By Paul Musyimi, Publisher & Editor, The Lawyer Africa & The Arbitrator Africa.
When we, THE LAWYER AFRICA, nominated Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD for the award of AFRICAN ARBITRATOR OF THE YEAR 2022 AWARD, it was out of conviction that he epitomizes the highest standard of excellence in arbitration in Africa. We feel vindicated to find that overwhelming majority of Dr. Muigua’s peers who voted for the Award Winner across the Africa continent shared in that high opinion of Dr. Kariuki Muigua. We celebrate Dr. Kariuki Muigua’s award of AFRICAN ARBITRATOR of the YEAR 2022 because it is well-deserved and will serve to inspire many Arbitrators and ADR Practitioners across the continent who look up to him to believe that they can rise to the top through hard work and discipline in ADR practice.
The resume of Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD as an ADR Practitioner is the envy of many of his peers and the aspiration of many upcoming practitioners. Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is a Chartered Arbitrator since 2015, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators since 2012 and the Africa’s Trustee of the Chartered Arbitrators since 2019. He is Kenya’s foremost Arbitrator and ADR Practitioner as confirmed by the Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award accorded to him by CIArb (Kenya) in 2021 and being named the Law Society of Kenya (Nairobi) ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 at the Nairobi Legal Awards. Dr. Muigua is the author of Kenya’s leading Arbitration Law Textbook, Settling Disputes Through Arbitration in Kenya, now in its 4th Edition, and one of the Founders and the Editor-in-Chief of the Official Journal of Arbitration in Kenya, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Journal of the CIArb (Kenya Branch).
Dr. Muigua is ranked among the top 6 Arbitrators in Kenya (Band 1) by the prestigious Chambers & Partners in the year 2022. He has handled dozens of international and domestic arbitrations whose cumulative subject matter value is north of a quarter of a Billion US Dollars (over Ksh. 250 Billion) in the last decade alone. He is an avid Arbitration Law and ADR Scholar, writer and researcher and has supervised numerous LL.M and PhD Thesis in the area in the last decade. He also teaches International Commercial Arbitration at the University of Nairobi and is a tutor and examiner of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
If any African Arbitrator deserved to be named the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 at the 3rd African Arbitration Awards , it was Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD and we are glad he scooped this prestigious award for Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua has earned his place at the top of ADR Practice in Africa and indeed the World for his efforts in advancing the practice of ADR and Arbitration in Africa as Africa’s Trustee of CIArb and also in his private capacity as a mentor to many across the continent. He is the patron of the Young Arbitrators Club of the University of Nairobi and supported the launch of the Award which bears his name to encourage upcoming arbitrators enhance their writing skills. He has been involved in every aspect of ADR and arbitration including practice and leaders and for that he deserves the recognition and to win the Africa Arbitration Awards.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD: Twenty (20) Years of Excellence in Arbitration and ADR
In 2022, Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD commemorated 20 years as Arbitrator and ADR Practitioner. His journey in Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) started in 2002 when he took the Special member course leading to membership of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb). In the same year, he also became a member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) (2002). Three years later, in 2005, Dr. Kariuki Muigua graduated with Master of Laws (LL.M) from the University of Nairobi and his Thesis focused on resolving Natural Resource Conflicts through mediation.
In October 2010, Dr. Muigua completed Arbitration Module 4 Course leading to Fellowship to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). He also undertook the Certified Professional in Managing Workplace Conflict from the Mediation Training Institute (International). The following year, on 2nd December 2011, he successfully defended his PhD Thesis titled “Resolving Environmental Conflicts in Kenya through Mediation” at the University of Nairobi.
In 2012, Dr. Muigua graduated with Diploma in Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK). In same year, Dr. Muigua was elected Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya branch) where he served for the next 3 years up to 2015. His tenure as CIArb (Kenya Branch) Chair was pivotal as it marked the constitutional transition period which included efforts to spearhead the mainstreaming of ADR methods into the justice system as envisaged under Article 159 of the Constitution culminating in launch of the Court-Annexed Mediation Pilot in 2015.
In September 2012, Dr. Muigua served as a Consultant of Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and IDLO in preparing a report on the “Framework for the Consolidation and Harmonization of National Policies, Strategies and Legislative Instruments Relating to Access to Justice in Kenya.” In August 2013, he was engaged as a Consultant by the Kenya Land Alliance in preparing a “Review and Analysis of its Draft ADR guide and Training Manual with a view to improve on its contents and structure to match the intended use of offering guidance in resolution of land disputes.”
