Judith A. Guserwa: Kenya’s Pre-Eminent Employment & Labour Relations Lawyer

Judith A. Guserwa: Kenya’s Pre-Eminent Employment & Labour Relations Lawyer
Senior Advocate Judith Abrahams Guserwa, ranked one of the Top 14 Employment Lawyers in Kenya in 2021

When it comes to employment and industrial relations matters in Kenya, especially those touching on unions, Senior Advocate Judith Abrahams Guserwa is the go-to lawyer. Boasting 37 years' experience in legal practice, the principal of J.A. Guserwa & Company Advocates has over the years cut a niche in legal practice as the trade unions' lawyer of choice against employers, the union ranks, Government or even other unions.

Lawyer Judith A. Guserwa is consistently ranked by the Chambers Global Guide Global as one of the top Employment and Labour Relations Lawyers in Kenya. According to the Chambers Global Guide 2021 Edition "Judith Guserwa maintains a notable reputation in the country for her handling of disputes on behalf of employees and trade unions. She is recognised for her work on high-profile cases and is regarded as one of the market's pre-eminent labour practitioners."

For instance, when Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Nominated MP Hon Wilson Sossion faced an eminent coup within his Union's ranks, he turned to Lawyer Judith Guserwa to secure his return to office. On top of getting a Court Order reinstating Hon Sossion, Guserwa was quick to thwart an attempt by the KNUT's NEC to block the return of her client despite the court order by convincing the court to order the Police to enforce order.

Lawyer Judith A. Guserwa was at hand to represent KUPPET against TSC alongside Paul Muite, SC acting for KNUT from Employment & Labour Court to the Supreme Court to make the case for enforcement of CBA for enhanced salaries for teachers. They managed to convinced the apex court to order TSC pays teachers enhanced salaries pending its appeal. TSC was left with no option but to comply with the court order or be held in contempt of court.

When COTU representatives were left out by the Labour and Social Security CS in the appointment of NSSF Directors, Guserwa took the case to court seeking orders to block the new board of trustees for lack of representation of the workers. The court barred the Labour CS from convening the NSSF Board pending the appointment of a nominee from the worker's union. Eventually, Labour CS reinstated COTU Secretary General as NSSF Board Member.

The supremacy battles between Federation of Public Service Trade Unions (PUSETU) and Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) as to who is the legitimate representative of workers in Kenya were settled by Lawyer Judith Guserwa going to court and obtaining an order stopping PUSETU from interfering with the National Labour Day festivities organized COTU. This effectively confirmed COTU as the National Umbrella Workers Union in Kenya.

In order to protect the rights and welfare of their members when Standard Group announced massive restructuring, the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) issued a statement to the effect that it had engaged "Ms Judith Guserwa, a leading lawyer in Nairobi, to study the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), labour laws and Standard Group communication" and give them a legal opinion to determine their next course of action.

Leading High Profile Employment and Commercial Cases

Besides union cases, Lawyer Judy Guserwa has also acted in numerous other high profile employment cases on behalf of senior executives and corporates. She was the lawyer for the National Irrigation Authority CEO Gitonga Mugambi in the case filed by Activist Okiyah Omtatah in Employment and Labour Court challenging his re-appointment. The matter is still pending before the Employment Court.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa also acted for the Kenya Reinsurance Corporation CEO Jadiah Mwarania in his case where he obtained orders stopping the Kenya Re's Board from replacing him pending the determination of his case. He succeeded in staying the wrongful termination and is still serving as the Managing Director of Kenya Re.

In November 2020, Lawyer Judith Guserwa successfully obtained a judgement of over Ksh. 370 Million in favour of former of KPLC Managers who had been unlawfully retired. Previously, she had successfully prosecuted a commercial claim of foreign traders who were adversely affected by Post-Election Violence (PEV) obtaining landmark judgement award in their favour of over Ksh. 12 Billion in June 2018.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa was also on Record alongside Kioko Kilukumi for Former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza in her famous case challenging the decision of the Tribunal formed to investigate her conduct recommending her removal. Later, the shoe was on the other foot when President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed her the Vice Chairperson of the Tribunal to investigate the conduct of the Supreme Court Judge Justice (Retired) Philip Tunoi.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa has also proven herself as defendable defense lawyer in high profile economic crimes.  She led a team of seven (7) in NYS 1 Scandal Case in 2018 into getting Former PS Eng. Peter Mangiti and 30 others acquitted of corruption charges. Now she is defending them in NYS 2 Cases. Recently, she struck a blow for justice by getting a law student admitted to Kenya School of law through court order after being denied admission on discriminatory grounds.

Labour, Commercial, Procurement and Competition Lawyer

Lawyer Judith Guserwa's firm specializes in Labour Law and Commercial Law. As indicated in the LSK website, Industrial Relations, Unions and Employment Law comprises 50% of her practice while Family Law & Succession Matters take up 20%, Commercial Law takes 15%, Alternative Dispute Resolution 15% and Legislative Drafting 5%. Lawyer Judith Guserwa is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) and is actively acting in numerous arbitrations.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa is also a procurement law expert and served as a member in the inaugural Public Procurement Review Board. She was also a pioneer Board member and Vice Chairperson and Acting Chairperson of the Competition Authority of Kenya. In that capacity, she played a pivotal role in laying the framework for Competition law enforcement in Kenya as it exists today.

Judith Guserwa holds LL.B and LL.M degrees from the University of Nairobi and an MBA in Strategic Management. Due to her wide-ranging experience in Employment and Industrial Relations Law in Kenya, she is an International Labour Organization (ILO) consultant in labour and human capital. She has previously served as Law Society of Kenya Council Member and as a Member of the State Corporations Appeals Tribunal.

Lawyer Judith Guserwa has been called upon by LSK and the Employment and Labour Relations Court to train young advocates on what it takes to practice at the Court. Most recent, she was called upon by Nairobi LSK Branch to speak on the "Place of Judicial Review and Constitutional Petitions in Employment and Labour Matters" as well as "Jurisprudence on the Remedy of Reinstatement" alongside Lady Justice Maureen Onyango, the Presiding Judge of the Court.

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