Dispute resolution in Kenya

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews remains highly rated for constitutional and administrative law disputes, banking and insurance cases, along with tax, employment, and energy and infrastructure matters. The firm is also becoming increasingly prominent in international arbitration. Head of the litigation department, Kenneth Fraser SC has nearly 50 years experience in litigation and arbitration, and continues to act in some of the biggest banking and insurance cases in the market. Kiragu Kimani is also hugely experienced, notably in commercial and tax disputes. Michi Kirimi provides further senior-level experience in banking and insurance, employment, constitutional and commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Fraser SC

Other key lawyers:

Kiragu Kimani; Michi Kirimi; Ezra Makori  

Testimonials

The team was very professional and competent. They have been very responsive and accessible, and have always kept me fully informed about the status of my case. They did excellent work regarding the mediation process, and now regarding the legal issues related to the sale of my property.

Ezra Makori has a very personable and friendly style and approach which I greatly appreciated, as it enhanced our ability to communicate effectively, particularly during the mediation process. I was always very impressed with the legal expertise which Mr Makori demonstrated while dealing with my case, and the valuable advice he offered me.

Key clients

VFS Global

Geothermal Development Company

UAP Life Assurance Company

Kenya Power & Lighting Company (KPLC)

Gulf Energy

Bata Brands and Bata Shoe Kenya

Echotel

Delmonte Kenya

Ingredion

Kengen Retirement Benefits Scheme

Work highlights

  • Represented a global visa service facilitation provider serving governments and diplomatic missions worldwide in a constitutional petition filed against the client and several others alleging violations of various constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • Represented UAP Life Assurance Company in The High Court in an appeal from the decision of the Tax Appeals Tribunal for a pay as you earn assessment on payments made by the client to insurance agents.
  • Acted for Kengen SRBS, a pension scheme in charge of developing and safeguarding retirement benefits, in a claim before an arbitrator.

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates

Kaplan & Stratton Advocates has one of the largest dispute resolution teams in the market, leading the profession in litigation and arbitration. The firm has an outstanding record in constitutional and judicial review cases, shareholder litigation and other commercial disputes. It has gained further recognition for its engagements in insolvency and receivership cases, tax disputes and international arbitrations. Fred Ojiambo is a doyen of the litigation and arbitration scene, while Peter Gachuhi is another senior name in the market. Nazima Malik is a leader in tax disputes, including transfer pricing cases. Esther Kinyenje and Cosima Wetende are prominent names in employment disputes. Peter Njeru is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Fred Ojiambo

Other key lawyers:

Peter Gachuhi; Nazima Malik; Esther Kinyenje; Cosima Wetende; Peter Njeru; James Muthui,

Testimonials

‘Top notch bunch. You can count on them and they are easily dependable. ’

‘I found them to be very professional, responsive, strategic in their thinking and solution oriented. They also have the necessary expertise and experience required to support our business.’

‘Fred Ojiambo and Peter Gachuhi are brilliant litigators. They have out of the box solutions for any legal conundrum.

‘James Muthui is an excellent professional, with splendid negotiation skills, albeit quick and sharp if required to instigate proceedings. Great drafting skills also.’

‘Esther Kinyenje is very knowledgeable and experienced in employment and labour relations matters and in litigation.’

Key clients

Unilever Kenya

Tata Chemicals Magadi

British American Tobacco Kenya

AON Minet Kenya

Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa

East Africa Breweries

Safaricom

Pricewaterhousecoopers

Dyncorp International

CMA CGM Kenya

Samsung

Oracle Corporation

Care International

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the East African Development Bank in respect of various injunction applications in receivership proceedings against Dari and its directors.
  • Successfully represented Care International in a dispute against the Kenya Revenue Authority, which wished to apply pay as you earn tax to expatriate wages despite the existence of a bilateral agreement with the Kenyan government.
  • Acted for AEE Power as claimant in an international arbitration and High Court civil case against the Kenya Power & Lighting Company, regarding breach of two contracts for the procurement of plant, design, supply and installation of extensions of LV Single Phase Lines and service cable as part of the Last Mile Connectivity Project.

