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Litigation Hall of Fame: James Ochieng’ Oduol, C.Arb.

James Ochieng’ Oduol is ranked among the top ten (10) litigation lawyers and arbitrators in Kenya.

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TripleOKLaw Advocates, LLP Senior Partner and Co-Chair of Dispute Resolution James Ochieng' Oduol.

James Ochieng’ Oduol is one of top ten (10) most respected and accomplished litigation and arbitration counsel in Kenya. He boasts 36 years’ experience in legal practice at every level of the Kenyan Courts and Tribunals, in Regional Courts and before International Courts, Tribunals and Specialized Forums around the world and stands out for his matchless zeal and dedication, whether appearing before highest or the lowest court in land, acting for the high and mighty or his humble pro bono clients, in putting forward the best possible case for his client(s). Described as “a captivating presence in the courtroom,” James is a master of constitutional interpretation and has successfully acted as Lead Counsel in many and diverse precedent setting cases at the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Kenya, Local Tribunals, Regional Courts, International Forums and beyond.

Known for his enthusiasm in the pursuit of rule of law, James is internationally recognized as a distinguished legal practitioner and constantly ranks among the leading Dispute Resolution experts in Kenya. As the Co-Chair of Dispute Resolution at TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP, James has contributed immensely in the maintaining the firm’s “impressive standing in commercial litigation, constitutional cases, corporate fraud, land fraud, employment cases and disputes involving financially distressed parties.” According to The Legal 500, he is “highly regarded for constitutional cases” and “excellent court representation.” Chambers Global Guide 2021 describe James as “a proficient litigator who handles high-profile cases” who is “impressive on his feet” and is also “singled out for his alternative dispute resolution expertise.”

He is experienced in constitutional and judicial review matters, commercial litigation, tax law, employment disputes, banking law, insurance law, ADR and arbitration among others and has worked on numerous landmark court cases and made important contributions to jurisprudence in Kenya. Some of the reported cases where James acted include Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) & another v Okiya Omtatah Okoiti & 6 others (at Court of Appeal and Supreme Court), CBK v Richardson & David Limited & Another, National Bank of Kenya Ltd v Wilson Ndolo Ayah [2009] eKLR, Andy Forwarders Services Limited & another v PwC (Kenya) & another [2012] eKLR,  Akber Abdullah Kassam Esmail v Equip Agencies Ltd & 4 others [2014] eKLR and Mike Maina Kamau v The Attorney General, Raila Odinga & 2 others v IEBC & 3 others [2013] eKLR, Evans Odhiambo Kidero & 4 others v Ferdinand Ndungu Waititu & 4 others [2014] eKLR,  United States International University (USIU) v Eric Rading’ Outa and Samsung East Africa Ltd v Koki Muia.

In tribunals, James represented one of Kenya’s largest private companies before the Tax Tribunal in a case where KRA demanded payment of more than Kshs 1.3 Billion alleging, inter alia, undervaluation of value added tax and duty payable on the contract due to tariff misclassification and value undervaluation. The Company was disputing the allegations and objected to the methodology and parameters used to assess import duty. He also represented Central Bank of Kenya before the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board in a multi-billion tender dispute touching on the design and printing of the Kenya’s Currency where an Associate of one of the tenderers challenged the award of the tender. The Board proceeded to cancel the tender and order a fresh evaluation of the bids on the ground that the successful bidder was not entitled to a 15% margin of preference and the matter proceeded to High Court for Judicial Review, to the Court of appeal and to the Supreme Court.

At regional level, James has handled several matters as Lead Counsel at the East African Court of Justice and the COMESA Court of Justice. Recently, he represented the Central Bank of Kenya in a case before the East African Court of Justice in Arusha against a claim by large depositors of a bank placed under receivership who alleged breach of the EAC Treaty. James also acted for a former president of the Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) who sued the Bank’s Board and acting President at the COMESA Court of Justice in three references for wrongful dismissal seeking to stop the PTA Board from replacing him before the determination of a case in which he challenged his removal and the commitment of the Management of the Bank to jail for contempt of court.

At the international level, James represented a former Secretary General of Athletics Kenya before the Court of Arbitration for Sports, Lausanne, Switzerland in an Appeal against the decision of the IAAF Ethics Board on charges of breach of the IAAF Code of Conduct. James also represented Kenya Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA) before the IAAF Ethics Board in Monaco in a case where a veteran Kenyan Athlete sued the IAAF and KAAA after the former banned him for four years for refusal to take a random drug test from an IAAF medical team. James has also represented clients at the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) and successfully obtained a UNDT finding that his client was unlawfully suspended by United Nations Office Nairobi (UNON) and challenged the tribunal finding upholding the charge of insubordination at the United Nations Appeals Tribunal in New York, United States. James also represented a Procurement Director of UNON in a challenge against the decision of the UNON Director-General to create a post that undermined his position.

