Read Global Arbitration Review Commercial Arbitration: Kenya 2024

Read an update on commercial arbitration in Kenya in this year’s Global Arbitration Review. Managing Partner John M Ohaga SC, Associate Ben Ogutu and Trainee Advocate Pressy Akinyi share their insights on the intricacies of commercial arbitration in Kenya. The guide is available at this link.

Some highlights that we can take out of the guide include:

1. The New York Convention and Foreign Awards:
Kenya has been a member of the New York Arbitration Convention since 1989, a testament to its commitment to the global arbitration community. This membership ensures that foreign arbitral awards are accorded significant recognition. Section 36(2) of the Kenyan Arbitration Act stipulates that international arbitration awards are recognized and enforced in Kenya in accordance with the provisions of the New York Convention or any other relevant convention to which Kenya is a party. However, it’s important to note that there are limitations within the realm of arbitration. Kenyan courts will not enforce awards that contravene public policy, without exception.

2. The UNCITRAL Model Law and Domestic Arbitration:
The primary legislative framework for arbitration in Kenya is the Arbitration Act (No. 4 of 1995), which serves as a guiding tool for both domestic and international arbitration proceedings. Notably, the Act aligns itself with the UNCITRAL Model Law, ensuring consistency and adherence to the principles embodied in the UNCITRAL Model Law in resolving disputes. As a result, whether at a local or international level, Kenyan courts are dedicated to recognizing and enforcing foreign arbitral awards, showcasing their familiarity with the relevant regulations.

3. Where the Action Happens:
Nairobi, the bustling heart of Kenya, is the headquarters of the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA). This institution serves as a prominent hub for esteemed figures in the field of arbitration. Intriguingly, the NCIA operates in accordance with the UNCITRAL Rules, serving as its operational framework, reflecting sophistication, global relevance, and readiness for substantive engagements. Furthermore, Kenya’s participation in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and its bilateral investment treaties (BITs) provide privileged access to this domain.

Given the above, it is clear that the significance of arbitration in Kenya’s legal landscape cannot be overstated. Therefore, let us recognize and appreciate the pivotal role it plays in the country’s legal framework.

This article was first published in Global Arbitration Review in May 2024; for further in-depth analysis, please visit GAR Know-how Commercial Arbitration.

First appeared on TripleOKlaw

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