In 2013, he authored and published the first editions of the two of the leading books on ADR in Kenya: Resolving Conflicts through Mediation in Kenya (2013) and Settling Disputes through Arbitration in Kenya. Settling Disputes through Arbitration is now in its 4th Edition (published in February 2022) and Dr. Muigua has made it available free for download as part of Social Responsibility and mentorship to upcoming Arbitrators.
In 2013, Dr. Muigua also launched the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Journal, the official Journal of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch) Journal, now in its 10th Volume. He continues to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the acclaimed journal which was awarded the Africa’s Arbitration Publication of the Year 2020 at the Africa Arbitration Awards for its authoritative publishing of ADR research and scholarship from across Africa.
In January 2015, Dr. Muigua was conferred the rank of Chartered Arbitrator, the highest status of an Arbitrator. In the same year, he was also admitted as an Accredited Mediator by the Mediation Training Institute (International). In December 2015, Dr. Muigua was awarded the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Chairman’s medal with a citation for exemplary service in December, 2015. He also authored Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice in Kenya (2015). In 2015, Dr. Muigua was also engaged as a consultant by the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution in preparing a “Report for the Institutionalization of Traditional Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (TDRMs) and other Community Justice Systems.
In 2017, Dr. Muigua launched the Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, now in its 8th Volume. The journal has in the last 5 years earned its place as the leading peer-reviewed and most cited and authoritative publications in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. Dr. Kariuki Muigua still leads the editorial board of the Journal as the Publisher and Editor in Chief. In January 2018, he was engaged as a consultant by the Court of Justice of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA Court of Justice) in the Consultancy to Review and Revise COMESA Court of Justice Arbitration Rules (2003).
In 2019, he was voted unopposed as the CIArb Regional Trustee for Africa where he represents Africa at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Board of Trustees which is responsible for all the monies as well as the strategic direction of the Institute. In 2020, he was appointed by the Attorney General as a member of the National Steering Committee for Formulation of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy, 2020 representing the Academia.
In 2021, he scooped the three top ADR Award in Kenya. The first award was the inaugural CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honour ever awarded by the Institution. Dr. Muigua was also voted by his peers in the legal profession as the Law Society of Kenya ADR Practitioner of the Year Award. He also won the ADR Publisher of the Year Award by the CIArb (Kenya) for his numerous publications and research in ADR and arbitration.
Importantly, Dr. Kariuki Muigua has been consistently ranked among the top 10 arbitrators in Kenya for the last five (5) years in a row by the prestigious Chambers & Partners Lawyers Directory. In 2022, Dr. Kariuki Muigua was ranked among the Top 5 Arbitrators (Band 1) by the Chambers Global Guide which described him as having “an astute understanding of arbitration and mediation” and being at the forefront of ADR in Kenya.
Chambers and Partners describes Dr. Muigua as “a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and well known in this space” who is ‘a highly respected arbitrator and mediator, “publishes a lot of articles on alternative dispute resolution and arbitration” and “has been involved in several ground-breaking arbitrations.” It adds that Dr. Muigua is “respected for litigation that touches on commercial, constitutional and environmental law” and as a leading author who “has written a number of books on arbitration referred to by courts and judges.”
Clearly, Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a leading ADR Practitioner in Kenya and across Africa and deserves to be the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 for his contribution in consistently and excellently practicing ADR as Arbitrator, Mediator, Scholar, Publisher, Leader and Consultant. Dr. Kariuki Muigua continues to volunteer and serve as the Tutor and Assessor at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators-Kenya. He is also a prolific writer and has published over hundred articles and papers on Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Dr. Muigua also serves in the Branch Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya). Previously, he served as a Member and Past Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Information Technology (IT) and Member of the Legal Committee of the Institute. He is a Member of Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) International Panel of arbitrators and Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA) Panel of International Arbitrators, Panel of Domestic Arbitrators and Panel of Domestic Mediators.
Highlight of Dr. Kariuki Muigua Arbitration Experience
Dr. Kariuki Muigua has handled arbitrations whose subject matter value is over Ksh. 250 Billion (estimated USD. 200 Million) in the last decade alone. He has handled major international and domestic arbitrations in the areas of renewable energy, employment law, agriculture, natural resources and extractives, construction, shareholder agreements, ICT contracts and equipment, franchising and distributorship and property management. He has been appointed sole arbitrator, member of arbitral tribunal and chairperson of arbitral tribunal under the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration, ICC Arbitration Rules, Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA) Rules and Arbitration Act 1995 (as amended in 2009).
