Kenna Partners has one of the world’s leading dispute resolution teams comprising of dedicated dispute resolution lawyers. We combine effective result-driven strategies with excellence in advocacy, providing our Clients with effective solutions to their most complex dispute resolution challenges. Our extensive experience in the courtroom/hearing room, both as advocate and as a decision-maker, provides us with an advanced understanding of the key ingredients for success in any given dispute. With this, our Clients’ adversaries know that they will be confronted with experienced and confident advocates when they evaluate their risks.
Our Dispute Resolution group includes over 50 well-experienced dispute resolution lawyers and two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) (Q.C. or S.C. equivalent) with combined litigation experience of over twelve decades who are specialists in litigation, arbitration, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution methods. Our lawyers are skilled in identifying the most appropriate strategies to execute, dependant on the prevailing circumstances, to assure positive outcomes and manage risk most effectively. Some of our counsel are Fellows of leading arbitration institutions, including the Lagos Court of Arbitration, London Court of International Arbitration, Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators, and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom).
Our Clients are the centerpiece of our work. We provide focused and individual service. We seamlessly liaise with our Clients, adopt a partnership approach to resolving disputes and regularly discuss strategies, progress, and legal and practical issues as they arise. With close attention to detail, we are able to provide innovative and practical approach to solving our Clients’ problems whether by negotiation, mediation, litigation, arbitration or otherwise. We have developed substantial expertise in providing legal advice and representation in the following areas:
We have represented and advised corporate entities as well as agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria in a number of Aviation matters of a litigious nature. We understand that by the very nature of aviation, disputes that arise are cross-border, cutting across various legal frameworks and as a result, we have dedicated specialists who have an excellent understanding of how the Aviation Industry works, as well as the legal challenges inherent in Aviation Litigation.
With a general increase in the awareness of stakeholders in the Aviation Sector of the legal rights and issues applicable, there is a rise in aviation litigation and we are perfectly poised to offer clients unique advice and tailor-made solutions in this regard. Most notable of the Aviation litigation cases handled by the firm is the legal representation of a Nigerian Regulator of the Aviation Sector in a dispute with a National Company on a concession for the construction of parts of the International Airport in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria. We also currently provide legal representation services in a claim for damages against a Nigerian commercial airline, the said claim emanating from the negligence of the Airline as regards its customers.
We represent the interests of Nigeria’s apex bank in a plethora of matters across all superior courts of record. In 2018, we represented the interests of arguably Nigeria’s biggest commercial bank in a high profile non-performing loan dispute. The said dispute involved the recovery of a loan facility in the sum of at least One Hundred Million Dollars, granted to an IOC for the expansion and development of its operations on some oil mining leases which had been granted to the said IOC by the Minister of petroleum. The said dispute was multifaceted and was the subject of disputes before the Federal High Court, Lagos, the Court of Appeal Lagos, the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Through several negotiation and strategy meetings with other creditors (both local and international) as well as quality oral and written advocacy, we have been able to protect the interests of our clients and prevent the loan facility from becoming non-performing. Our Clients in this regard range from top financial institutions, which include commercial, merchant, and specialised banks to government regulators.
Over the years, we have been able to create value for several stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market, inclusive of the chief regulator of the sector itself. Very recently, specifically between 2018 and 2019, we played a leading role in representing Africa’s biggest telecommunications company in a multibillion-dollar dispute. The said dispute related to the challenge of a regulatory directive, ordering the refund of several billions of dollars to the government on the basis of alleged illegal repatriation of capital and issuance of Certificates of Capital Importation. In justifying the trust reposed in it by the Client, the Firm’s dispute resolution team was able to enter a robust and ingenious defence for the Client. The Firm played a lead role in midwifing a favourable and amicable decision for the Client. Importantly, the Firm was able to assist the Client, the regulator and the national economy as a whole in maintaining stability and preventing a major economic shock.
Labour and Employment
With the establishment of employee rights by virtue of statutes and case law, employment disputes are on the rise. Kenna Partners offers an array of services aimed at resolving the most complex employment and labour disputes. We have a team of lawyers versed in the extant labour laws who have an appreciation for the protection of both employee and employer rights.