Oraro & Company Advocates

Oraro & Company Advocates has market-leading dispute resolution expertise. George Oraro SC and Chacha Odera are two of the most prominent litigators in the market. The team continues to land some of the biggest engagements in commercial litigation, constitutional and administrative law, tax, employment, insolvency and international arbitration. It is widely recognised for his prime roles in headline judicial review cases, insolvency litigation and major contract disputes. It represents an impressive number of Kenya and East Africa's biggest corporates and organisations. Noella  Lubano is noted for cases concerning financial institutions and insolvency and restructuring disputes.

Practice head(s):

George Oraro SC; Chacha Odera

Other key lawyers:

Noella Lubano

Key clients

Central Bank of Kenya

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT)

National Bank of Kenya

County Assemblies Forum

Trade and Development Bank

Toyota Kenya

Bank of Africa

Ecobank Kenya

Bidco Africa

Telkom

Work highlights

  • Acted for the County Assemblies Forum which is the representative body of MCAs in Kenya in a matter that sought to challenge the decision of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to call for the 2017 general elections before the end of the constitutionally prescribed term of office for Members of County Assemblies, which is five years.
  • Represented KDIC (the receiver manager for Chase Bank) as lead counsel in obtaining a mareva injunction/freezing order to preserve the subject matter of the suit.
  • Successfully represented the National Bank of Kenya in resisting a claim for over $150m, concerning  a claim for breach of contract and damages arising from a contract for the sale of land.

Anjarwalla & Khanna

Anjarwalla & Khanna stands out for its expertise in mainstream commercial litigation and international arbitration, as well as white-collar defence, anti-corruption and investigations. The firm is unique in having an integrated non-legal forensics and corporate investigations team, headed by Willie Oelofse. It represents some of the biggest international and national brands that operate in the East Africa market. Aisha Abdallah has an outstanding record in commercial litigation, fraud, anti-corruption and money laundering cases. Director Luisa Cetina provides further international expertise in investigations, white-collar criminal law and arbitration. Faith Macharia was promoted to partner in January 2020.

Practice head(s):

Aisha Abdallah

Other key lawyers:

Luisa Cetina; Faith Macharia; Willie Oelofse

Testimonials

‘Excellent team with great expertise in arbitration and litigation and vast knowledge of the market and the laws. High ethical standards and professionalism, unquestionable integrity, team spirit, dynamism and enthusiasm. They are second to none.’

‘Their ability to comprehend client briefs and interpret them into solvable problems, the speed at which they do this, and their clarity of thought are beyond what I have experienced in a long time.’

‘I had the chance to work with Aisha Abdallah and the team and was always impressed by their business savvy, efficiency, deep knowledge and excellent advocacy skills. Aisha is a highly talented lawyer, excelling in both personal qualities and professional skills. She is a fearsome opponent that delivers the fatal blow with a lot of class, confidence and lethal calm.’

Aisha Abdallah is user-friendly and commercial and pragmatic in her approach and advice.

‘Faith Macharia has unique legal capabilities. Her ability to grasp issues and argue them out in court is is beyond any experience I have come across.’

‘We have been especially impressed with Faith Macharia and her demonstrable commitment to excellence and attention placed on assisting us to achieve our objectives.’

‘My senior contact is Luisa Cetina, who is erudite, exceptionally intelligent, and a world class lawyer.’

‘Luisa Cetina had excellent judgment in handling the matter, displayed extensive knowledge of the law and was a tough negotiator. ’

Luisa Cetina and Willie Oelofse work in the investigations team and have a unique offering for the Kenyan market, hence they are in demand and have carved a niche for themselves.

Key clients

Heineken International

Africa Oil Corporation

Gamcode trading as Betin

The Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI)

Kipeto Energy

Brookhouse Schools

Farouk Ravate

Kenya Airways

Gold Crown Beverages

African Cotton Industries

SWVL

Siemens Energy

Mars Wrigley

Flamingo Horticulture

China Wu Yi

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Heineken Group in connection with a disputed termination of distribution agreements, where the distributors had obtained an interim injunction to stop the intended termination.
  • Acted for Africa Oil Corporation Africa, Oil Turkana and Africa Oil, in connection with contentious  judicial review proceedings commenced in 2010 by Interstate Petroleum Company against the Ministry for Energy, our clients, and a number of other parties challenging the grant of Petroleum Sharing Contracts (PSC) to Africa Oil over oil blocks 10BA, 10BB, 11A, 11B, 12A and 13T in Northern Kenya at the High Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Acted for Gamcode, trading as Betin, against the Kenya Revenue Authority in connection with a case in Kenya in multi-forums, concerning what constitutes ‘winnings’ under the Income Tax Act.

