Alternative Disputes Resolution-Interview with Nicholas Mwasame
"Interview with Nicholas Mwasame"
“The best way to market yourself is through producing quality work”~Nicholas
with Nicholas Mwasame~ Associate Partner, Shonubi Musoke & Co.
I am a Christian which speaks to
my values and belief system and I recently got married. I am an advocate practicing
with Shonubi Musoke & Co. I joined the firm in 2009 after completing my
post graduate diploma. I am an ardent golfer which sport I was introduced to, by
my father. I enjoy watching a variety of sports such as rugby, cricket and
soccer. In the firm, I am attached to the Disputes (Litigation &
Litigation & Arbitration?
I picked an interest in
litigation when I joined the firm, there was a thrill that came with standing before
the court to convince the judge that my story should be believed over the
opponents’ story. I also recognized that this area of the firm needed growth
and I was willing to put in the extra work to ensure that there was growth in
Additionally, my mentor helped me
discover my strength in litigation. By watching him closely and cultivating a
professional relationship with him, I was able to recognize my passion in
litigation. He taught me to adequately prepare for a case before a hearing, carryout
thorough research, never to take anything for granted and this methodology has
been reflected throughout my practice.
In the recent years, we have
built a formidable team of litigators who have specialized and developed their
skill in litigation. In the future I hope I can specialize even more and become
a brand name in this area of practice. To achieve this, I have invested in
attending trainings in this area, I have expanded the number of books I read
while delving in-depth into the materials and I engage in networking activities.
I believe that the best way to market myself is consistent commitment to
Arbitration is much quicker than
the usual court systems. One is more likely to reach a fairer decision because
of the expertise of the arbiter. Additionally the rules of procedure are less
rigid which is beneficial to all parties.
On numerous occasions parties find
it quite difficult to agree on an arbiter and this may drag the arbitration longer
than required. Sometimes, lawyers do not understand the process of arbitration
which defeats the system. Since this is an upcoming area, the use of expert arbiters
is also expensive; for example, if during every sitting the arbiter receives a
minimum of 4 million shillings per sitting and the matter lasts 3 years, this
process can become quite an expensive venture. Further, this process does not
provide an appellant procedure and technical grounds must be used to set aside
an arbitral award. Finally, if the arbitration takes place in another
jurisdiction, it may be quite expensive; or if the law applying to the
arbitration is foreign law, hiring experts from another jurisdiction may also
On one occasion, a client doing
work for a foreign company in East Africa required payment for services
rendered. The foreign company agreed to pay the amount according to a schedule
but defaulted with a balance of about $50,000. When the client sought to claim
the amount, the matter was referred to arbitration in the UK. He weighed his
options and found that the cost of recovering the money in arbitration would be
far higher than the monies owed.
In another case, arbitration has
been ongoing for three years, during the first year, we failed to reach a
conclusion on who the arbiter should be.
A number of these challenges are
as a result of standard contracts by foreign companies doing business in the
local jurisdiction and yet prefer to arbitrate in the own countries; a venture
that is expensive for the local population. There are also specialized
tribunals in Europe and the foreign companies would prefer to apply the rules
of these tribunals in disputes that may arise.
the future of Arbitration?
A number of people have adopted it and therefore it will become
a wide spread practice. Some people will and have become fulltime professional arbiters.
With the numerous areas of law developing, it is likely that a number of
commercial disputes will end in arbitration so there will be need for experts
in this area.
There is always something to learn. In order to keep abreast
with the times, we must keep learning. When drafting arbitration clauses,
lawyers should be as detailed as possible, provide for the appointment of an
arbiter, time frames within which this should happen as a result, this will
help shorten the process should a dispute arise.