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Isaac E.N. Okero: The 47th LSK President Making Waves in Litigation in Kenya

Isaac is the Lead and Managing Partner of Behan & Okero Advocates since 2001. Prior to that, he was a partner at the firm for 9 years from 1992 to 2000. At the premier firm based in Kisumu and Nairobi City, Isaac is responsible for providing leadership and overall management to the firm’s legal team.



The 47th President of Law Society of Kenya Isaac E.N. Okero, Advocate

Isaac E.N. Okero is the litigation guru who brought a rare and regal respectability to the Presidency of LSK by serving as the 47th President of the Premier association of Kenya’s bar with exception and dignity. He famously led the LSK Council in voting to be enjoined in the 2017 Presidential Election Petition which saw the Supreme Court of Kenya nullify a presidential election for the first time in Africa. But before he was LSK President, Isaac had built a name for himself in Western Region and across Kenya as a litigation and dispute resolution lawyer of note with well-earned experience practicing at all levels of the Kenyan court and tribunals, in regional courts and at international forums.

Isaac is the Lead and Managing Partner of Behan & Okero Advocates since 2001. Prior to that, he was a partner at the firm for 9 years from 1992 to 2000. At the premier firm based in Kisumu and Nairobi City, Isaac is responsible for providing leadership and overall management to the firm’s legal team. In addition, he is actively involved in providing legal services to a wide range of corporate, public and private clients in commercial and corporate law, employment contracts and disputes, business acquisitions and litigation; property and contractual transactions and disputes as well as constitutional references for the protection of human rights and freedoms.

Isaac has acted for clients in diverse industrial and business sectors including telecommunication, media and technology (TMT) such as software development and communications, agriculture, banking and finance, insurance, transport, environmental law and industrial relations. Isaac has also represented both corporate and individual clients in industrial disputes and class actions acting for both employers and workers as well as trade unions in matters requiring high level consultations and negotiations with the Government and other stakeholders.

 Leading a Multijurisdictional and International Case

Currently, Isaac is leading a multijurisdictional labour case involving multiple claims against James Finlay Kenya Ltd on behalf of Kenyan tea farm workers. He has sued the world’s biggest tea producer James Finlay Kenya Ltd acting on behalf of its several farm workers based in Kenya seeking damages in a personal injury court in Scotland. The tea pickers claim they have suffered severe health problems because of working conditions on farms run by James Finlay Kenya Ltd and are suing for damages of at least £15,000 each in the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh.

Speaking to BBC, Isaac summed up his clients’ case thus: “The tea workers are saying that on account of the years of service that they have provided to James Finlay Kenya Ltd, and the circumstances and conditions under which they were compelled to work, they have suffered severe degenerative injuries which have severely impacted on their lives. These injuries are both physical and mental.”

According to Isaac, he took up the case because he believes it will have wider significance and potential impact on scale. “It will hopefully compel the company to radically change the conditions under which the workers are working, so these proceedings should result in substantial improvements in the terms and conditions of the employees still picking tea and hopefully bring to an end the prospect of more Kenyan workers suffering severe and long-term injuries in the way that these seven workers have,” said the Former LSK President.

Isaac is coordinating a large International Legal Team which includes the Edinburgh-based International law firm Balfour and Manson led by its personal injury specialist expert lawyer David Short in representing the tea pickers. Isaac, his firm’s legal team in Kenya and the Edinburgh team have already secured a major win against the multinational after the Scottish Court ordered Finlays to give the tea pickers’ legal team access to the farms in Kenya and allow them to inspect their working conditions. Behan & Okero team in Kenya has applied in Kenyan Courts to enforce the order in the country.

Public Interest Cases for Access to Justice

This is just one of the many public interest cases Isaac has taken up in defense of the rights of the downtrodden in the society against big names in the recent days. Isaac and the Behan & Okero Team maintains a robust pro bono scheme through which it serves individuals otherwise unable to access legal services. It also offers this service through partnerships with organizations engaged in community development and the protection of environment.

Last year, Isaac Okero and four (4) other lawyers sued the Government of Uganda at the East Africa Court of Justice (EACJ) for failing to control floods around the shores of Lake Victoria, resulting in displacement of people and damage to their property. He accused Uganda of violating their fundamental human rights by breaching the EAC Treaty and the Nile Basin Comprehensive Framework Agreement on how much water Kampala is supposed to release into Lake Victoria.

