also have a little more to create positive impact in the society.

My Reset and Calibrate Agenda

Agenda 1: Protect and Progress Practice Areas

  • Diligently follow through with implementation of CUCs and Bar-Bench Committee recommended actions.
  • Be proactive in monitoring changes in the legal sector and take measures to ensure advocates are not negatively affected by those changes.
  • Eliminate bottlenecks in practice areas specifically by championing efficiency at all registries i.e. Land Registries, Court Registries, Company Registries and KIPI.
  • Support the fight against corruption in the judiciary and the elimination of facilitation fees.

Agenda 2: Adoption of Emerging Practice Areas

  • Establish the emerging practice areas committee
  • Encourage greater collaboration with inhouse counsel to widen the practice space
  • Develop a simple guide to practice management

Agenda 3: Mentorship and Unity of the bar

  • Institute a practice mentorship program within the branch to equip members with skills and tools to help them build thriving practices.
  • Expand branch social activities and increase the frequency of the events to involve as many members as possible.

My Track Record

I have made significant contributions to the Nairobi branch without holding an elected position.

  1. I have been a staunch supporter of the Nairobi Branch, contributing through member donations and sponsoring numerous branch events.
  2. ⁠I played a pivotal role in establishing one of our most beloved traditions, the Nairobi Branch Quiz Night, alongside our esteemed first chair, Charles Kanjama, to foster camaraderie among members.
  3. ⁠I offered leadership during the organization of the first-ever LSK elections debate, where I not only facilitated as the MC but also ensured the event’s seamless execution.
  4. ⁠I contributed to the conceptualization of the Nairobi Legal Awards in 2021 organized by the Nairobi Branch and the inaugural Nrb Branch Christmas carols event.
  5. ⁠I consistently support the Nairobi branch financially and has served as a speaker at multiple branch events, most recently at a cocktail organized by the branch in August 2023.
  6. ⁠In recognition of my unwavering dedication, I was honored with the Committed Service Award in 2022, bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment to branch activities.

There is no question that Nairobi LSK Branch holds a special place in my heart and that makes me the ideal candidate to lead the LSK Nairobi branch to new heights in the next two years.

My Vision for Nairobi Branch

My vision is for a Nairobi Branch that delights members because things work as they should to improve practice, welfare, and mentorship.

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Irene Kiwool: My Track Record and Call to PACT for Better Nairobi LSK

Irene Kiwool is calling for a PACT towards a Progressive and an All-Inclusive LSK Nairobi Branch Bar.

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Irene Kiwool is running for LSK Nairobi Council Member 2024-2026 on PACK Agenda.

DownloadIrene Kiwool’s Manifesto for Nairobi LSK Council Member 2024-2026(PDF)

WHO IS IRENE KIWOOL?

I am an advocate with 14 years post admission experience and a partner at Muchemi & Co. Advocates. For the past 6 years, my unwavering dedication and commitment to the bar has been evident through active participation on several Nairobi Branch Committees. This engagement has not only sharpened my legal acumen but has also allowed me to make meaningful contributions and impact to our legal community. I believe it is this commitment and dedication to our legal practice that led to my nomination as the Commercial and Conveyancing Practitioner of the Year in 2022 and listed among the Top 100 Real Estate and Finance Lawyers in Kenya in 2023.

WHAT IS MY TRACK RECORD?

Dedicated Leadership and Service

I have served diligently on the following committees:

  • Lands Liaison Committee
  • Commercial Practice Committee
  • ICT and IP (KIPI) Liaison Committee
  • Judicial Review Bar -Bench Committee
  • Devolution and Law Reform Committee
  • Ardhisasa Technical committee

Legal Practice Protection and Reform

I have played a pivotal role in safeguarding the legal practice and spearheading key reforms that support our profession and protecting our bread and butter.  Notable contributions include:

  • The gazettement of the Regulations on Electronic Conveyancing (The Land Registration (Electronic Transactions) Regulations, 2020),
  • The gazettement of The Regulations on Extension and Renewal of Leases (Land Extension and Renewal of Leases) Rules, 20l7.)
  • Development of a comprehensive Conversion Manual, which guides practitioners on the process to convert Land Titles and Deeds issued under the repealed land laws.
  • The manual is available on the Ministry of Lands Website.

Proactive Advocacy for Efficient Systems

I have been at the forefront lobbying and driving for improvements on the Ardhisasa System, to enhance its user-friendliness, responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness. Through my proactive engagements, we have achieved significant upgrades, unlocked key registrations at the Nairobi Registration Unit and facilitated the development and dissemination of training materials on the use of the Ardhisasa system.

NOTABLE UPGRADES:

  • Filing of Consolidated applications
  • Introduction of a Progress Status bar to track registration status
  • Reduced timelines for the registration of Foreign Accounts
  • Enhanced system functionalities including editing applications
  • Comprehensive upload capabilities for chargee’s covenants, previously limited to 500 words activation of several registration forms conducting
  • Searches without proprietor’s consent through an Advocate account for unconverted or unenumerated properties cleared by Ministry of Lands

UNLOCKED REGISTRATIONS 

  • Long -term leases through the Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Lands and LSK
  • Where modules are inactive registration is manual by seeking exemption from the Registrar
  • Manual registration for inactive modules by requesting for an exemption to register through the Chief Land Registrar
  • Transfers by Chargee
  • Deed of Variations of Charges
  • Replacement of lost Titles and reconstruction of the register.