James has wide experience in arbitration in both domestic and international commercial arbitration as an arbitrator and party representative.  He has been involved in representing clients in International Arbitration including cases involving the enforcement and resistance of International Awards (under the New York Convention) and Sports Arbitration. James has acted in dozens of domestic and international commercial arbitrations and was the arbitrator in the multibillion dispute between Synergy Industrial Credit Ltd and Cape Holdings Ltd, the subject of precedent-setting litigation at the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on the right of appeal and the finality of the arbitral process in Kenya. He has undertaken extensive Arbitration training including a course in International Commercial Arbitration Course at Keble College, Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is an admitted Chartered Arbitrator.

Admitted to the bar on 12th October 1987, James worked as an associate at Mereka & Company Advocates and Ngobi & Co. Advocates. He founded Ochieng’ Oduol & Company Advocates in 1993 and run the firm until April 2002 when it merged to become Ochieng’ Oduol, Onyango & Ohaga Advocates. In January 2003, the firm became Ochieng’, Onyango, Kibet & Ohaga, Advocates with James becoming Senior Partner. In February 2013, the firm was renamed TripleOKLaw Advocates, LLP and James maintained his Senior Partner position. He graduated with a Master of Laws (LL.M) Degree from University of Warwick in 1993, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1986 and Diploma in Laws from Kenya School of Law in 1987. He is a Member of Law Society of Kenya (LSK), East African Law Society (EALS), Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), Institute of Certified Secretaries (ICS) and Commonwealth Lawyers Association.

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Eric Kivuva: Reset and Calibrate for a Nairobi LSK Branch that Delights Members

“My vision is for a Nairobi Branch that delights members because things work as they should to improve practice, welfare, and mentorship,” Eric Kivuva.

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Eric Kivuva, Senior Partner at McKay Advocates and Nairobi LSK Branch Chair Candidate

By Eric Kivuva, Nairobi LSK Branch Chair Candidate 2024-2026

Nairobi Branch has had stability over the last few years but we seem to have stagnated on protecting and advocating for improvements in the practice environment and have become superficial about the real welfare issues of members. The time is nigh for us to reset our leadership and the branch. It is time to replace stagnation in practice with progress; Public relations in member care with results-oriented action; silence with empathy, disconnection with engagement. It is time for a reset and calibration of the branch for positive, progressive impact on our practice and welfare.

My Promise: To make Nairobi branch a truly world class branch when it comes to championing a better practice environment and more opportunities for members.

My Agenda: Our practice environment is not conducive for many advocates because of the bottlenecks that exist. We must prioritize practice matters if each one of us is to have a thriving practice so that you can not only meet your needs but also have a little more to create positive impact in the society.

My Reset and Calibrate Agenda

Agenda 1: Protect and Progress Practice Areas

  • Diligently follow through with implementation of CUCs and Bar-Bench Committee recommended actions.
  • Be proactive in monitoring changes in the legal sector and take measures to ensure advocates are not negatively affected by those changes.
  • Eliminate bottlenecks in practice areas specifically by championing efficiency at all registries i.e. Land Registries, Court Registries, Company Registries and KIPI.
  • Support the fight against corruption in the judiciary and the elimination of facilitation fees.

Agenda 2: Adoption of Emerging Practice Areas

  • Establish the emerging practice areas committee
  • Encourage greater collaboration with inhouse counsel to widen the practice space
  • Develop a simple guide to practice management

Agenda 3: Mentorship and Unity of the bar

  • Institute a practice mentorship program within the branch to equip members with skills and tools to help them build thriving practices.
  • Expand branch social activities and increase the frequency of the events to involve as many members as possible.

My Track Record

I have made significant contributions to the Nairobi branch without holding an elected position.

  1. I have been a staunch supporter of the Nairobi Branch, contributing through member donations and sponsoring numerous branch events.
  2. ⁠I played a pivotal role in establishing one of our most beloved traditions, the Nairobi Branch Quiz Night, alongside our esteemed first chair, Charles Kanjama, to foster camaraderie among members.
  3. ⁠I offered leadership during the organization of the first-ever LSK elections debate, where I not only facilitated as the MC but also ensured the event’s seamless execution.
  4. ⁠I contributed to the conceptualization of the Nairobi Legal Awards in 2021 organized by the Nairobi Branch and the inaugural Nrb Branch Christmas carols event.
  5. ⁠I consistently support the Nairobi branch financially and has served as a speaker at multiple branch events, most recently at a cocktail organized by the branch in August 2023.
  6. ⁠In recognition of my unwavering dedication, I was honored with the Committed Service Award in 2022, bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment to branch activities.