At the international level, Dr. Muigua has handled several high stakes International Arbitrations including acting as a Member of an Arbitral Tribunal a dispute on between an International Energy Company based in Europe and State Corporation of an African country for breach of contract for a regional power transmission tender whose subject matter was over USD 40 Million. He also acted as the sole arbitrator in a case in case involving two international companies which had entered a Joint Operating Agreement for extraction of natural resource where one party was a financier and the subject matter value was over USD. 100,000,000. The reference was conducted under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce and International Court of Arbitration and the ICC Arbitration Rules were applicable here as well as the laws of one of the West African countries. In addition, Dr. Muigua acted as a sole Arbitrator appointed by the London Court of International Arbitration in a claim of USD. 7,000,000 for termination of a contract where the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration were applicable.
Dr. Kariuki Muigua was also the sole arbitrator in a matter between an Export Company and a State Ministry involving a dispute on a tender for the supply and delivery of farm inputs. The claim was over USD 15,000,0000 and the arbitration was conducted in accordance with the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration Rules, 2015. Dr. Muigua also handled a dispute for a contract of over USD 6,000,000 involving an African State National Roads Corporation and an International Construction Contractor for construction of a major road and bridge. He acted as the Chair of the Dispute Adjudication Board which applied the procedural rules annexed to the FIDIC Conditions of Contract, Planned and Designed, 1999 Edition. He also acted as a Member of Tribunal appointed by the London Court of International Arbitration in a Claim affecting a multi-million sale and purchase of shares between two major energy companies in Africa.
In domestic arbitrations in Kenya, Dr. Kariuki Muigua acted as the Sole Arbitrator in a breach of Memorandum of Understanding claim involving subject matter value of Kshs. 1,700,000,000. Dr. Muigua also acted as Chair of a Tribunal in a Claim for the breach of contract in respect of the installation of equipment whose subject matter was over Kshs. 100,000,000. He also acted as Sole Arbitrator in a dispute over sale and distribution of the Respondent’s products within a designated territory where the subject matter was over Kshs. 50,000,000. Dr. Muigua was also the Sole Arbitrator in a claim by a contractor against a Constitutional Commission over a tender to erect and an office and a multipurpose block for Kshs. 45,000,000. He also arbitrated as in a dispute between a property management company and public company over contract to manage the apartments and market them whose subject matter value was approximately Kshs. 150,000,000 as a Sole Arbitrator.
Dr. Muigua also arbitrated in an estate management dispute where the subject matter was over Kshs. 26,000,000,000 as the sole arbitrator under Kenyan law. Dr. Muigua was also the sole arbitrator in an Islamic Banking finance dispute between a transporter and an Islamic bank involving Mudharaba and Murabaha Agreements where claim for special damages was around Kshs.140, 000,000. Other arbitrations handled by Dr. Kariuki Muigua as a sole arbitrator in recent days include a dispute between insurance broker and car dealers for general insurance services over subject matter value of Kshs. 120,000,000, a claim of Ksh. 20,000,000 for a transport contract between a truck company and a State Corporation for the transportation of sensitive products and a claim against a major transport company for the rental of ICT equipment whose subject matter was USD. 100,000.
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
News & Analysis3 months ago
THE TOP 200 ARBITRATORS IN KENYA 2022
Law Firms1 year ago
Nyaanga & Mugisha Advocates: A Full-Service Boutique Law Firm on the Rise
Law Firms1 year ago
IFLR1000 Recognizes Ngeri, Omiti & Bush Advocates, LLP as Top Tier Firm in Kenya
Law Firms5 months ago
TEMPLARS Advised Lagos Free Zone Company (LFZC) on Development of Integrated Gas Network
Law Firms10 months ago
W. Amoko Advocates becomes ANL Law as it Enrolls Two New Partners
Lawyers12 months ago
Top Lawyers in Africa: Senior Counsel John Ohaga, C.Arb., FCIArb., FAIADR (Kenya)
News & Analysis7 months ago
Book Review: Settling Disputes Through Arbitration in Kenya, 4th Edition
News & Analysis4 months ago
Kenyan Father and Son Duo Scoop Africa’s Top Arbitration Awards in 2022