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About Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews

We are one of Kenya’s largest law firms with a dedicated team comprising of 13 Partners and 40 Associates who are supported by a team of over 80 legal assistants, administrative and paralegal staff. We have over 117 years’ experience in providing effective and efficient legal solutions. Our legacy of being one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in Kenya means that clients benefit from a depth of understanding that underpins solution-driven advice. We provide a full range of legal services to an extensive client base, which include both local and foreign companies, state corporations and non-governmental organisations. We offer our insight and expertise to clients in a range of industry sectors throughout Kenya and regionally, with our offices located in Nairobi and Mombasa.

We measure our success by the quality of service we provide our clients. We have a dedicated Corporate Commercial and Real Estate practice and a Litigation practice; both have significant experience in handling complex matters while providing quality insight and guidance.

 

Practice Areas

Arbitration

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews provides first-rate and pragmatic legal advice in both international and domestic arbitration proceedings. Our team is experienced in representing parties in arbitration proceedings in all commercial sectors including financial services, transportation disputes, oil and gas, hospitality and energy. Our lawyers have an excellent understanding of the arbitration procedure before various forums and will guide you through the entire process including the recognition and enforcement of the arbitral award.

Banking and finance

With over 100 years of experience, our banking and finance practice has carved out a niche as a trusted advisor and partner. We have vast and varied experience in the following areas: Asset finance, asset management, banking, finance and securities disputes, financial services regulation, general lending, leveraged finance, real estate finance and work-outs, micro-finance and social investments, restructurings and securitisations.

We advise on complex corporate finance and syndicated and project finance transactions, and have also acted for several large, local and international banks on all types of finance matters. We also undertake a great deal of complex litigation arising out of banking and finance work. We also have significant expertise in providing general regulatory advice to local and international banks and financial institutions.


Business set-up

We give general advice on the setting-up of businesses and inflow of investment funds into local entities such as companies, partnerships, non-profit organisations and trusts. We also provide advice on the regulatory environment for the various types of entities and the sectors within which they operate. Whether an individual, small business entity or multinational corporation, our team is able to assist at every stage.

Capital Markets

Today’s debt capital markets are more varied and complex than ever before. Whether you are acting as an issuer, arranger, underwriter, dealer or lead manager, fund or investment manager, servicer, trustee or agent, you need a team that you can rely on. We have advised on more capital markets transactions in the last 10 years than any other Kenyan law firm. Transactions range from bonds, IPOs and rights issues to capital base restructuring exercises and take-overs, as well as the structuring, sale and marketing of capital markets products and the handling of capital markets disputes.

 
Competition, Antitrust and Consumer Protection

 

We use our extensive knowledge of competition law and enforcement to help get the deal done, resolve a dispute or overcome a business challenge. We handle competition and merger control applications, abuse of dominance, restrictive trade practices, cartels and other anti-competitive agreements, anti-trust investigations and disputes, public procurement and all matters regarding competitive tendering both under Kenyan law and the COMESA Competition Regulations. We also advise clients on the consumer protection laws contained under the Kenyan Constitution, the Consumer Protection Act, the Competition Act, the Kenya Information and Communication Act and supporting regulations and guidelines.

Constitutional and administrative

We have expertise in constitutional and administrative law matters under the Constitution of Kenya, the Fair Administrative Action Act and other relevant statutes. In this respect, the firm has advised on the bill of rights, political elections, land, citizenship, devolved government and public finance. The firm is currently representing various clients in prosecuting and defending constitutional references and judicial review proceedings.


Employment, Employee Benefits and Immigration

The most valuable commodity in any organisation is its people. Our goal is to help you achieve good labour relations while ensuring compliance with the law. Our labour law experts advise on all aspects of the employment relationship, including minimum requirements under the Employment Act, drafting employment and consultancy contracts, the procedure for termination of contracts and carrying out redundancies and on confidentiality and restraint of trade clauses in employment contracts. We also assist in solving a wide range of labour disputes ranging from redundancies, collective actions led by unions, equal employment, and remuneration practice. Our experienced immigration lawyers understand that the search for talent, opportunities and employment drives the movement of people across borders. We advise our clients on issues of compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to immigration laws in Kenya. In addition, we provide our multinational clients with advice on immigration aspects of cross-border transfers and hiring.

Estate planning

Families passing significant assets to the next generation want expert advice so they can feel confident about the security and ultimate disposition of their assets. Financial institutions handling estates of clients need expert, confidential legal advice as to avoiding, or handling, disputes. We provide critical support to private clients in all areas ranging from advice on contracts, business set-ups, shareholding in companies, estate planning including drafting of wills, probate, family settlement and setting up of private trusts. We also have a wealth of experience in advising on family related issues such as child custody and maintenance.


