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Way Forward in Embracing Technology for Enhanced Efficiency in Legal Practice



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*

The following are proposals for the way forward in embracing technology for enhanced efficiency in access to justice in the legal profession.

Investing in Legal Technology

The challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought into focus the need to embrace technology as a tool of access to justice in the legal profession. Legal technology such as the use of virtual court sessions has now been embraced by the judiciary. Further, law firms have embraced legal technology through aspects such as remote working. While this technology has been widely adopted due to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for both the judiciary and law practitioners to continue embracing legal technology post COVID-19. This necessitates investment in legal technology in order to enhance efficiency, cost effectiveness and expeditiousness in the administration of justice. Investment in technology is also crucial in helping lawyers and law firms to reap from the fruits of globalization and enhance their appeal at the global stage.

Lawyers can use the technology to tap into the ever growing international Alternative modes of Dispute Resolution such as international arbitration, mediation and Online Disputes Resolution (ODR) especially in the face of rapidly growing networking and borderless legal practice, with the introduction of diverse social media platforms that allow interconnectivity beyond the national boundaries and enabling crossborder relationships between clients and their lawyers and law firms amongst themselves. They should tap into the tremendous growth of international trade, interstate deals, bilateral and multilateral treaties, where legal practice is increasingly becoming global and smart practitioners must therefore up their game with international best practices as with the advent of internet, telecommunication systems, clients are no longer limited to lawyers in their regions nor are they limited to the need for legal services within their jurisdiction. Investment in legal technology is likely to enhance the role of the judiciary in the administration of justice and promote the success of law firms.

Safeguarding the Privacy of Data

The use of legal technology is associated with certain risks and challenges as far as data is concerned such as cyber-attacks and data breaches. There is need for the legal profession to invest in data protection infrastructure in order to enhance efficiency and protect clients’ data regardless of the status of the local data protection laws. This may also necessitate relooking into the existing laws on data protection in order to enhance their effectiveness. Further, it is essential to equip players in the legal profession such as judges and lawyers with necessary skills and knowledge regarding data protection including information security management. Through this, it becomes possible to guarantee the privacy, confidentiality and integrity of data available to legal practitioners.

Rolling Out E-Literacy Training/Education

As the legal profession continues to embrace technology, there is need for sustained and enhanced e-literacy training on the efficient use of such technology. The training should target all players in the legal profession including judicial officers, lawyers and staff. The Judiciary can liaise with relevant stakeholders including the government and technology firms in order to facilitate such training. Such training should also target law students whereby law schools should design relevant courses to be included in their curricula in order to arm them with relevant skills. The training should also target the public in order to enable citizens have meaningful interaction with the justice sector through platforms such as the e-filing portal. Such training can enhance the capacity of judicial officers and lawyers and contribute towards enhanced use of legal technology. Further, staff such as law clerks should also be trained on the use of legal technology in order to prevent the risk of losing jobs by ensuring that they are adept with new developments and are able to discharge their roles through the use of technology.

Capacity Building

With the ongoing investment in physical infrastructure to enhance the use of technology in the administration of justice, there is need to put in place legal and institutional frameworks to not only facilitate the uptake of technological developments but also to ensure that there is an effective regulatory framework to deal with numerous challenges that arise from legal technology. Institutions such as the Law Society of Kenya should enhance their capacity and that of lawyers in legal technology through measures such as incorporating training in Information Communication Technology (ICT) in its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training. Further, legal institutions such as the judiciary and law firms should be collaborative, diverse, international, technologically friendly, and entrepreneurial in order to enhance their capacity in the use of legal technology.

Enhanced e-filing and service of Court Pleadings and Documents

The judiciary should consider fully adopting and shifting to electronic systems for filing documents. This would save both law firms and courts enormous resources in terms of finances and storage facilities for the hardcopy documents. It would also enhance efficiency in terms of accessibility and review of the documents as both sides can access the documents from anywhere. All that is required is enhancing the security of such data to safeguard privacy. This can be achieved through investing in modern infrastructure as well as offering information management training to the staff charged with such.

Amendment of Remuneration order to guide on Legal fees payment by clients

The traditional remuneration technique by lawyers generally entail billing for time and services offered based on the Advocates Remuneration Order. However, there is need to implore members of the Bar to transition away from the traditional billable time and services system to alternative billing strategies by understanding that apart from “legal services” and “time”, lawyers are also selling knowledge, which may include fixed, results based, hourly, graduated, or any such combination. This situation is further enhanced by legal technology that allows lawyers to serve clients or attend court virtually without the need for physical meetings. This therefore creates a need to consider amending/revising the current Remuneration Order so as to accommodate these new possibilities.

A Possibility for Virtual Law Firms in Kenya

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the closure of some law firms law firms with others allowing employees to work from home a situation that still persists at the moment. This situation has seen cases where some law firms have decided to close their physical offices and turning to virtual firms where their employees will permanently work from home. There is a possibility that this trend will continue with lawyers turning to virtual law firms due to the flexibility and cost effectiveness associated with running such firms. It is thus argued that for the profession to stay relevant and thrive, lawyers should consider investing in modern legal practices such virtual law firms in order to reap from the benefits of technology59 . However, the growth of virtual law firms will inevitably come with certain challenges including those of regulation. The regulators of provision of legal services should adequately prepare to respond to the impact of technology on law practice and lawyer regulation, including the growth in cloud computing, virtual law offices, and outsourcing of legal services60

Globalization of Legal Services through Enhanced Law Firms Collaboration

Some law firms in Kenya have already tapped into the benefits of legal technology by collaborating with other firms in Africa and beyond. Examples of such law firms in Kenya include Bowmans, Iseme Kamau & Maema (IKM) Advocates and Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews that have that have expanded their reach in Africa and beyond through alliances with other firms and opening offices in foreign countries. Such alliances give law firms a global appeal with the ability to access a wider clientele where they are able to tap into the benefits of technology to serve clients across different jurisdictions. There is need for more local firms to consider the idea in order to broaden their services and serve clients across different jurisdictions.

*This article is an extract from published article Embracing Technology for Enhanced Efficiency and Access to Justice in the Legal Profession,” 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., “Embracing Technology for Enhanced Efficiency and Access to Justice in the Legal Profession,” Available at: (accessed 03 July 2022).

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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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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