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.
John Ohaga SC Scoops Kenya and Africa Top Arbitrator Accolades
In the year 2022, Senior Counsel John M. Ohaga scooped the highest National and Continental Awards in Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and confirmed his peerless place among the top arbitrators in Kenya as well as Africa. On one hand, the Managing Partner of TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP was feted by his peers as the Top Arbitrator in Kenya in the Year 2022 and awarded the most prestigious arbitration award by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch). On the other hand, the celebrated leading arbitrator was ranked among the Top 3 Arbitrators in Kenya by Chambers and Partners, among the Top 4 Arbitrators in Kenya by The Lawyer Africa and was one of the two Kenyan Arbitrators to make it to the list of the 20 most elite Arbitrators in Africa by the Africa Arbitration Academy.
First, Senior Counsel Ohaga was the winner of the Kenya’s Arbitrator of the Year 2022, the most prestigious and highest awards given to an Arbitrator at the CIArb (Kenya) Excellence in Arbitration Awards. The award was in recognition of Ohaga’s consistent contribution to ADR Practice as a leading arbitrator and arbitration counsel in the country and around the world. It is proof of the high regard the Senior Counsel is held by his colleagues and peers in the ADR fraternity for being one of the most experienced and sought after Arbitrators amongst the less than three dozen Chartered Arbitrators in Kenya (C.Arb) and as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). The Arbitrator of the Award 2022 came hot in heels of the Runner-Up ADR Practitioner of the Year Award at the Nairobi Legal Awards in 2021.
Second, Ohaga SC made it to the Second Edition of the Africa 20 Arbitration Powerlist 2022, the most exclusive and matchless listing of Arbitrators in the Africa continent. The list which is curated by the Africa Arbitration Academy in collaboration with Association of Young Arbitrators (AYA) and Africa Arbitration, Africa’s leading continent-wide arbitration institutions, recognizes the most elite arbitrators and leaders in ADR from across the continent. Senior Counsel Ohaga was one of the only two Kenyans to make it to the list confirming his place as the top arbitrator in Kenya. Ohaga is among the top crop of arbitrators from across Africa who maintained their place in the Powerlist even as it was trimmed from Top 30 Arbitrators (in 2020) to Top 20 Arbitrators (in 2022).
At the same time, Senior Counsel Ohaga as the TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP Co-Head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department led the team to scoop the top award in the category at the African Legal Awards 2022. The Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team Award is a testament of Ohaga and the firm’s expertise, commitment and excellence to providing quality representation in numerous complex litigation matters and high-value domestic and international arbitration proceedings. John Ohaga SC was also a finalist in the Partner of the Year Award 2022 at the same awards. He is also ranked in Band 1 in both Dispute Resolution Category and Arbitrators Category as one of the top 3 arbitrators in Kenya by world-renown Chambers and Partners.
At the global stage, John Ohaga SC was in October 2022 enrolled to the Panel of Arbitrators of International Centre of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), one of the most coveted arbitration panels in the world. He was also nominated as one of the Kenya Delegate to the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR at ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. In effect, Ohaga joined the exclusive club of a handful of top-drawer arbitrators who are called upon to determine international arbitration matters between nations, or nations and international investors or among multinationals themselves. As a result, The Lawyer Africa put John Ohaga in the list of the Top 4 Arbitrators in Kenya in its list of Top 200 Kenyan Arbitrators in the Year 2022.
These accolades confirm John Ohaga SC as one of Kenya’s most accomplished and awarded dispute resolution expert in Kenya. In the last 32 years, John has handled numerous complex and precedent setting litigation matters, presided over high value domestic and international arbitration cases. He leads an outstanding elite team of some of Kenya’s most venerated and all-round dispute resolution practitioners as co-head of the dispute resolution practice at TripleOKLaw. He also stands out as the leader of one of Kenya’s most enduring and leading law firms for the last 25 years, steering it to Africa’s Top 50 law firms in 2022 at No. 39 with 44 lawyers.
