By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya)*
The legal framework for corporate environmental compliance includes both international and national legal frameworks. The international framework on corporate environmental compliance is based on a number of treaties, standards and principles aimed at facilitating enforcement and compliance with environmental laws and regulations. While such treaties, principles and standards generally bind states, they are directly applicable to corporations since a state can control the activities of a corporation within its jurisdiction in compliance with its requirements under international law. The significant international framework (soft and hardlaw) on Environmental compliance includes principles developed in various significant places namely Stockholm, Rio 1992, Johannesburg, Kyoto, Paris, Glasgow and Espoo.
The 1972 Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment contains provisions on compensation for damage to victims of environmental liability and requires member states to adopt laws that provide for liability and compensation to victims of environmental damage such as pollution. This has been captured in Kenya under the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act which imposes both civil and criminal liability for environmental damage. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992 captures several principles aimed at protecting the integrity of the global environment and developmental system. These include sustainable development, public participation, inter and intra generational equity, precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), was signed by 154 states at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. It established an international environmental treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, including the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Agreement aimed at strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development. The Agreement contains provisions aimed at holding the rise in global temperature levels and controlling green-house gas emissions.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances the Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989 is a global agreement to protect the Earth‘s ozone layer by phasing out the chemicals that deplete it, a plan that includes both the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances. It sets limits on the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and related substances that may lead to the depletion of the ozone layer. The Protocol is believed to have successfully met its objectives thus far as it continues to safeguard the ozone layer today.
The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was the first convention of any kind to be signed by every country involved, taking effect in 1988 and reaching universal ratification in 2009. The Vienna Convention obligates the Parties to take appropriate measures in accordance with the provisions of this Convention and of those protocols in force to which they are party to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects resulting or likely to result from human activities which modify or are likely to modify the ozone layer.
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005, currently with 192 Parties. The Kyoto protocol was the first agreement between nations to mandate country-by-country reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Kyoto emerged from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was signed by nearly all nations at the 1992 Earth Summit. The Kyoto Protocol operationalizes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing industrialized countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets, whereas the Convention itself only asks those countries to adopt policies and measures on mitigation and to report periodically.
Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol adopted by decision 1/CMP.8 in accordance with Articles 20 and 21 of the Kyoto Protocol, at the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) held in Doha, Qatar, on 8 December 2012. As of 28 October 2020, 147 Parties had deposited their instrument of acceptance, therefore, the threshold for entry into force of the Doha Amendment had been met. The Amendment adds new emission reduction targets for Second Commitment Period (2012-2020) for participating countries.
Paris Climate Accord, 2015 also known as the Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) was recently held in Glasgow from 1st to 12thNovember 2021. The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Some of the commitments emerging from COP26 that are relevant to corporate environmental compliance include the pledge to quit coal, agreement to transition to zero emission vehicles and promise to end deforestation by 2030.
Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (The Espoo (EIA) Convention) which was adopted in Espoo, Finland in 1991 and entered into force on 10 September 1997 sets out the obligations of Parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of States to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has the objective to Combat Desertification is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, through effective action at all levels, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements, in the framework of an integrated approach which is consistent with Agenda 21, with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in affected areas.
Lastly, ISO 14000 entails a number of standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization to help organizations take a proactive approach to managing environmental issues. The standards challenge organizations to undertake a number of activities related to environmental governance which include taking stock of their impacts on the environment, establishing objectives and targets towards environmental management, committing to effective and reliable solutions such as prevention pollution and taking personal responsibility for conduct related to the environment. The existence of such standards is important since it allows organizations to gauge their environmental efforts against the generally accepted international criteria.
National Legal Framework for Corporate Environmental Compliance
The national legal framework for corporate environmental compliance include the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 which, inter alia, accords every person the right to a clean and healthy environment. The right includes the entitlement to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through measures contemplated in article 69; and to have obligations relating to the environment fulfilled under Article 70. These Constitutional provisions bind both the state and every person. Corporations thus have environmental obligations under the Constitution since they are artificial persons. Breach of these obligations could result in enforcement of environmental rights against the corporation and sanctions such as compensation for any victim of a violation of the right to a clean and healthy environment under Article 70 (2) (c) of the Constitution.
Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA), 1999 is the key law in Kenya providing for the establishment of an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the management of the environment. The Act entitles every person to a clean and healthy environment and requires every person to cooperate with state organs to protect and conserve the environment and to ensure the ecological sustainable development and use of natural resources. EMCA also stipulates several measures for protection and conservation of the environmental subsectors including rivers, lakes, seas, wetlands, mountain areas, forests, biological resource and the ozone layer.
