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The Civil Procedure Act and Alternative Dispute Resolution of Tax Disputes



By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publication of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

There are numerous provisions under the Civil Procedure Act, Cap. 21, Laws of Kenya, on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in conflict management and are relevant to the resolution of tax disputes. In July 2009, Parliament passed a raft of proposals for amendment to the Civil Procedure Act to introduce ADR. Essentially, these were proposed amendments to sections 1 and 81 of the Civil Procedure Act which have so far been enacted into law. For starters, the amendment introduced section 1A (1) of the Civil Procedure Act which outlined the overriding objective of the Act as to facilitate the just, expeditious, proportionate and affordable resolution of civil disputes governed by the Act.

The Civil Procedure Act enjoins the Judiciary to exercise its powers and interpretation of the civil procedure to give effect to the overriding objective above. In effect, this implies that the court in its interpretation of laws and issuance of orders will ensure that the civil procedure shall, as far as possible, not be used to inflict injustice or delay the proceedings and thus minimize the litigation costs for the parties. This provision also serves as a basis for the court to employ rules of procedure that provide for use of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms, to ensure that they serve the ends of the overriding objective.

Section 14 of the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act, No. 40 of 2013 exempts the provisions of Cap. 21. In particular, the Act provides that the provisions of the Civil Procedure Act (Cap. 21) shall not apply to the proceedings of the Tribunal. On the other hand, section 32 of the Act clearly states that the High Court shall hear appeals from the Tribunal in accordance with rules set out by the Chief Justice. However, the Tax Procedures Act does not exempt the Civil Procedure Act and tax appeals to High Court are similar to other Civil Disputes that are referred to High Court and therefore subject to Civil Procedure. Therefore, the provisions of Civil Procedure Act and Civil Procedure Rules on ADR are applicable to tax disputes.

Court annexed arbitration

Court-annexed arbitration can arise as a result of the application of the Arbitration Act (as Amended in 2009) and also under supervision of the court under the Civil Procedure Act. Under the Civil Procedure Act, the courts involvement in the arbitral process is specifically provided for in Section 59 and Order 46 of the Civil Procedure Rules, 2010. Section 59 of the Act provides for references of issues to arbitration, which references are to be governed in a manner provided for by the rules. Order 46 rule 1 provides that; “Where in any suit all the parties interested who are not under disability agree that any matter in difference between them in such suit shall be referred to arbitration, they may, at any time before judgment is pronounced, apply to the court for an order of reference.”

Under Order 46 Rule 2, the arbitrator is to be appointed in a manner that the parties have agreed upon. However, where no arbitrator or umpire (under rule 4) has been appointed the court under rule 5 may, on application by the party who gave the notice to the other to appoint, and after giving the other party an opportunity of being heard, appoint an arbitrator or umpire, or make an order superseding the arbitration and in such case the court shall proceed with the suit. Where an award has been made pursuant to arbitration under the Rules, rule 10 requires that that the persons who made it shall sign it, date it and cause it to be filed in court within 14 days together with any depositions and documents which have been taken and proved before them.

A court has the power to modify or correct an award under rule 14 if it is imperfect or contains an obvious error, if a part of the award is upon a matter not referred to arbitration or if it contains a clerical mistake or error from an accidental slip or omission. The court also has power to remit an award for reconsideration by the arbitrator under rule 15. Rule 18 provides that the court shall, upon due notice to the other parties, enter judgment according to the award and upon such that judgment a decree shall follow thereof. No appeal shall lie from such decree except in so far as the decree is in excess of, or not in accordance with the award.

Order 46 Rule 20 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that; “Nothing under this Order may be construed as precluding the court from adopting and implementing, of its own motion or at the request of the parties, any other appropriate means of dispute resolution (including mediation) for the attainment of the overriding objective envisaged under sections 1A and 1B of the Act.” Order 46 Rule 20 read together with Sections 1A and 1B of the Civil Procedure Act therefore obligates the court to employ ADR mechanisms to facilitate the just, expeditious, proportionate and affordable resolution of all civil disputes governed by the Act. Under Order 46 rule 20 (2) it is provided that a court may adopt any ADR mechanism for the dispute and may issue appropriate orders or directions to facilitate the use of that mechanism. Judges will thus need to be adeptly trained on ADR mechanisms so as to be in a position to issue directions and orders in relation to the particular mechanism and that will lead to the attainment of the overriding objective under sections 1A and 1B of the Act.

Mediation and other ADR Mechanisms

The clamor to introduce court-annexed mediation led to the enactment of section 81 (2) (ff) of the Civil Procedure Act, as amended by the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act No. 6 of 2009. Section 81 (2) (ff) provides for the selection of mediators and the hearing of matters referred to mediation under the Act. Parties who have presented their cases to court now are able to have their matter referred to mediation by the court for resolution. The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act amended sections 2 and 59 of the Civil Procedure Act to provide for mediation of disputes.

Section 2 of the Civil Procedure Act has been amended to define mediation as an informal and non-adversarial process where an impartial mediator encourages and facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties, but does not include attempts made by a judge to settle a dispute within the course of judicial proceedings. Section 59 of the Civil Procedure Act has also been amended to introduce the aspect of mediation of cases as an aid to the streamlining of the court process. This includes the establishment of a Mediation Accreditation Committee appointed by the Chief Justice to determine and apply the criteria for the certification of mediators, propose rules for the certification of mediators, maintain a register of qualified mediators, enforce such code of ethics for mediators as may be prescribed and set up appropriate training programmes for mediators.