John was conferred the rank and dignity of Senior Counsel, the highest level of professional recognition for lawyers, by the President of the Republic of Kenya in July 2020. He was named Kenya’s Lawyer of the Year in 2020 in the 3rd Edition of Nairobi Legal Awards in December 2020 and the Pupil Master of the Year in 2019 and 2021 as recognition of his commitment to mentoring young lawyers. He was one of the Top 50 Arbitrators in Africa by The Legal 500 in Arbitration Powerlist 2021: Africa. In 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2021, John was the winner of the International Law Office (ILO) Client Choice Awards (Litigation) in Kenya.
John is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Global 2022 as one of the Top 10 Outstanding lawyers in dispute resolution in Kenya and one who “displays an astute understanding of dispute resolution processes.” As a Chartered Arbitrator, John is considered one Kenya’s elite Arbitrators and sits on the CIArb Presidential Panel of Arbitrators. He is described by The Legal 500 as “a genuine leader in arbitration.” He has represented parties as counsel in several arbitration proceedings and acted in numerous disputes as either Party Appointed Arbitrator, Sole Arbitrator or Presiding Arbitrator.
Due to his passion for arbitration, John was appointed Chairperson of the National Steering Committee for formulation of the ADR Policy by the Attorney General of Kenya. He is also member of the Judiciary’s Mediation Accreditation Committee and Chair of its Accreditation Committee as well as a member of the Judiciary Taskforce on the Implementation of the Court-Annexed Mediation Programme. He has also been the Convener of the Law Society of Kenya’s Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution and previously served as a board member of the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA). He is Chairman of the Sports Disputes Tribunal, Chair of the Appeals Committee of the Advertising Standards Board and Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch).
John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Member of Law Society of Kenya, East African Law Society (which recently appointed him to lead its Arbitration Committee), International Bar Association, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, International Council for Commercial Arbitration and International Association of Managing Partners. He qualified as Member of the CIArb (MCIArb) in 2007, was admitted as Fellow of CIArb (FCIArb) in 2012, installed as a Chartered Arbitrator (C.Arb) in 2018 and Accredited as a CIArb Mediator same year. He holds a Certificate in Sports Arbitration from Kuala Lumpur Centre for International Arbitration (2017), a Certificate in Negotiation and Leadership from Harvard Law School (2019) and is pursuing an LLM in International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary, University of London.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD: The Top Arbitrator in Africa
If winning the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 confirmed Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD as the continent’s Top Arbitrator in the making, his award of the African Arbitration Association (AfAA) ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022 in November 2022 is proof that the Africa CIArb Trustee has finally arrived as the Top Arbitrator and ADR Practitioner in Africa. The AfAA ADR Practitioner of the Year is awarded to the arbitrator/ADR practitioner who is adjudged to have made outstanding achievements in, or contribution to, the development of arbitration/ADR in Africa. Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD fits the bill and it came as no surprise to see him shortlisted and awarded this prestigious award by his esteemed peers in the ADR fraternity across the continent.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD straddles the narrow ADR world like a giant and his epic journey to claim the top prize in ADR in the continent is proof of it. Dr. Muigua became a Member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIarb) in 2002 and 10 years later he was elected as the Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch) serving up to 2015. In 2019, Dr Muigua was elected (unopposed) to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Board of Trustees as the Regional Trustee for Africa. In 2021, he won the Law Society 0f Kenya award for the ADR Practitioner of the Year Award 2021. In the same month, he was awarded the CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award, as the inaugural winner of the highest award of the Branch.