These provisions of EMCA are binding both the state and individuals and their violation could result in commission of environmental offences set out under the Act. When these offences are committed by a body corporate, the body corporate and every director or officer of the body corporate who had knowledge of the commission of the offence and who did not exercise due diligence, efficiency and economy to ensure compliance with this Act, shall be guilty of an offence (emphasis added). To aid in environmental protection and conservation, the Act lists several environmental management tools such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA), Environmental Audits and Monitoring (emphasis added).
The Companies Act, 2015 calls upon directors while discharging the duty to promote the success of a company to have regard to the impact of the operations of the company on the community and the environment. The Act further mandates directors while preparing their reports to include information about environmental matters and take into account the impact of the business of the company on the environment. Climate Change Act, 2016 provides a regulatory framework for enhanced response to climate change and measures and mechanisms aimed at achieving low carbon climate development.
The Climate Change Act applies in all sectors of the economy and requires measures to be taken towards mainstreaming climate change responses in development planning, providing incentives and obligations for private sector contribution in achieving low carbon climate development and promotion of low carbon technologies. It also imposes climate change duties upon private entities which may also be required to prepare reports on the status of performance of such obligations. The Act empowers the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to monitor, investigate and report whether public and private entities are in compliance with their duties under the Act. Corporates need to bear in mind the provisions of the Climate Change Act in carrying out their activities since it is relevant to corporate environmental compliance.
The Water Act, 2016 is the Act of Parliament that provides for the regulation, management and development of water resources. It enshrines the right to clean and healthy water and contains provisions that seek to curb contamination and pollution of water sources and establishes institutions to enforce the Act. Despite enactment of the Act, there are still many cases of pollution of water bodies some which are perpetrated by corporations through discharge of untreated wastes. Enforcement and compliance with the Act is necessary in attainment of the right to clean and healthy water. The Energy Act 2019 requires Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to work with the relevant statutory authorities to formulate, enforce and review environmental, health, safety and quality standards for the upstream petroleum sector.
In addition to the Statutes, corporate environmental compliance is provided for under the respective sectoral regulations in Kenya. For instance, the Environmental (Impact Assessment and Audit) Regulations, 2003 provides for a system governing the Environmental Impact Assessment process and environmental audits. The Air Quality Regulations 2014 provide for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution to ensure clean and healthy ambient air and establishment of emission standards for various sources including industries as outlined in EMCA. The Water Quality Regulations 2006 provides for the right to clean and healthy water and obligates every person to refrain from acts and omission that may cause water pollution. The Waste Management Regulations 2006 provide a system to govern management of wastes including industrial and hazardous wastes.
*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Muigua, K., “Providing Legal Advice on Corporate Environmental Compliance in Kenya,” Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Corporate-Environmental-Compliance-in-Kenya-May-2021.pdf. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021 and nominated as ADR Practitioner of the Year (Nairobi Legal Awards) 2021.
Climate Change Act, No. 11 of 2016, Government Printer, Nairobi.
Companies Act, No. 17 of 2015, Government Printer, Nairobi.
Constitution of Kenya 2010, Government Printer, Nairobi.
COP23, Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (2012)‘ <https://cop23.com.fj/knowledge/doha-amendmentkyoto-protocol-2012/> (Accessed 25/11/2021).
COP26, UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021‘ (UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021) <https://ukcop26.org/> accessed 17 January 2021.
Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment Stockholm, 16 June 1972, available at https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/dunche/dunche.html (Accessed on 25/11/2021).
Environmental Management and Co-Ordination Act (EMCA), No. 8 of 1999, Government Printer, Nairobi.
Environmental (Impact Assessment and Audit) Regulations, 2003 Legal Notice No. 101 (June 13, 2003),
Environment Management and Co-ordination (Air Quality) Regulations, available at http://www.nema.go.ke/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31&Itemid=171 (Accessed on 25/11/2021).
Environment Management and Co-ordination Water Quality Regulations, 2006 Legal Notice No. 120 (September 4, 2006).
Environmental Management: The ISO 14000 family of International Standards, available at https://www.iso.org/files/live/sites/isoorg/files/archive/pdf/en/theiso14000family_2009.pdf (Accessed on 25/11/2021).
Montreal Protocol and (London Amendment) on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer, 1522 UNTS 3; 26 ILM 1550 (1987).
Ozone Secretariat, ‘The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer,’ Available at:
<https://ozone.unep.org/treaties/vienna-convention> (accessed 25/11/2021).
The Paris Agreement, United Nations, 2015, available at https://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/ convention/application/pdf/english_paris _agreement.pdf (Accessed on 25/11/2021).
UN General Assembly, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 20 January 1994, A/RES/48/189.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (1994),
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio Declaration 1992, Available https://www.un.org/en/conferences/environment/rio1992 (Accessed on 25/11/2021).
Water Act, No. 43 of 2016, Government Printer, Nairobi.
Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1
The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.
Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.
Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.
Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.
Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.
Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua: The Making of Top Arbitrator in Africa
The journey of Dr. Kariuki Muigua to becoming the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 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.