Bowmans

Bowmans has an established presence in intellectual property disputes, international arbitration, tax litigation and insolvency cases. A large proportion of the team’s disputes have a cross-border element. Evans Monari is at the forefront of constitutional and judicial review cases. Terry Mwango is noted for tax and insolvency litigation. Cecil Kuyo is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Evans Monari

Other key lawyers:

Terry Mwango; Cecil Kuyo

Key clients

Eaton Towers Kenya Limited (presently known as ATC Kenya Operations Limited)

CMC Di Ravena-Itenera JV

WPP Scangroup

Deloitte Consulting Tanzania

Africa Oil Kenya

Deloitte & Touche Tohmatsu

Strabag International GMBH

Avic International Real Estate

Text Book Centre

Absa Bank Kenya

Work highlights

  • Acted for WPP Scangroup in an order to obtain the leave of the court to allow public listed companies to hold virtual general meetings due to the imposition of restrictions against public gatherings in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
  • Acted for the CMC Di Ravena-Itenera JV in a matter relating to alleged misappropriation of funds in relation to a tender process for the construction of Arror and Kimwarer Dams projects in Kenya.
  • Acted as legal counsel for Avic International  in an environmental dispute related to the development of its Africa headquarters in Nairobi. The mixed-use development will include six towers and will comprise a JW Marriott hotel.

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates

Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates has cemented its already strong position in international arbitration, acting for both Kenyan entities and multinational clients in significant cases. Banking, insurance and insolvency disputes are major areas for the firm, along with constitutional and procurement cases, tax and employment disputes. Kamau Karori has developed an outstanding reputation in both litigation and arbitration, acting for parties in some of the biggest cases to involve Kenyan entities. Martin Munyu is another key name, notably in constitutional and procurement cases.

Practice head(s):

Kamau Karori

Other key lawyers:

Martin Munyu; Hiram Nyaburi; Diana Ogula

Testimonials

‘The team is highly professional and responsive to client queries. They are methodical and timely in approach to the issue, with a large and competent team of researchers to provide background checks and information.’

‘They are receptive to suggestions (where this involves technical input), they are responsive to client needs, and they are very timely with their advice.’

‘They are efficient and extremely available.’

‘The research is spot on and the opinions they give on the way forward are very sound.’

‘Martin Munyu is very approachable and friendly, and gives very sound and objective legal advice.’

‘Hiram Nyaburi is very methodical, articulate and calm.’

Diana Ogula is very relentless in the court room. Always pushing for the client’s cause without fearing the judges.

Key clients

The Government of Kenya – Office of the Attorney General

Pevans East Africa

Kenya Bureau of Standards

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Kenya Branch

Telkom Kenya

ABSA Bank Kenya

Stanbic Bank

East Africa Breweries

Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa

Association of Insurance Brokers

Central Bank of Kenya

Kenya Airports Authority

Nuflower Foods and Nutrition (India)

Caetano Formula East Africa (a Grupo Salvador Caetano Company)

Kenya Commercial Bank

Gulf African Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented ABSA Bank Kenya in opposing proceedings filed by CMC Di Ravenna, the borrower seeking recognition and enforcement of foreign (Italian) insolvency proceedings in Kenya.
  • Successfully represented the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators- Kenyan branch in a petition filed in the Supreme Court, seeking the court’s interpretation as to whether there is a right of appeal in relation to decisions of the High Court setting aside arbitral awards under Section 35 of the Arbitration Act.
  • Successfully represented Pevans East Africa in a $55m claim filed at the Tax Appeals Tribunal challenging agency notices raised by the Kenya Revenue Authority for payment on withholding taxes on winnings from punters.

TripleOKlaw Advocates

TripleOKlaw Advocates' traditions lie in dispute resolution and it has maintained an impressive standing in commercial litigation, constitutional cases, corporate fraud, employment cases and disputes involving financially distressed parties. It has also demonstrated a strong commitment to arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It represents many of Kenya's major corporates, organisations and public sector bodies. James Uduol is highly regarded for constitutional cases and John Ohaga SC  is a genuine leader in arbitration and big-ticket litigations.