The year 2022 has seen Dr. Kariuki Muigua repeat the impossible feat he had achieved at National level at Continental level by winning the top Arbitration and ADR Awards at the same year. There is no other practitioner who has achieved this milestone of winning the African Arbitrator of the Year and the AfAA Africa’s ADR Practitioner of the Year in the same year before Dr. Kariuki Muigua. This not only affirms him as the top in the ADR game, but it ushers a new era as he enters into the realm of international ADR practitioners from Africa. With no more prizes and awards for Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD to win in Africa having scooped all, how the indefatigable ADR Scholar will shift his attention to dominating the international sphere will be interesting to watch.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua’s journey to the top of ADR and Arbitration in the Africa continent is testament that discipline and hardwork pays. It has has seen him painstakingly and consistently research, teach, write, edit, publish, train, mentor and practice arbitration, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), conflict management and dispute resolution for the last 30 years with excellence as a leading lawyer, authoritative scholar and ADR expert. Today, Dr. Kariuki Muigua, Phd, C.Arb is a Chartered Arbitrator and the African Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022. He is an advocate of 33 years standing and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. He is also the author of the Leading Textbooks on ADR, Mediation and Arbitration including the seminal Settling Disputes Through Arbitration in Kenya, now in 4th Edition. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is ranked at Band 1 by Chambers & Partners among the leading Arbitrators in Kenya noting that “He has been involved in several ground-breaking arbitrations,” “has an astute understanding of arbitration” and “is respected for litigation.”
Dr. Kariuki Muigua is also both the founder, publisher and editor of Africa’s leading Conflict Management Journal as well as one of the PhD Academics who majored in resolution of Natural Resources and Environmental Conflicts using mediation. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is also a leading author in the area of conflict management and has published several books on the topic including Resolving Conflicts through Mediation and Natural Resources and Environmental Justice in Kenya. It is these exploits that have left many of his admirers convinced that his next stop would be Professorship and admission to the Rank of Senior Counsel.
As an ADR Practitioner, Dr. Muigua was declared the first ever winner of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch) ADR Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honour given by the Institute to one member every year for his immense contribution to the growth of practice, research and scholarship of ADR in Kenya and across Africa. The award came barely a week after Dr. Muigua had won the coveted Law Society of Kenya ADR Practitioner of the Year Award at the 4th Edition of the Nairobi Legal Awards. LSK recognized Dr. Muigua for his outstanding practice in ADR and especially arbitration and his role as mentor to many lawyers venturing into the area. Dr. Kariuki Muigua was also awarded the ADR Publisher of the Year for his scholarship, authorship and editorship of leading research and publications on ADR in Africa including the Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development and Alternative Dispute Resolution, the Official Journal of the CIArb (Kenya).
The tripartite awards have been hailed by many of Dr. Kariuki Muigua’s peers in the ADR and Arbitration fraternity as a fitting tributes to his made immense contribution to mainstreaming of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and especially arbitration as way of resolving disputes in Kenya, East Africa and across Africa in the last two (2) decades. Indeed, starting in 2002 when Dr. Muigua took the Special Member Course leading to membership to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb), Dr. Muigua one of the staunchest advocates of ADR in Africa in addition to becoming the foremost intellectual voice shaping ADR practitioners and scholars of the future. The contribution of Dr. Kariuki Muigua to the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) sector has taken many shapes and forms including as a practitioner, leader, policy maker, scholar, author, trainer, mentor and trailblazer among others.
Dr. Muigua is a leading Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practitioner in Kenya, Africa and the world at large who has been recognized nationally and globally by peers. The world leading peer-reviewed lawyers’ directory, Chambers and Partners, rates Dr. Kariuki Muigua as one of the best alternative dispute resolution experts in the country. It describes as ‘a highly respected arbitrator and mediator with a sterling background in commercial and constitutional cases, as well as matters relating to the environment and natural resources.’ The most recent ranking adds: “Kariuki Muigua of Kariuki Muigua & Co is held in high regard by market commentators for his role in the Kenyan arbitration sphere. He possesses stellar experience in commercial and constitutional disputes, as well as environmental matters and those relating to the extractive industries. In addition to being “a big noise in the arbitration association,” he is widely recognized for his academic work.”
Dr. Muigua has served in many panels as an arbitrator appointed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)-Kenya, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA), the London Court Of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the International Court of Arbitration under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on several occasions as a sole arbitrator and a member of arbitral tribunals in arbitrations involving commercial disputes. He has vast experience and expertise in adjudication and has sat as both as a panel member and a chairperson in various adjudication Boards both locally and internationally. He is also an accomplished mediator and has successfully presided over numerous matters both as a private mediator and a court appointed mediator under the Court-Annexed Mediation program in Kenya.