Overcoming Hindrances to International Commercial Arbitration in Kenya
By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Sustainable Development Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), The African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and ADR Publisher of the Year 2021*
In the face of globalisation, it is important that international trade and investment take place with minimal interference by territorial barriers such as unnecessary domestic courts’ intervention. It has been asserted that the settlement of disputes between parties to an international transaction, arbitration has clear advantages over litigation in national courts. The foreign court can be an alien environment for a businessman because of his unfamiliarity with the procedure which may be followed, the laws to be applied, and even the mentality of the foreign judges.
In contrast, with international commercial arbitration parties coming from different legal systems can provide for a procedure which is mutually acceptable. They can anticipate which law shall be applied: a particular law or even a lex mercatoria of a trade. They can also appoint a person of their choice having expert knowledge in the field. Thus, it is argued that these and other advantages are only potential until the necessary legal framework can be internationally secured, at least providing that the commitment to arbitrate is enforceable and that the arbitral decision can be executed in many countries, precluding the possibility that a national court review the merits of the decision.
There is a need to employ mechanisms that will help nurture and demonstrate Kenya to the outside world as a place with international commercial arbitrators with sufficient knowledge and expertise to be appointed to arbitrate international arbitrators. There is also the need to put in place adequate legal regimes and infrastructure for the efficient and effective organization and conduct of international commercial arbitration in Africa. This ranges from legislating comprehensive law on international commercial arbitration as well as setting up world class arbitration centres in Kenya to complement the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA).
There is also the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) which is an initiative by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Kenya and was incorporated in May, 2013. Its objective is to establish and maintain a regional Dispute Resolution Centre in the country. The CADR is a positive step towards nurturing international commercial arbitration in Kenya. This will afford the local international commercial arbitrators the fora to showcase their skills and expertise in international commercial arbitration and will also attract international clients from outside Africa. It has been noted that there should be basic minimum standards for international commercial arbitration centres or institutions. These include: modern arbitration rules; modern and efficient administrative and technological facilities; Security and safety of documents; Expertise within its staff; and some serious degree of permanence. There is a need to set up more regional centres for training of international commercial arbitrators in Africa and Kenya.
The Kenyan Chapter of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators trains arbitrators across Africa and has trained arbitrators in countries like Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda and even Malawi. Kenya can indeed play a pivotal role in nurturing international commercial arbitration, not only in Kenya but also across the African continent. There is also need for the existing institutions to seek collaboration with more international commercial arbitration institutions since this will work as an effective marketing tool for the exiting institutions. For instance, the Kenyan Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Branch maintains a close relationship with the International Law Institute (ILI) Kampala and the Centre for Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) of California State University to conduct Courses in Mediation and other forms of ADR both locally and internationally.
There is need for all African centres and institutions to do the same to promote international commercial arbitration in Africa. The Kenyan law on arbitration appreciates the need to limit court intervention in arbitration to a basic minimum. It has been argued that the relationship between the courts and the arbitral process can be made much closer, both practically and psychologically. The psychological link can be strengthened by encouraging all or at least a good number of the commercial judges and advocates to take up training in arbitration and consequently ensuring that they benefit from having prior experience of arbitration either as representative advocates or actual arbitrators. This will subsequently boost the confidence of foreigners in the African Arbitration institutions as well as the role of courts. Effective and reliable application of international commercial arbitration in Kenya has the capacity to encourage investors to carry on business with confidence knowing their disputes will be settled expeditiously.
In essence, there is need to develop a clear framework in Kenya within which international commercial arbitration can be further nurtured. There are arbitral institutions already in place in Kenya as highlighted in this paper. The presence of such institutions in the country points to an acceptance of alternative dispute resolution modes as well as the need to nurture the practice of international commercial arbitration other than exporting commercial disputes to foreign countries for settlement. With the right frameworks in place, Kenya indeed has the capacity to conduct successful international commercial arbitration. Nurturing international commercial arbitration in Kenya is a necessity whose time has come.
*This article is an extract from published article “Nurturing International Commercial Arbitration in Kenya,” by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), CIArb (Kenya) ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and ADR Publisher of the Year 2021. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Foremost Dispute Resolution Expert in Africa ranked among Top 6 Arbitrators in Kenya by Chambers and Partners, Leading Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2022 and is ranked among the Top 5 Arbitrators in Kenya in 2022 by The Lawyer Africa.
Muigua, K., “Nurturing International Commercial Arbitration in Kenya,” Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Nurturing-International-Commercial-Arbitration-in-Kenya.pdf (accessed 15 July 2022).
Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1
Book Review: Exploring Conflict Management in Environmental Matters
Dr. Kariuki Muigua: The Making of Top Arbitrator in Africa
Overcoming Hindrances to International Commercial Arbitration in Kenya
Challenges Facing the Practice of International Commercial Arbitration in Kenya
Extent of Court Intervention in international commercial arbitration in Kenya
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