We draw on our experience with national and international institutions as well as individuals in rendering advisory and representation services, focusing always on creating value for these institutions and individuals whilst also mitigating risks. Between 2016 and 2019 we successfully represented an oil major company in a massive redundancy dispute affecting about 5000 members of its staff, as well as a Labour Union charged with the welfare of the senior staff of oil majors in Nigeria. As a result of our prudent advice, the dispute was resolved with minimal loss of value to all the parties involved.
Our maritime litigation practice affords clients a well-rounded legal representation and advisory package comprising of expertise in regulatory issues, charter party and contract disputes, cargo claims, bankruptcy, and general commercial disputes. Having substantial professional experience as well as in-depth knowledge of the maritime sector, our team has assisted several entities in navigating complex maritime litigation and arbitration with a great deal of success. We understand the divergent needs of the various players in the maritime sector and have developed procedures to help ensure that every client is offered specific advice and representation to meet its unique needs; marking us out as one of the foremost dispute resolution providers in the maritime sector. We successfully represented the regulatory body in charge of Nigerian shipping, maritime labour and coastal waters in a suit involving the determination of Seaworthiness where a vessel carrying 1,500 metric tons of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) was detained due to an emergency declared by the captain of the vessel. This suit involved an intense consideration of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1962 amongst other relevant statutes and case law.
Oil and Gas
Kenna Partners provides excellent specialised services for clients involved in the oil and gas sectors in the Nigerian economy. We have remarkable and substantial expertise in the area of deep offshore contracts and serve a wide range of clients traversing the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry, from upstream to downstream and including a number of oil service companies in the industry. Our extensive understanding of the sector and excellent relationship with the regulatory bodies enable us to provide optimum services to our clients in contract negotiations, tenders, joint ventures, outsourcing and strategic alliances among others. In fact, our partners have clocked up years of trust-based agency and representation of oil and gas service firms.
We have also had the honour of representing the interests of Africa’s biggest state petroleum corporation, in disputes that have arisen in the execution of colossal capital projects. Very recently, we advised and represented the interests of the government agency in charge of petroleum production and exploration, amongst other things in a number of disputes and lawsuits. Significantly, we successfully represented a state-owned oil corporation and obtained the single largest award ever in a Nigerian Arbitration. The dispute arose out of a series of Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAA) between the Client and an International Oil Company (IOC) acting as funding partner’s ad covered recoveries of crude oil lifted in respect of several OMLs in the sum of USD1.69 Billion. The very comprehensive award settled questions of the impact of non-payment of signature fees on lifted crude oil as well as the principle of unjust enrichment in crude oil lifting and recovery. Additionally, we have over the years, consistently provided first-class dispute resolution services to one of the world’s largest oil corporations for its oil spill litigation suits. In 2018, our distinction in advocacy was further commended by the Court of Appeal in its landmark judgment in the case National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency v Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (2018) LPELR-44210(CA).
In the said judgment, which has remarkably changed Nigerian jurisprudence on the issue of imposition of fines and penalties by government agencies and administrative bodies, the Court, in upholding our presented arguments, held, amongst other things, that the imposition of fines or penalties is under the exclusive purview of the courts and an attempt by an agency of government to clothe itself with such powers, is a breach of the constitution. We also represented the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources with regard to an Oil Prospecting License and the transfer of shares of a company having interest in the same; in the said case we had judgment granted in our client’s favour.
Investment in real estate has been lauded as one of the safest and most prudent forms of large scale investment globally. The premium nature of real estate transactions increases the potential of disputes between several players in the sector. At Kenna Partners, we have developed a prodigious real estate dispute resolution practice. Our team of experts not only have an understanding of how real estate investments work, but also the likely disputes that are bound to arise, how to avoid same and, most importantly, how to ensure a positive outcome for our clients. In instances where these disputes cannot be avoided, our highly professional advocates and arbitrators are well versed to nurture these matters from inception to conclusion, even up to the Supreme Court.
Due to our impressive success rate in dispute resolution, our Clients trust us to give them the best advice and provide the most effective strategies. Among others, we currently represent a South African real estate investment firm in a dispute involving claims against it in respect of the ownership of its business and of certain high-value property in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.