WHY THE PACT AGENDA?

I am committed to honoring the PACT (Protect, Account, Champion and Track), by continuing to serve members, this time as a council member. With your vote, together, we can bring inclusivity, integrity, innovation and impactful change to our resident bar.

PROTECT  

  • Protect members bread and butter by prioritizing practice issues and defend against challenges from whatever source. Develop a proactive stance to anticipate and mitigate risks before they impact our members.
  • Lobby for the establishment of a Practice Forward Committee aimed at monitoring emerging challenges in the legal practice, focusing on the welfare of Advocates, the emerging areas of legal practice and recommending implementable solutions. This initiative would ensure that Advocates are well supported and equipped to navigate the evolving complexities of the legal field.
  • Lobby for creation of an online Nairobi Branch Members Directory that is publicly accessible, allowing Members of the public to easily locate and engage legal counsel thereby increasing visibility and accessibility for our members.
  • Lobby and develop a tracking mechanism to weed out masqueraders and unqualified persons through a justice multi- stakeholder approach

ACCOUNT

  • Advocate for Accountability and Transparency of Branch operations and financial affairs.
  • Lobby for the adoption and implementation of a stakeholder and institutional accountability tool to monitor and enhance service delivery across key partner institutions (the courts; the Land Registration Units, BRS, Ecitizen, KRA, Registrar of persons, Tribunals among other’s). This tool will aim to ensure transparency, responsiveness and efficiency, proactively addressing challenges and optimizing resource utilization Advocate for prudent utilization of Branch funds to maximize the benefits to our members.

CHAMPION

  • Champion and spearhead legal reforms that reflect current needs and future challenges with the aim to strengthen and grow members’ practice.
  • Champion for strategic networking engagements, collaboration and knowledge exchange.
  • Establish dynamic forums and platforms for members to leverage expertise and access valuable resources thus contributing to members individual growth, overall development and innovation within the legal practice.
  • Champion and spearhead the drafting and publication of a comprehensive manual that provides guidance on electronic conveyancing aiming to streamline and enhance conveyancing practice.

TRACK

  • Establish a tracking system to regularly assess the welfare support mechanisms in place, ensuring they effectively contribute to the progression and growth of members.
  • Track the effectiveness of the mentorship program and develop strategic policies to expand the pool of mentors and enhance the quality of mentorship.
  • Lobby for the establishment and implementation of a performance metric’s system to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of branch committees. This metrics will be reviewed periodically to foster continuous improvement.

CURRENT ROLES THAT ALIGN WITH THE PACT AGENDA

  1. Member of the Co -ordinating Committee that is tasked with the mandate to co-ordinate the review of the National Land Policy.
  2. Member of the Nairobi Lands Justice Working Group whose mandate is to identify the root causes and address systemic and endemic challenges in the administration of land justice in Nairobi County.
  3. Member at the Lands and Housing Sector Board Committee at KEPSA and public Policy and Advocacy Committee at KPDA.
  4. Member of the Kenya School of Law Mentorship programme.

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Njoki Mboce: I am Members Project for LSK President

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By Njoki Mboce for LSK President 2024-2026 Team

Today, LSK faces an existential threat from those who seek to compromise its mandate by aligning with the regime in ongoing attempts to undermine the place of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and erode the Rule of Law. This has the potential to regress the country to a state of impunity and dictatorship reminiscent of the past.

In such turbulent times, the LSK requires a leader who is resolute, decisive, and impartial. Harriet Njoki Mboce is this suitable leader, with a firm reputation, who will speak Truth to power in the face of encroaching dictatorship.

The actions of a candidate are a mirror of who they are, and what they will be in office. If a candidate wants the office at all costs, and abuses members’ trust to get there, they will have no integrity while in office. Harriet Njoki Mboce is unequivocally the LSK Members’ project. Boldly and firmly acting to defend Independence of the BAR, institutions, and the Rule of Law, she has maintained this commitment throughout her campaigns for President of LSK. This offers a strong basis to fearlessly champion members’ interests and protect the BAR from capture by the State and unscrupulous cartels.

Growing up, I dreamt of being a Navy Officer. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would one day be seeking the Presidency of an organisation previously led by impeccable names such as SC Gibson Kamau Kuria, SC Pheroze Nowrojee, SC Paul Muite, SC Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga (CJ Emeritus) and SC Raychelle Omamo, among others. It has taken resilience and a high dose of firm, and bold commitment to get here.

LSK requires a leader to withstand the pressure within and without, and to take the heat on behalf of the membership, whenever the Country and the Society’s living tenets come under threat. This resilience as a quality in the President of LSK enables me in a big way to see the wider horizon of the environment we operate in, to prepare for the storms and to boldly and firmly focus and act on our bigger mandate.

Come elections day, 29th February, 2024, I invite members to ask themselves: Which candidate shows real signs that they will not be corrupted, will run an accountable organisation and will sustain the moral and probity to place the LSK on a path of Independence? I humbly seek your vote to bring this desire home. Please vote for the Member’s project, Harriet Njoki Mboce, HSC for President of The Law Society of Kenya (2024-2026)

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