Isaac is also the lawyer acting for John Michael Obure, the Kisumu resident who recently challenged the Draft Kisumu County Valuation Roll 2017 gazetted by Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s County Government arguing that it imposes exorbitant property rates of up to 7, 275 percent for free hold land and 5,343 percent on leasehold land. The tenant of a rented property in Manyatta Kisumu is seeking the Environment and Lands Court in Kisumu to suspend the valuation roll.

Isaac studied law at the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom and was admitted to the bar in December 1989. He served as the inaugural chair of the Kisumu branch of the West Kenya Law Society (1998 to 2000), helping transform the standards of professionalism in practice and ethics in Kisumu. He has also served on the Board and Committees of Nyanza Club, Kisumu International School, Equator Motor Club, Braeburn Kisumu International School, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS). He is a member of the Law Society of Kenya, the East Africa Law Society, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the International Bar Association.


Dr. Kariuki Muigua and Environmental Dispute Resolution Mandate of PCA




One of Dr. Kariuki Muigua's Recent Environmental Law Books: Nurturing Our Environment for a Green Tomorrow (2023)

Dr. Kariuki Muigua stands out as one of the most distinguished environmental law scholars in Africa and one of the foremost experts in Environmental law, environmental justice, sustainable development and natural resources conflict management in the World today. As a specialist scholar in environmental law and natural resources conflicts management and disputes resolution, Dr. Kariuki Muigua is highly esteemed by many in environmental law and conflict management circles as a scholar, academic, author, dispute resolution expert, mentor and consultant. He is one of the few holders of specialist PhD in Environmental Dispute Resolution which will come handy as he set to play a great role in arbitration of natural resources and environmental disputes under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration as a member of the premier global dispute resolution body nominated by the Republic of Kenya.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration has developed Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment that provide for the establishment of a specialized list of arbitrators who are considered to have expertise in the area of Environmental and Natural Resources Dispute Resolution, the specialist area of expertise of Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD having handled numerous international Environmental, Oil and gas/Extractives Disputes Arbitrations and Mediations around the World as a Member of ICC, CIArb and LCIA Panels. The Rules also provide for the establishment of a list of scientific and technical experts who may be appointed as expert witnesses pursuant to these Rules. The Members of the Court need not be listed in the Natural Resources and/or the Environment Disputes Resolution List as Parties to such disputes have discretion to also choose from arbitrators listed as Members of the PCA. In any case, parties to a dispute may, but are not obliged to, choose arbitrators, conciliators and expert witnesses from these Panels.

In the last decade, Dr. Muigua has earned the esteem and pride of place among leading scholars and experts for his efforts in research and scholarship in the areas of Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Environmental Law Governance, Human Rights and Constitutionalism, Environmental Justice and Conflict Resolution. He has written extensively and is at the forefront in exploring the nexus between environmental law and human rights, Land and natural resource rights, economic law and policy of governments with regard to environmental law and economics. His research in environmental law and conflict management including dozens of refereed journal articles have received hundreds of scholarly citations in the last five (5) years. He has supervised and examined several PhDs on environmental and natural resources law and conflict management as well as more than a dozen Masters of Law and Arts students specializing in environmental law and policy, dispute resolution and conflict management.

As an author in Environmental Law, Dr. Muigua has authored numerous books and leading textbooks in the area of environmental and natural resources law, justice and dispute resolution. In 2023, Dr. Kariuki Muigua has authored two published books on Sustainable Development and Environmental Management, namely, Realizing True Sustainable Development and Nurturing Our Environment for a Green Tomorrow. In addition, Dr. Muigua has contributed over dozen published book chapters in environmental law and dispute resolution in environmental governance.  He has also published dozen of articles in peer-reviewed local, regional and international journals on environmental law, environmental justice, natural resources management, sustainable development and environmental conflicts/disputes resolution. Dr. Muigua is the Founding and Managing Editor of the Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development now in its eight volume after seven (8) years of publication.

Dr. Kariuki Muigua is also an Environmental Consultant, an Accomplished mediator and a Chartered arbitrator who has resolved numerous disputes touching on natural resources and extractives industry. He works with professionals in the environmental field especially in the areas of Environmental Resources and their management through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Mediation and Public Participation. He served as a Member of the National Environment Tribunal, the lead statutory adjudication body for environmental disputes in Kenya, from 2017 as Nominee of the Law Society of Kenya. Dr. Muigua has also collaborated extensively with various environmental advocacy groups in Kenya and regionally in the setting up of effective policy, legislative and institutional frameworks for the resolution of environmental conflicts. He is an ardent commentator and contributor to debates on sustainable development goals and has worked closely with many stakeholders in the areas of environmental access to Justice.