There is no question that Nairobi LSK Branch holds a special place in my heart and that makes me the ideal candidate to lead the LSK Nairobi branch to new heights in the next two years.

My Vision for Nairobi Branch

My vision is for a Nairobi Branch that delights members because things work as they should to improve practice, welfare, and mentorship.

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Irene Kiwool: My Track Record and Call to PACT for Better Nairobi LSK

Irene Kiwool is calling for a PACT towards a Progressive and an All-Inclusive LSK Nairobi Branch Bar.

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Irene Kiwool is running for LSK Nairobi Council Member 2024-2026 on PACK Agenda.

DownloadIrene Kiwool’s Manifesto for Nairobi LSK Council Member 2024-2026(PDF)

WHO IS IRENE KIWOOL?

I am an advocate with 14 years post admission experience and a partner at Muchemi & Co. Advocates. For the past 6 years, my unwavering dedication and commitment to the bar has been evident through active participation on several Nairobi Branch Committees. This engagement has not only sharpened my legal acumen but has also allowed me to make meaningful contributions and impact to our legal community. I believe it is this commitment and dedication to our legal practice that led to my nomination as the Commercial and Conveyancing Practitioner of the Year in 2022 and listed among the Top 100 Real Estate and Finance Lawyers in Kenya in 2023.

WHAT IS MY TRACK RECORD?

Dedicated Leadership and Service

I have served diligently on the following committees:

  • Lands Liaison Committee
  • Commercial Practice Committee
  • ICT and IP (KIPI) Liaison Committee
  • Judicial Review Bar -Bench Committee
  • Devolution and Law Reform Committee
  • Ardhisasa Technical committee

Legal Practice Protection and Reform

I have played a pivotal role in safeguarding the legal practice and spearheading key reforms that support our profession and protecting our bread and butter.  Notable contributions include:

  • The gazettement of the Regulations on Electronic Conveyancing (The Land Registration (Electronic Transactions) Regulations, 2020),
  • The gazettement of The Regulations on Extension and Renewal of Leases (Land Extension and Renewal of Leases) Rules, 20l7.)
  • Development of a comprehensive Conversion Manual, which guides practitioners on the process to convert Land Titles and Deeds issued under the repealed land laws.
  • The manual is available on the Ministry of Lands Website.

Proactive Advocacy for Efficient Systems

I have been at the forefront lobbying and driving for improvements on the Ardhisasa System, to enhance its user-friendliness, responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness. Through my proactive engagements, we have achieved significant upgrades, unlocked key registrations at the Nairobi Registration Unit and facilitated the development and dissemination of training materials on the use of the Ardhisasa system.

NOTABLE UPGRADES:

  • Filing of Consolidated applications
  • Introduction of a Progress Status bar to track registration status
  • Reduced timelines for the registration of Foreign Accounts
  • Enhanced system functionalities including editing applications
  • Comprehensive upload capabilities for chargee’s covenants, previously limited to 500 words activation of several registration forms conducting
  • Searches without proprietor’s consent through an Advocate account for unconverted or unenumerated properties cleared by Ministry of Lands

UNLOCKED REGISTRATIONS 

  • Long -term leases through the Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Lands and LSK
  • Where modules are inactive registration is manual by seeking exemption from the Registrar
  • Manual registration for inactive modules by requesting for an exemption to register through the Chief Land Registrar
  • Transfers by Chargee
  • Deed of Variations of Charges
  • Replacement of lost Titles and reconstruction of the register.

WHY THE PACT AGENDA?

I am committed to honoring the PACT (Protect, Account, Champion and Track), by continuing to serve members, this time as a council member. With your vote, together, we can bring inclusivity, integrity, innovation and impactful change to our resident bar.