The law now requires the court either at the request of the parties, where it deems appropriate to do so or where the law provides so, to refer a dispute presented before it to mediation.73 Where a dispute is referred to mediation, the parties are enjoined to select for that purpose a mediator whose name appears in the mediation register maintained by the Mediation Accreditation Committee. Such reference should, however, be conducted in accordance with the mediation rules. Section 59B (4) provides that an agreement between the parties to a dispute as a result of mediation be recorded in writing and registered with the court and is enforceable as if it were a judgment of that court. No appeal lies against such agreement.

Under Section 59C, a suit may be referred to any other method of dispute resolution where the parties agree or where the court considers the case suitable for referral. Under Section 59C (2), any such other method of alternative dispute resolution shall be governed by such procedure as the parties themselves agree to or as the Court may, in its discretion, order. Any settlement arising from a suit referred to any such other alternative dispute resolution method by the Court or agreement of the parties shall be enforceable as a judgment of the Court and no appeal shall lie in respect of such judgment. Further, all agreements entered into with the assistance of qualified mediators shall be in writing and may be registered and enforced by the Court. Pursuant to Order 46 rule 20 (3) it is only after a court-mandated mediation fails that the court shall set the matter down for hearing and determination.

Clearly, these provisions of the Civil Procedure Act are not, in my view, really introducing mediation per se, but merely setting up a legal process where a court can coerce parties to mediate and the outcome of the mediation taken back to court for ratification. These amendments have introduced a mediation process which is formal and annexed to the procedures governing the conduct of cases in the High Court. Informal mediation which may not require the use of writing is not provided for. Hence, it can be said that the codification of mediation rules in the Civil Procedure Act merely reflect the concept of mediation as viewed from the Western perspective and not in the traditional, political and informal perspective where it could lead to a resolution of the conflict.


*This article is part of an ongoing series on Specialized Alternative Dispute  Resolution in Kenya by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. 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. 


Constitution of Kenya, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, 2010.

Civil Procedure Act, Cap. 21, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer.

Tax Appeals Tribunal Act, No. 40 of 2013, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer.

Tax Procedures Act, No. 29 of 2015, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer.

News & Analysis

The Roles of the Three Parts of the Permanent Court of Arbitration




H.E. Amb. Marcin Czepelak, the Fourteenth Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

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News & Analysis

Brief History of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)




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

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is a 124 Years Old Intergovernmental Organization currently with 122 contracting states. It was established at the turn of 20th Century during the first Hague Peace Conference held between 18th May and 29th July 1899. The conference was an initiative of then Russian Czar Nicholas II to discuss peace and disarmament and specifically with the object of “seeking the most effective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and, above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.” The culmination of the conference was the adoption of a Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which dealt not only with arbitration but also with other methods of pacific settlement, such as good offices and mediation.

The aim of the conference was to “strengthen systems of international dispute resolution” especially international arbitration which in the last century had proven effective for the purpose with number of successful international arbitrations being concluded among Nations. The Alabama arbitration of 1871-1872 between the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) under the Treaty of Washington of 1871 culminating in the arbitral tribunal’s award that the UK pay the US compensation for breach of neutrality during American Civil War which it did had demonstrated the effectiveness of arbitration in settling of international disputes and piqued interest of many practitioners in it as a mode of dispute resolution during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

The Institut de Droit International adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875 to answer the need for a general law of arbitration governing for countries and parties wishing to have recourse to international arbitration. The growth of arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution formed the background of the 1899 conference and informed its most enduring achievement, namely, the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle.”

In turn, the 1899 Convention provided for the creation of permanent machinery to enable the setting up of arbitral tribunals as necessary and to facilitate their work under the auspices of the institution it named as the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In particular, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention stated that “[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.” In effect, the Convention set up a permanent system of international arbitration and institutionalized the law and practice of arbitration in a definite and acceptable way.

As a result, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in 1900 and began operating in 1902. The PCA as established consisted of a panel of jurists designated by each country acceding to the Convention with each country being entitled to designate up to four from among whom the members of each arbitral tribunal might be chosen. In addition, the Convention created a permanent Bureau, located in The Hague, with functions similar to those of a court registry or secretariat. The 1899 Convention also laid down a set of rules of procedure to govern the conduct of arbitrations under the PCA framework.

The second Hague Peace Conference in 1907 saw a revision of the 1899 Convention and improvement of the rules governing arbitral proceedings. Today, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution perfectly situated to meet the evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has also diversified its service offering alongside those contemplated by the Conventions. For instance, today the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as a registry in important international arbitrations. In 1993, the Permanent Court of Arbitration adopted new “Optional Rules for Arbitrating Disputes between Two Parties of Which Only One Is a State” and, in 2001, “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”.


PCA Website: (accessed on 25th May 2023).

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News & Analysis

Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal




Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania who has sued the Bank for Unlawful Dismissal

Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.

Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.

In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.

He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.

“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.

Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.

He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.

“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.

He wants  further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.

Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.

He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.

He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.

He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands.  He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.

Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.

“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.

He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

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