Intellectual Property and Technology

Our intellectual property practice is one of the oldest in Kenya. We advise on the registration of trademarks, patents, industrial designs, assignments and registered user agreements (licenses) for numerous multinational and local clients. We also represent clients in opposition proceedings and IP-related litigation. We pride ourselves in blending experience with dynamism and as such have employed some of the most enthusiastic, pragmatic and intelligent lawyers to meet the varied needs of our clients.


Litigation and Dispute Resolution

For seven years running we have been ranked as a tier 1 legal practice in litigation and dispute resolution in Kenya by the leading international legal directory, Chambers & Partners. Our team of lawyers has successfully advised clients ranging from corporates to government agencies on risk and conflict management matters. Over time, the firm has gained specialty dispute resolution knowledge in commercial and contractual matters, election petitions, fraud, intellectual property disputes, employment and pension matters, public law litigation, real estate and planning disputes as well as restructuring and insolvency proceedings. Many of our clients operate in sectors frequently targeted by public interest litigation and class action suits, which we are well equipped to handle.

Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures and Private Equity

Today's investors face an intensely competitive landscape. You must rely on increasingly innovative financing solutions to carry out transactions. Our practitioners deliver innovative structures that get deals done, whether in one locality or across national and jurisdictional borders. We handle complex mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, joint ventures and buy-outs of a domestic and cross-border nature. We provide solutions to a myriad of clients across all industries: from energy, telecoms and infrastructure to financial, manufacturing, agricultural and retail industries.

Our private equity work comprises fund formation, minority investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, investments and exit transactions. We have taken the lead in IPOs, divestments and the privatisation of many companies in relation to fund exit strategies.


PPPs and Privatisation

We are a leading firm in privatisation and PPP work in Kenya and have undertaken several privatisation deals in Kenya and East Africa. We have been involved in landmark PPP projects including the development of the first ‘technopolis’ in Kenya. We are currently advising on a multi-million shilling PPP project for student hostels in one of the largest public universities in Kenya.


Public Procurement

We have exceptional expertise and talent in government procurement-related litigation and related advice. The firm has advised numerous multinational and local companies and state corporations on procurement law matters and has successfully represented clients in multi-million dollar procurement appeals. We also advise on public procurement processes and regulatory issues touching on government contracts.


Real Estate Planning and Environmental Law

We give advice on various aspects of real estate transactions including sales, leases, purchases, charges, tenancy agreements, and commercial letting. We have a robust conveyancing practice to deal with all stages of transfer of interests in land. We guide our clients through the processes involved in real estate financing and borrowing. Our lawyers provide advisory and transactional support in REITS, construction, real estate tax, real estate investment and development, real estate partnerships, fractional ownership and franchising within the hospitality industry. We also have significant expertise in conservation-related leases in national parks and game reserves.

Within our firm is a team of lawyers with a deep understanding of environmental law who constantly update themselves on changes in the law in this crucial area. Our expertise spans environmental compliance, management and liability to the environmental aspects of corporate and commercial transactions. We give advice on the legal aspects of energy, environmental due diligence, environmental reporting, land use, and planning and zoning.


Regulatory Advice and Compliance

We regularly advise on compliance by companies in regulated sectors such as aviation, banking, insurance, capital markets, retirement benefits, telecommunications, mining, energy, and agriculture. Our experience stems from internal self-check initiatives from clients or as part of mergers, acquisitions or listings on the securities exchange. Our lawyers frequently advise media, telecommunications and technology companies on Kenya’s regulatory regime relating to privacy and data protection. We also monitor and advise on new legislation in all areas to ensure that our clients are informed well in advance of any changes in the regulatory regimes that require their compliance.

The legal team at Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews possesses extensive regulatory experience and regularly advises clients on banking regulation, insurance regulation, capital markets regulation, securities exchange regulation, capital and liquidity requirements, custody and prime brokerage, as well as marketing and selling restrictions. The team is also well versed in the areas of financial services investigations, political law, regulatory investigations and white-collar defence.


Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy

When restructuring, insolvency or bankruptcy appears and financial distress threatens a business, rapidly maximising values is key. Wherever the challenge appears today’s marketplace presents the decision-maker with a complex web of possible outcomes and legal strategies. Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews offers tailor made solutions and advice on rescue securitisations, rescheduling of debts and debt to equity swaps and insolvency proceedings. We regularly advise public and private companies and investors. Our experience spans numerous sectors including finance, real estate, manufacturing, agriculture, trade, commodities and import and export sectors.

Tax

We devise timely, effective and innovative solutions across the full range of international and domestic tax issues. Our services are tailored towards both individuals and corporations. We have successfully negotiated settlements in tax disputes with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and represented clients in tax appeals on assessments made by KRA. We advise on the tax implications of M&A, capital markets transactions, and banking and finance transactions. Our expertise in tax law spans real estate tax, transfer tax, energy and infrastructure tax, stamp duty, VAT, income tax, transfer pricing, corporate restructuring, private equity and other funds tax, among others.