Practice head(s):

James Oduol; John Ohaga SC

Other key lawyers:

Marysheila Onyango-Oduor

Testimonials

‘Excellent court representation in constitutional petitions, bank transactions, land matters and Judicial Review proceedings against diverse government agencies as well as commercial disputes affecting the banking industry. Turn around times are very impressive.’

‘John Ohaga is an accomplished adviser and partner for banks in the areas of regulations, credit and asset finance disputes. A leading arbitrator and recently crowned as Senior Counsel.’

‘The team is very well organised, clearly synergised and is able to bring to the fore all issues in the case and present all possible interventions for discussion and consensus. They also place emphasis on dispute resolution and will explore all possible reasonable means of bringing the matter to closure which is very helpful in reducing costs.’ 

‘John Ohaga comes across as a great team leader, who delegates and allows his team members to explore and think through and agree on all possible interventions for further discussion. When we have met with him and his team, he has allowed them to fully express themselves and share and propose workable interventions.’

Key clients

Kenya Pipeline Company

Kenya Airways

Ola Energy Kenya (formerly known as Libya Oil Kenya)

Mount Kenya Bottlers ; Rift Valley Bottlers; Nairobi Bottlers and Kisii Bottlers

Kenya Bankers Association

Central Bank of Kenya

Mike Maina Kamau

Leisure Lodges

Lennah Wanjiku Koinange

Kenya National Highway Authority

Walker Kontos Advocates

Walker Kontos Advocates has a well-established dispute resolution department that is highly rated for insolvency and receivership litigation, disputes in the financial services sector and broader commercial cases. Intellectual property and debt recovery matters are also fortes for the firm. The dispute resolution team is particularly close to banks and financial institutions, much like the rest of the firm, which is allied to Norton Rose Fulbright. The highly rated Gregory Karungo and Paul Ogunde lead the department.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Karungo; Paul Ogunde

Testimonials

‘Dedicated, efficient, professional, easily reachable, objective.’

‘Paul Ogunde is organised, strategic, committed, objective, professional, very reasonable, easily accessible and always strives to get the client the most favourable outcome. He is the first to come to mind whenever a legal issue arises.’ 

Key clients

Stanbic Bank Kenya

Consolidated Bank of Kenya

Commercial Bank of Africa

Barclays Bank of Kenya

HFC

Bank of Africa Kenya

Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya

SBM Bank (Kenya)

Equity Bank Kenya

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya

I&M Bank

Jamii Bora Bank

KCB Bank Kenya

Prime Bank

The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank

Gulf African Bank

Equity Bank (Kenya)

Diamond Trust Bank Kenya

Paramount Universal Bank

NIC Bank

UBA Kenya Bank

Kenya Electricity Generating Company

Work highlights

  • Acted for SBM Bank (Kenya) as the claimant in a suit in the High Court at Nairobi seeking a refund of an alleged deposit of a $7.5m money market facility to Chase Bank.
  • Acted for McFrys in a trade mark application that was opposed by McDonald’s Corporation.
  • Represented Gulf African Bank in a suit commenced by an insurance company (the guarantor) seeking a declaration that its guarantee recall is null and void and an injunction restraining the client from freezing the guarantor’s accounts and the reversal of debit entries.

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates fields a large team of dispute resolution specialists in both its Nairobi and Mombasa offices. It has a varied caseload that features a prominent mix of litigation and arbitration. Samir Inamdar is an established name.

MMAN Advocates

MMAN Advocates has a broad dispute resolution practice, demonstrating strong capabilities in shareholder, tax, receivership and employment disputes. Construction arbitration is another forte. Jomo Nyaribo leads the department.

Practice head(s):

Jomo Nyaribo

Testimonials

‘The firm has young vibrant advocates who quickly adapt to the shifting demands of business. I find it easy to discuss matters with the firm as we are likely to come to an agreement quickly without too much red tape.’

‘Jomo Nyaribo, in particular, is a smart lawyer. He is quickly able to grasp the commercial nature of matters making it easy for him to earn clients’ trust.’

Key clients

Encomm

Atlantic Pictures

Sage South Africa

Webintpro

Stamina Group

Cooperative Bank of Kenya

Pendragon

Britam Holdings

Rubis Energie Kenya (formerly Kenol Kobil)

Work highlights

  • Represented Encomm (an interested party) in a dispute between MUA Insurance Kenya and Aerospace Consortium International over enforcement of a guarantee based on alleged breach of an insurance premium financing agreement.
  • Represented Webintpro in a tax litigation before the Tax Appeals Tribunal and a tax dispute with the Communications Authority of Kenya.