Dr. Muigua completed his PhD in Law Thesis a decade ago at the University of Nairobi researching on “Resolving Environmental Conflicts in Kenya through Mediation” focusing on the areas of Public Participation, Mediation and Environmental Democracy. His Masters Dissertation was titled “The Resolution of Natural Resource Conflicts in Kenya through Arbitration and Mediation.” He has received widespread training and experience in both international environmental law and alternative dispute resolution and conflict management over the years. Dr. Muigua teaches environmental law at the University of Nairobi Faculty School of Law, Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) and the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies in the University of Nairobi. He has also facilitated seminars on Environmental Conflicts and ADR, Environment and Conflict Prevention and Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Audit among others. He has written several consultancy reports on environment and natural resources management whose recommendations are in application in Kenya and beyond.

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Kenya Nominates Dr. Kariuki Muigua Member of World’s Premier Arbitral Court




Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Member Representing Republic of Kenya Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, C.Arb

Africa’s Leading Arbitrator and Kenya’s Top Dispute Resolution Guru Dr. Kariuki Muigua was recently nominated by the Government of the Republic of Kenya as one of its four representative members to the prestigious Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) based at The Hague. This latest accolade has been hailed by peers and legal industry analysts as yet another confirmation that Dr. Muigua has entered and entrenched himself in the exclusive league of international ADR practitioners. Dr. Muigua was not only Africa’s Trustee (2019 to 2022) to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB) but was also the first person to win the two highest Arbitration Awards in Africa in the same year. To be sure, in March 2022, Dr. Kariuki Muigua won the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 and followed it with the African Arbitration Association (AfAA) ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022 in November 2022.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is the world’s premier Arbitration Institution which enjoys the status of an Intergovernmental Organization. The PCA provides administrative support in international arbitrations involving various combinations of states, state entities, international organizations and private parties. However, its functions are not limited to arbitration and include providing support in other forms of peaceful resolution of international disputes, including mediation, conciliation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In turn, the members of the Court are potential arbitrators appointed by Contracting Parties. The other Kenyan members of PCA are Prof. Githu Muigai SC (Senior Counsel and Former Attorney General of Kenya now serving his Second Term at PCA), Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma and Dr. Wilfred Mutubwa. Past Kenyan Members of PCA include Former Attorney General of Kenya and Busia Senator Hon Amos Wako SC, Former Chief Justice of Kenya Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga and First African Woman Member of International Law Commission since inception in 1947 Prof. Phoebe Okowa.

In view of this, there is no doubt the nomination of Dr. Kariuki by the Republic of Kenya as a Contracting Party state is proof that he meets the criteria for nominees which includes “known competency in questions of international law, of the highest moral reputation and disposed to accept the duties of arbitrators” as “Members of the Court.” Membership of PCA is so highly that in addition to forming a panel of potential arbitrators, the Members of the Court from each Contracting Party constitute a “national group,” which is entitled to nominate candidates for the election to the International Court of Justice in accordance with article 4(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. In addition, the Members of the Court (along with the judges of the ICJ) are among a handful of groups entitled to nominate candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The PCA itself offers a detailed profile of Dr. Kariuki Muigua as a justification of why he is one of the only four Kenyans who have been entrusted with this high office for a renewable term of six years. According to the PCA Website, “Dr. KARIUKI MUIGUA, PhD, C.Arb. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a distinguished law scholar, Environmental Consultant, an accomplished mediator and a Chartered Arbitrator. He is a holder of a Ph. D in law from the University of Nairobi and with widespread training and experience in both international and national commercial arbitration and mediation. He served as the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Regional Trustee for Africa from 2019 to 2022.” The Permanent Court of Arbitration adds that Dr. Kariuki Muigua “is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya of over 33 years standing and practicing at Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. He has on various occasions been appointed by leading arbitral institutions including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb-Kenya), the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) among other institutions, as both as a sole arbitrator and a member of arbitral tribunals in arbitrations involving commercial disputes.