 

Industry sectors 

Aviation

We have developed a niche in this sector due to our considerable experience in providing transactional and advisory services to various players in the aviation industry, including local and international airlines, banks, finance arrangers, lessors, investors, government authorities, airport operators, business aviation companies and logistics companies. Due to the transnational nature of aviation law, we also have developed links with law firms in other countries that specialise in this area.

We also deal with highly sensitive contentious matters in the aviation sector including, but not limited to, claims related to aviation accidents and claims related to debt financing of players in the industry.


Construction

The firm advises on construction contracts, including their drafting and review. It also handles disputes relating to construction projects before courts and arbitration tribunals. The firm has considerable experience in handling large-scale construction projects.

Energy and Infrastructure

We have advised on power generation projects (including the drafting and negotiation of power purchase agreements), mining and infrastructure projects, rail and transport projects, and undersea and terrestrial cable projects. We regularly advise on both the conventional power sector and the fast-growing renewable energy sector. Our lawyers keep abreast of changes in legislative and regulatory requirements in these sectors in order to advise our clients on regulatory compliance.

We also have expertise in energy litigation and arbitration and have represented the key energy firms in Kenya in all dispute resolution fora in Kenya.


Insurance

Our firm offers support to insurance and re-insurance companies on commercial, regulatory and dispute management aspects of their business. We have vast experience in asset and liability management, bulk and other annuity transactions, the pensions buy-out and buy-in market, capital raising and securitisations, demutualisations, investment of insurance funds, collateralised re-insurance and other aspects of insurance matters. Our lawyers also advise insurance firms on such matters as claims, professional liability, insurance coverage, environmental liability, policy drafting and product design.


Oil, gas and mining

We have a team of lawyers with broad expertise in the oil and gas industry who advise clients on bidding and negotiating for oil and gas contracts. We negotiate contracts on behalf of clients and draft joint operating agreements, shareholders’ agreements, farm-in and farm-out agreements, intellectual property ownership agreements, drilling and rig agreements, regional pipeline and refinery agreements, oil and gas trading, licensing agreements, and health and safety agreements. Some of our longstanding clients are stakeholders in the mining sector both locally and internationally. We also have particular experience in natural resources arbitration and disputes.


Telecommunications, media and technology

Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the telecoms sector and offer transactional and advisory services to telecom companies, internet service providers, satellite companies, media companies, and government regulatory agencies. We have extensive knowledge of the requirements of licensing, compliance, dispute resolution, infrastructure sharing, financing projects and drafting agreements. Our lawyers provide litigation services on disputes arising in this sector. We keenly follow changes in information technology and the law to give our clients innovative and effective solutions in areas such as software licensing, IP, defamation, infrastructure arrangements, spectrum auctions and e-commerce. The firm also represents clients in ADR and litigation.

 

Recognition

We continue to be recognised as a top tier firm by international legal directories including Chambers Global, IFLR 1000 and Legal 500

Market sources commend the team for its expertise in local regulations and compliance, adding: "HHM (now Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews) is quick, experienced, knowledgeable and flexible. They respond to e-mails very efficiently, they provide professional answers to the questions, and their document drafting is of high quality." – Chambers and Partners 2019

Clients say: "The type of advice given by the firm is invaluable, with extensive knowledge of the local laws and for the region as a whole." - Chambers and Partners 2019

Other interviewees report that "the firm is highly responsive, professional and always willing to go that extra mile to meet the client's needs." - Chambers and Partners 2019

The firm advises a range of domestic and international lenders, while benefiting from being part of Dentons' international network. 'The firm presents a good spread of services under one roof' and 'partners are readily available to discuss issues. – Legal 500 2019.

Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews continues to operate at the top of the market in constitutional and judicial review cases; it has appeared in a series of banking sector judicial review disputes. –  Legal 500 2019.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe. Dentons is a leader in the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index, a BTI Client service 30 Award winner and recognised by prominent business and legal publications for its innovations in client service, including founding Nextlaw Labs and the Nextlaw Global Referral Network. Dentons’ polycentric approach combined with its world-class talent challenges the status quo and advances our client interests in the communities in which we live and work.

As we have over 10,000 lawyers in 175 locations, we are guaranteed to have the right lawyer to suit your needs when it comes to completing a deal or resolving a dispute. Working together, we find agile, tailored solutions to meet your local, national and global legal needs. We are committed to your business interests and our team will work with you to expand your possibilities and potential. As we have a full-service presence in the most important business hubs across the world, you can trust Dentons to have you covered.

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