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National Environment Tribunal Awarded the Best Performing Tribunal in Kenya



Members of the National Environment Tribunal with Environment and Forestry CS Kariako Tobiko during the Award

The National Environment Tribunal has been awarded as the best performing Tribunal in Kenya for handling the most cases. The current members of the Tribunal who include Mohammed Balala (Chairperson), Christine M. Kipsang (Vice Chairperson), Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Member), Bahati Wamuye (Member), Waithaka Ngaruiya (Member) and Bellinda Akello (Secretary/CEO) were feted during the celebrations held at Michuki Park on Wednesday and presided over by Environment and Forestry CS Kariako Tobiko and Deputy Chief Justice of Kenya Lady Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu. National Environment Tribunal was ranked the best in the caseload category in an evaluation exercise covering 2019 and 2020.

NET is one of Kenya’s two specialized fora for adjudicating environmental matters besides the Environment and Land Court. The tribunal is established under Section 125 of the Environment Management and Coordination Act (Cap 387 of the Laws of Kenya). The Mandate and jurisdiction of the Tribunal is provided under section 129 (1) and 129(2) of EMCA, Section 70(2) of the Forest Conservation and Management Act and Section 25(6) of the Wildlife conservation and Management Act. Its principal function is to receive, hear and determine appeals arising from decisions of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on issuance, denial or revocation of environmental impact assessment (EIA) licenses, among other decisions, the decisions of Kenya Wildlife services (KWS) through the Ministerial wildlife conservation and compensation committee and those of the Kenya forest services (KFS).

The Membership of consist of a person nominated by the Judicial Service Commission, who shall be a person qualified for appointment as a judge of the Environment and Land Court of Kenya, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya nominated by the Law Society of Kenya, a lawyer with professional qualifications in environmental law appointed by the Cabinet Secretary and three persons with demonstrated competence in environmental matters, including but not limited to land, energy, mining, water, forestry, wildlife and maritime affairs. The quorum for hearing or determining any cause or matter before the Tribunal under the Act shall be three members.

The Chairman of National Environment Tribunal, Mohammed Balala, is a member of the Law Society of Kenya and the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya and has practiced law for the last 25 years, having completed undergraduate studies in Law from Queensland, Australia in 1994. He is currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in Oil and Gas. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a trustee of the Thune Foundation, a private heritage and cultural trust focused in preservation of Lamu’s historical and world heritage sites. Mohammed has also previously served as a Chairman of the Mombasa Law Society, the Coast Chapter of the Law Society of Kenya. Mohammed has acted and advised on a number of important matters and been engaged in a number of high profile election petitions from the High Court, Court of Appeal up to the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Christine Kipsang, the Vice Chairperson of National Environment Tribunal, is an Advocate of over 20 years standing, the Managing Partner of Christine Kipsang and Company Advocates, a Mombasa and Nairobi based law firm offering a range of legal services and specializing in Notary Services, Legal Audit, Adoptions, Conveyance, Litigation, Divorcé, Debt Collection and Company Formation, Trusts and Foundations Registration, legal research and offering legal opinions. She is the immediate former Vice Chairperson of Mombasa Law Society, an Accredited Mediator and Arbitrator and a renowned Family law specialist.

Bahati Mwamuye, MBS graduated from the University of Manchester’s School of Law in 2005; with a Second Class Honors, Upper Division. After returning to Kenya he proceeded to the Kenya School of Law where he obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Law. In January 2007, he joined the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and was admitted to the Roll of Advocates on 8th May, 2008. He excelled in his role as a Tax Auditor within the Kenya Revenue Authority’s Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) where he conducted numerous tax audits of some of the Kenya’s largest enterprises and received a number of awards for achieving outstanding revenue collections. He is currently a partner at Bahati Mwamuye & Associates and previously served as Managing Partner of Mwamuye, Kimathi & Kimani Advocates. He has served in a number of Presidential Commissions

Waithaka Ngaruiya is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya of over 11 years standing and the Founding and Managing Partner of Waithaka & Associates Advocates where he practices Planning, Environment, Local Government & Land Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Commercial Law and General Practice. He has acted in several high profile cases including for Investment Co-operative Societies, Foreign Nationals and Victims of International Crimes and for Non-Profits and Lobbies including most recently for Youth Advocacy Africa in challenging the authenticity of the degree certificate of a gubernatorial candidate for Nairobi County.

Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Member of National Environmental Tribunal (NET) nominated by Law Society of Kenya since 2017. He was recently crowned the African Arbitrator of the Year 2022 and was named the ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021/2 by the Nairobi Law Society. He is a leading environmental law scholar and practitioner and has handled numerous cases in the area besides teaching and supervising undergraduate and graduate students in environmental law at the University of Nairobi. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is also the author of eight books on environmental law, dispute resolution and sustainable development. He was also the winner of the inaugural CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to the members, National Environmental Tribunal (NET) has a full time CEO/Secretary, Ms. Bellinda Akello, who oversees day to day administration of the Tribunal was appointed in 29th October 2019 replacing the acting CEO, who was an administrator appointed by the Judiciary. Belinda is also of the Law Society of Kenya Senior Counsel Committee. Linda, as she is fondly referred to in the profession, has a degree in Law from the University of Nairobi and a post graduate diploma from Kenya School of Law. She has two Masters Degrees in Public Policy and Diplomacy, as well as a Graduate certificate in Public administration, from the Australian National University. She also has a major in Internal Business Administration, and a minor in Finance, from the United States International University. She previously served as NLC Deputy Director Legal and oversees members of staff from both the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and, the Judiciary.

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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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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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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