Alternative Disputes Resolution-Interview with Nicholas Mwasame

Friday, 24 August 2018
Diana Angwech
Alternative Disputes Resolution-Interview with Nicholas Mwasame

"Interview with Nicholas Mwasame"

The best way to market yourself is through producing quality work”~Nicholas Mwasame


Interview with Nicholas Mwasame~ Associate Partner, Shonubi Musoke & Co.

Who is Nicholas?

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 & Arbitration) Department.

Why 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 this department.

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 quality work!

Advantages of Arbitration

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.

Challenges with Arbitration

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 be expensive.

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.

What is 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.

Lessons Learned

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.



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