The Court goes on to list the prestigious awards Dr. Kariuki Muigua has garnered over the years. It notes that: “He became the first winner of the Inaugural CIArb (Kenya Branch) ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021. He was also the winner of the ADR Practitioner of the Year Award 2021 given by the Nairobi LSK and the ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 awarded by CIArb Kenya. He was the winner of the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 award at the 3rd African Arbitration Awards held at Kigali Rwanda beating other competitors from Egypt, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya. The African Arbitrator of the Year award is the highest and most prestigious ADR and Arbitration Award in Africa.” As already noted, Dr. Kariuki Muigua was also the winner of the African Arbitration Association (AfAA) ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022 in November 2022.

The Hague court also acknowledges that its Member Dr. Kariuki Muigua is prolific and published author and that “his book, Settling Disputes through Arbitration in Kenya, 4th Edition; Glenwood publishers 2022, was awarded the Publication of the Year Award 2022…. He is the author of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice in Kenya, (Glenwood Publishers, Nairobi, 2015) and Resolving Conflicts through Mediation in Kenya, (Glenwood Publishers, Nairobi, 2013) among other books.” Indeed, more than any other African Intellectual and Practitioner, Dr. Kariuki Muigua stands out as the leading author, editor and publisher in Environmental Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution with more than a dozen books and over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters to his name in those areas. For his status as a leading expert and practitioner in Environmental Law in Kenya he was nominated by his peers and colleagues in Law Society of Kenya to represent them as a member of the National Environment Tribunal (NET) of Kenya, recently awarded the best performing Tribunal in Kenya for handling the most cases.

In 2023, Chambers and Partners Global Guide, for the third year in a row, ranked Dr. Kariuki Muigua Ph.D in Band 1 of Dispute Resolution (Arbitrators), among the Top 6 Arbitrators in Kenya for his “astute understanding of arbitration,” being “respected for his handling of litigation,” and having “a practice that touches upon commercial, constitutional and environmental law.” In 2022, Chambers and Partners Partners had also ranked Dr. Muigua in Band 1 noting that “He has been involved in several ground-breaking arbitrations,” “has an astute understanding of arbitration” and “is respected for litigation.”

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Legal 500 Recognizes Dominic Indokhomi as Leading Individual in Banking and Finance




Dominic Indokhomi, Bowmans Partner and the Leading Fintech Lawyer in Kenya

The Legal 500 EMEA 2023 Edition has recognized Bowmans Partner Dominic Indokhomi as one of the Top Ten (10) Leading Individuals in Kenya in Banking, Finance and Capital Markets. According to the world’s leading legal directory, Dominic is “noted for his vast experience in banking and finance and fintech work.” Bowmans is listed in Tier 1 in Banking, Finance and Capital Markets with its Practice Head Cornelius Kigera and Managing Partner Paras Shah also making it to the coveted Leading Individuals in Banking, Finance and Capital Markets list alongside Dominic.

Dominic is a Partner in Bowmans Nairobi office and a member of the firm’s General Finance and Real Estate practice. He has vast experience in banking and finance (including documentation of financial transactions, securities and debt restructuring), financial services and regulatory services (including insurance, capital markets, and retirement benefits), fintech (including payment services, digital lending, digital banking, insurtech and block chain), data protection regulations, and real estate transactions.

He has advised the Government of Kenya, the East African Community and several local and international banks and financial institutions, lenders, corporates, individual clients and other entities seeking to provide or raise or structure various forms of finance. He also regularly advises banks and financial institutions, insurance companies and intermediaries, capital markets intermediaries, payment service providers on set up and regulatory advice.

Dominic is acknowledged as one of the leading and knowledgeable lawyers on Fintech Law in Kenya and East Africa. He advised Commercial Bank of Africa (now NCBA) in relation to regulatory approval of the Fuliza product, the innovative mass lending product that allows all mobile money (M-Pesa) customers to overdraw on their e-wallets (M-Pesa wallet) to pay for goods or services in the event of insufficient funds.

Some of the clients that Dominic has advised include international and multilateral financial institutions (such as IFC, AfDB, DFC, TDB, Standard Chartered and Citibank), local banks and financial institutions (such as Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited, Equity Bank Kenya Limited, KCB Bank Kenya Limited, Absa Bank Kenya Limited), leading Fintech companies (such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Stripe and Coinbase), and leading corporates (such as Britam Holdings Plc, Safaricom Plc and East African Breweries Limited).

In addition to the recognition by the Legal 500, Dominic has been ranked as Up and Coming Lawyer in the Banking and Finance (Kenya) category in 2022-2023 as well as in Band 3 for FinTech Legal (Kenya), in by Chambers and Partners Global Guide. The IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Dominic as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for his work in Banking and finance in Kenya in its 2022 publication.

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