PROTECT  

  • Protect members bread and butter by prioritizing practice issues and defend against challenges from whatever source. Develop a proactive stance to anticipate and mitigate risks before they impact our members.
  • Lobby for the establishment of a Practice Forward Committee aimed at monitoring emerging challenges in the legal practice, focusing on the welfare of Advocates, the emerging areas of legal practice and recommending implementable solutions. This initiative would ensure that Advocates are well supported and equipped to navigate the evolving complexities of the legal field.
  • Lobby for creation of an online Nairobi Branch Members Directory that is publicly accessible, allowing Members of the public to easily locate and engage legal counsel thereby increasing visibility and accessibility for our members.
  • Lobby and develop a tracking mechanism to weed out masqueraders and unqualified persons through a justice multi- stakeholder approach

ACCOUNT

  • Advocate for Accountability and Transparency of Branch operations and financial affairs.
  • Lobby for the adoption and implementation of a stakeholder and institutional accountability tool to monitor and enhance service delivery across key partner institutions (the courts; the Land Registration Units, BRS, Ecitizen, KRA, Registrar of persons, Tribunals among other’s). This tool will aim to ensure transparency, responsiveness and efficiency, proactively addressing challenges and optimizing resource utilization Advocate for prudent utilization of Branch funds to maximize the benefits to our members.

CHAMPION

  • Champion and spearhead legal reforms that reflect current needs and future challenges with the aim to strengthen and grow members’ practice.
  • Champion for strategic networking engagements, collaboration and knowledge exchange.
  • Establish dynamic forums and platforms for members to leverage expertise and access valuable resources thus contributing to members individual growth, overall development and innovation within the legal practice.
  • Champion and spearhead the drafting and publication of a comprehensive manual that provides guidance on electronic conveyancing aiming to streamline and enhance conveyancing practice.

TRACK

  • Establish a tracking system to regularly assess the welfare support mechanisms in place, ensuring they effectively contribute to the progression and growth of members.
  • Track the effectiveness of the mentorship program and develop strategic policies to expand the pool of mentors and enhance the quality of mentorship.
  • Lobby for the establishment and implementation of a performance metric’s system to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of branch committees. This metrics will be reviewed periodically to foster continuous improvement.

CURRENT ROLES THAT ALIGN WITH THE PACT AGENDA

  1. Member of the Co -ordinating Committee that is tasked with the mandate to co-ordinate the review of the National Land Policy.
  2. Member of the Nairobi Lands Justice Working Group whose mandate is to identify the root causes and address systemic and endemic challenges in the administration of land justice in Nairobi County.
  3. Member at the Lands and Housing Sector Board Committee at KEPSA and public Policy and Advocacy Committee at KPDA.
  4. Member of the Kenya School of Law Mentorship programme.

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Njoki Mboce: I am Members Project for LSK President

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By Njoki Mboce for LSK President 2024-2026 Team

Today, LSK faces an existential threat from those who seek to compromise its mandate by aligning with the regime in ongoing attempts to undermine the place of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and erode the Rule of Law. This has the potential to regress the country to a state of impunity and dictatorship reminiscent of the past.

In such turbulent times, the LSK requires a leader who is resolute, decisive, and impartial. Harriet Njoki Mboce is this suitable leader, with a firm reputation, who will speak Truth to power in the face of encroaching dictatorship.

The actions of a candidate are a mirror of who they are, and what they will be in office. If a candidate wants the office at all costs, and abuses members’ trust to get there, they will have no integrity while in office. Harriet Njoki Mboce is unequivocally the LSK Members’ project. Boldly and firmly acting to defend Independence of the BAR, institutions, and the Rule of Law, she has maintained this commitment throughout her campaigns for President of LSK. This offers a strong basis to fearlessly champion members’ interests and protect the BAR from capture by the State and unscrupulous cartels.

Growing up, I dreamt of being a Navy Officer. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would one day be seeking the Presidency of an organisation previously led by impeccable names such as SC Gibson Kamau Kuria, SC Pheroze Nowrojee, SC Paul Muite, SC Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga (CJ Emeritus) and SC Raychelle Omamo, among others. It has taken resilience and a high dose of firm, and bold commitment to get here.

LSK requires a leader to withstand the pressure within and without, and to take the heat on behalf of the membership, whenever the Country and the Society’s living tenets come under threat. This resilience as a quality in the President of LSK enables me in a big way to see the wider horizon of the environment we operate in, to prepare for the storms and to boldly and firmly focus and act on our bigger mandate.

Come elections day, 29th February, 2024, I invite members to ask themselves: Which candidate shows real signs that they will not be corrupted, will run an accountable organisation and will sustain the moral and probity to place the LSK on a path of Independence? I humbly seek your vote to bring this desire home. Please vote for the Member’s project, Harriet Njoki Mboce, HSC for President of The Law Society of Kenya (2024-2026)

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