MMC ASAFO

MMC ASAFO has a solid record in significant contentious matters, notably commercial litigation, procurement disputes and international arbitration. the team has landed major engagements from a range of notable Kenyan businesses and organisations; it represented Safaricom in a consolidated appeal filed by the Communications Authority of Kenya, concerning the use of a device management system that is alleged to provide the ability to eavesdrop on subscribers during phone calls. Peter Murage and Daniel Musyoka are experienced dispute resolution practitioners, while Mombasa-based Billy Kongere is an emerging talent.

Practice head(s):

Peter Murage; Daniel Musyoka; Billy Kongere

Key clients

Absa Bank Kenya

Safaricom

Medical Practitioners and Dentist Council

Kenya Ports Authority

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company

HFC

Kenya Medical Research Institute

KCB Group

Tullow  Kenya

Co-operative Bank of Kenya

SGS Kenya

A.O. Bayusuf & Sons

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

Geothermal Development Company

National Oil Corporation of Kenya

Kenya Ports Authority No Kenya Ferry Services

Work highlights

  • Represented Safaricom in a consolidated appeal filed by the Communications Authority of Kenya in relation to mobile network providers’ network masts which is alleged to have to ability to eavesdrop on subscribers when making phone calls.
  • Represented KETRACO in an application to set aside an international arbitral award of $39.8m.
  • Defended Kenya Ports Authority in a petition seeking to quash its decision to designate cargo at the port for storage or warehousing at its inland container depot in Nairobi.

Mohammed Muigai Advocates

Mohammed Muigai Advocates  has an exceptional dispute resolution heritage and is widely recognised for its expertise in commercial, constitutional and procurement disputes. Arbitration is another forte. Mohammed Nyaoga is a key figure in constitutional and administrative law cases, as is Geoffrey Imende who is also noted for construction and IP cases. Former Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya, Githu Muigai SC remains a force in procurement and constitutional disputes.

Munyao Muthama & Kashindi

Munyao Muthama & Kashindi enters the rankings on the basis of its appearance in a string of headline cases and its commitment to the dispute resolution sector. This has brought some major engagements, including international arbitrations, regulatory and constitutional cases, receivership disputes, tax disputes and class actions. The firm has represented Kenyan regulators in a number of cases. George Kashindi is a senior litigator with an established record in tax, regulatory and insolvency disputes.

Practice head(s):

George Kashindi

Other key lawyers:

Paul Munyao; Irene Kashindi

Testimonials

The litigation team at the firm is unique. It looks for solutions and strategies on how to resolve complex problems.

George Kashindi is able to quickly grasp the nature and structure of our organisation. Not many external counsel appreciate our business as well and deeply as he does. This quality makes him the go to external counsel for many of our matters.

George Kashindi is knowledgeable and intelligent. He is always willing to lend a hand and offer advice when requested be it in writing or over the telephone. George is quite meticulous in all the matters he handles.

Paul Munyao is an advocate with very rare combinations; apart from being intelligent and well informed, he is also approachable and exhibits a great work ethic in all the matters he handles. His commitment not only rests on handling briefs that have a fee attached to it, but we have also enjoyed various value additions including but not limited to pro bono briefs. Paul is diligent and hardworking. He is also a person of high integrity.’

Key clients

Mumias Sugar Company (in Receivership)

National Bank of Kenya

Kenya Ports Authority

Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority

Kenya Power and Lighting

Export Processing Zones Authority

Red Court Hotel Limited (Boma Hotels)

KCB Bank Kenya

Safaricom

Kenya Electricity Generating Company

Work highlights

  • Represented Mumias Sugar Company (in Receivership) in international commercial arbitration proceedings commenced at the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration regarding a $35m credit facility and represented the company in anti-arbitration proceedings instituted in the High Court to suspend the ICC arbitration pending the receivership.
  • Defended AFA in two similar matters before the Constitutional and the Judicial Review Courts, challenging certain subsidiary legislation enacted to regulate aspects of the agricultural sector.
  • Successfully defended Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority against a widely publicised representative/class action/public interest and consumer protection claim on issues relating to electric power billing tariffs among others.