Dr Muigua was elected (unopposed) to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Board of Trustees as the Regional Trustee for Africa, for the term beginning 1 January 2019. Previously, he served as the Branch Chairman of CIArb-Kenya from 2012 to 2015. He also served CIArb as Member and past Chairperson of the Sub-committee on Information Technology (IT), CIArb and as Member of the Legal Committee Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) – Kenya chapter. He is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)-Kenya chapter. He is also a member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and Kenya Branch. He is also a Member of Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) and Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA). For his contributions, he was awarded Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Chairman’s Medal with a citation for exemplary service in December, 2015.
In policy-making, Dr. Kariuki Muigua is currently a member of the National Steering Committee for Formulation of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy representing the Academia since 2020. The team is providing guidance and overseeing the process for formulation of a national policy and institutional framework on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Kenya. He has also served as Member of the Meditation Accreditation Committee Panel of Mediators Accredited for Commercial Mediation under the Judiciary of Kenya. Recently, he led negotiations that achieved partnership with Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK on GPR 625 (International Commercial Arbitration) for University of Nairobi LLM students to achieve membership status without further tests, 2020 to 2023.
On ADR Scholarship, Dr. Muigua is the author of the leading textbook on Arbitration in Kenya, namely, Settling Disputes through Arbitration in Kenya, now in its 4th Edition (2022) and available for free download, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice in Kenya (2015) and Resolving Conflicts through Mediation in Kenya (2013). He has been cited hundreds of times as an ADR Scholar, contributed at least 3 chapters of published books, authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles in the areas of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution and presented over two dozen papers on ADR in diverse fora. Dr. Muigua has also facilitated numerous trainings, workshops and conferences on ADR. He has supervised and supervised at least two (2) completed PhD thesis on ADR, Dozens of Masters Thesis and is supervising three (3) PhDs in the area as a lecturer and mentor in ADR practice and scholarship. Dr. Muigua is a lecturer in International Commercial Arbitration at the University of Nairobi and tutor, trainer and assessor at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch).
Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Chartered Arbitrator (since January 2015) and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (since October 2010) and Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (since 2002). He holds a Diploma in Arbitration (2012) and became Accredited as a Mediator by the Mediation Training Institute in 2015. He is also a renowned consultant on ADR Law and Practice and has authored reports whose recommendations had far reaching impact on the sector. As a professional who strives to attain excellence in the legal and ADR arenas, Dr. Muigua has gone out of his way to put ADR in the frontline as one of the leading modes of dispute resolution in Kenya, Africa and at global stage. Dr. Muigua is a holder of a Ph. D in law from the University of Nairobi and has widespread training and experience in both international and national commercial arbitration and mediation. Previously, he served as the chairperson, Department of Private Law of the University of Nairobi School of Law 2020-2021.
Book Review: Exploring Conflict Management in Environmental Matters
By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD; C.Arb.; FCIArb; FCPK; African Arbitrator of the Year 2022.
The relationship between environment and conflicts in Africa is epitomized by resource-curse phenomenon with countries having abundance of natural resources experiencing less economic growth or underdevelopment due to challenges in use and governance of natural resources. The environment-conflict nexus is a fundamental concern across the continent and in Kenya given the social, economic, cultural and political impact of environmental conflicts. Thus, environmental conflict management is more important than ever.
In the light of the Sustainable Development agenda adopted by the United Nations, effective management of conflicts in environmental matters is crucial in spearheading economic and social development across the globe. Sustainable Development goal 16 acknowledges the role of peace in promoting environmental conservation and attaining the other sustainable development goals. Conflict management is therefore a critical tool of environmental management in the quest towards attainment of Sustainable Development.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua’s latest book, Exploring Conflict Management in Environmental Matters is a timely addition to the existing environmental conflict management literature. The book acknowledges the relationship between conflicts and environment and, informed by the need to address the adverse effects of conflicts on environmental matters, explores the link between conflict management and environmental governance highlighting the attendant challenges and suggesting practical recommendations towards addressing them.
This latest Dr. Kariuki Muigua’s book bridges the gap in the fields of Conflict Management and Environmental Governance in Kenya. It is premised on the current legal framework and brings out challenges and areas for reform in environmental conflict management in Kenya. The book undertakes a Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTEL) analysis of key issues and concerns in conflict management and environmental matters in Kenya and lays a basis for necessary interventions towards effective environmental conflict management for sustainable development.
The book features several themes on Conflict Management and Environmental Governance including Sustainable Development; Access to Justice; Alternative Dispute Resolution and Acess to Justice and Environmental Democracy. In demonstration of Dr. Kariuki Muigua prowess and sound understanding of pertinent environmental conflict management issues, the book is written in a clear and concise language yet the author maintains high standards of intellectual diligence and critical analysis of issues. Dr. Muigua succeeds in opening up the minds of his readers to explore the ideal world of effective conflict management as a subset of sound environmental governance.
The book is divided into ten chapters that are well connected with each chapter focusing on specific concerns in relation to the overall theme of the book. Chapter One introduces the reader to the concept of conflict management in environmental matters and explores the environment-conflict nexus and the need to manage such conflicts. Chapter Two deals with the causes and manifestations of environmental conflicts. It further analyses various types of environmental conflicts biodiversity conflicts and land and water conflicts. The chapter also presents an interesting idea about the benefits of conflicts. It argues that conflicts can trigger people out of complacency and inspire them to take positive action.
Chapter three discusses the institutional and methodological approaches towards management of environmental conflicts and their strengths and weaknesses as well as proposals for reforms. It discusses the legal framework for managing environmental conflicts in Kenya including the Courts, the National Environment Tribunal (NET), National Environmental Complaints Committee, Arbitral tribunals, statutory tribunals and customary justice systems. The chapter also discusses the role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the management of environmental conflicts. Chapter four focuses on best practices in conflict management and the environment by analyzing the international environmental law framework and environmental conflict management. The chapter further focuses on the African situation and analyses the concept of peace building and conflict management in Africa.
Chapter five discusses effective conflict management as tool for entrenching environmental rights. The chapter presents a right –based approach to environmental conflicts management and argues that human rights are inextricably linked to the environment. The chapter explores this link under the concept of environmental democracy which is crucial in the realization of environmental rights. The chapter further analyses principles of effective conflict management such as participation, inclusion, empowerment, cultural sensitivity, equity and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA). Chapter six focuses on the place of conflict management in the sustainable development agenda. The chapter discusses the place of the environment in the sustainable development agenda and argues that most of the sustainable development goals are anchored in the environment.
Chapter seven narrows down to Kenya and discusses environmental conflicts management from a Kenyan perspective. It analyses the emergence of environmental conflicts in Kenya and various means through which these conflicts are managed. The chapter further explores the idea of effective peace building towards environmental conflict management in Kenya. Chapter eight discusses the role of state agencies and communities in achieving effective management of environmental conflicts. It argues that the state plays an important role in management of the environment in Kenya as envisioned under article 69 of the Constitution. The chapter further discusses the role of the state and communities in addressing environmental conflicts.
Chapter nine analyses contemporary issues in conflict management and environmental matters including gender and conflict management, Traditional Ecological Knowledge and its role in environmental and conflict management, the role of science and technology in environmental management, climate change as a catalyst for environmental conflicts and international investments and the environment. The chapter discusses how these issues affect environmental conflict management and the need for sustainable development perspective in conflict management. Chapter ten recaps the entire discussion, reiterates the importance of effective environmental conflict management in sustainable development and offers viable recommendations towards promoting effective environmental governance and conflict management in environmental matters.
Exploring Conflict Management in Environmental Matters by Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a must read. The book is a useful resource for policy makers, legislators, practitioners, lecturers, students and the public at large. It contains a rich reservoir of knowledge in the fields of Conflict Management and Environmental Governance and its launch is going to be a game changer in these fields. Get yourself a copy and let us embark on this journey towards effective management of environmental conflicts toward Sustainable Development.
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