James Tugee

James Tugee, FCIArb


LL.M., University of Pittsburgh
LL.B. (Hons), Moi University
PGDip (Law), KSL
Admitted 2014

Practice Areas

  • Constitutional, Judicial Review and Administrative Law
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Media and Defamation Law
  • Civil and Commercial Litigation
  • Land and Environment Law
  • Employment and Labour Relations
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution


  • Land and Environment Law
  • Employment and Labour Relations
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

James has over 10 years’ experience working in a busy law firm and over 7 years of post-qualification experience. He was until December 2021 a Senior Associate at Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews. He has advised a number of clients in his areas of expertise and represented them before the courts, including the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal; specialised tribunals such as the Industrial Property Tribunal, the Competition Tribunal, the Public Procurement and Administrative Review Board, the Tax Appeals Tribunal and the National Environment Tribunal; and in alternative dispute resolution processes, including arbitration, mediation and negotiation.

He has over the years been involved in some of the most significant litigation in the country, involving novel points of law, serious constitutional and legal issues, and matters of general public importance and interest. He was, for instance, involved in the 2017 Presidential Election Petitions; the reference for advisory opinion from the Supreme Court on various issues relating to division of revenue between the National Government and County Governments, and related petitions filed in the High Court; the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) appeals in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court; the appeals filed in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court relating to Kenya’s transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting (the Digital Migration cases); the petition challenging the constitutionality of the position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) and the appointment of various Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries; and the petition in the High Court and subsequent appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Tobacco Control Regulations.

James has advised and represented a number of clients in intellectual property matters, including patent protection and infringement, trademarks infringement and passing off, copyright infringement, and the right of publicity. In the media and defamation law area, he has represented a number of clients – both media houses and individuals – in defamation matters, as well as related claims for violation of the right to privacy through media publications. He also has considerable experience and has been involved in a number of matters in the areas of land and environment law, civil and commercial litigation, and employment and labour relations.

In the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) space, James has not only represented a number of clients in arbitral proceedings, mediations and negotiations but is also qualified to sit as an arbitrator and a mediator. He has been involved in both domestic and international arbitration. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He regularly writes on emerging issues in ADR. In 2016, he assisted the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in reviewing the court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Policies and Procedures. He won the 5 th LL.M. International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition on investment arbitration held in April 2016 at the American University Washington College of Law.

James served in the Editorial Committee of the Law Society of Kenya between 2018 and 2020, and has also served in the Disciplinary Committee of the Left Foot Sports (LFS), an amateur sports league. He is a board member at Mathare Children’s Education (MCE), an organization that takes care of the education, welfare, and mentorship needs of destitute children from the Mathare area of Nairobi.

His other interests and hobbies include writing, sports, performing arts, philanthropy and photography.

Educational and professional qualifications:

  • Accelerated Route to Fellowship, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and International Centre for Arbitration & Mediation Abuja (ICAMA), 2019
  • Master of Laws (LL.M.) (Magna cum laude), University of Pittsburgh, 2016
  • Advocates Training Programme (PGDip, Law), Kenya School of Law, 2013
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) (Hons.), Moi University, 2011

Membership in professional associations:

  • Member, Law Society of Kenya (LSK)
  • Member, East Africa Law Society (EALS)
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
  • Student member, Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA)

Career history:

  • Trainee Advocate: Hamilton Harrison & Mathews, 2011 to 2014
  • Associate: Hamilton Harrison & Mathews, 2014 to 2017
  • Senior Associate: Hamilton Harrison & Mathews, 2018 to 2021
  • Partner: Munyao, Muthama & Kashindi, January 2022 to date

Certifications, Accolades and Awards

  • H. J. Heinz Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
  • William H. Eckert Prize, University of Pittsburgh
  • Winner, 5 th LL.M. International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Fall Semester, University of Pittsburgh
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Spring Semester, University of Pittsburgh
  • Student Merit Award, Moi University


  • Supreme Court Sets the Principles for Recusal of Judges, The Advocate (The LSK Magazine), Vol. 1, Issue 13 (AGM Edition), 2020
  • Choosing Between Arbitration and Litigation: Is the Alternative Always Appropriate?, Platform Magazine, No. 51(2), February 2020
  • Protection of Well-Known Trademarks, The Advocate (The LSK Magazine),Vol. 1, Issue 10 (AGM Edition), 2018
  • Courts’ Approach to Post-2010 Petitions for Enforcement of Rights, LSK Journal 13(1) (2017)
  • The Right of Publicity, and the Need for its Legislation in Kenya, Platform Magazine, No. 25/26, December 2016 – January 2017
  • Reassessing the Justifiability of the Criminalization of Prostitution in the United States of America, SSRN, May 2016
  • Overview of Arbitration in Kenya (Academia.edu)
  • Drastic Changes to Requirements for Registration of Foreign Companies in Kenya, JURIST-Student Commentary, December 12, 2015
  • The “Must-Carry” Rule in Television Broadcasting: The Kenyan Situation, HH&M Newsletter, May 2015

Work Highlights:

  • Part of the team of lawyers that advised and represented a major manufacturer and importer of tobacco products in challenging the constitutionality of the Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014 with regard to the provisions on the solatium compensatory contribution, product and industry disclosure requirements, restriction of interactions between public officers and the tobacco industry, and additional restriction on smoking areas. The litigation, which was partly successful, started with the filing of a petition at the High Court, which was followed by appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
  • Part of the team of lawyers that represented one of the parties in the 2017 Presidential Election Petitions. Was also involved in other election petitions, including the Garissa Gubernatorial Election petition, and the petition on the election of the Member of National Assembly for Embakasi East Constituency.
  • Part of the team of lawyers that successfully represented the President of the Republic of Kenya, in his individual capacity, in the Court of Appeal in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) case, and prepared the responses and submissions on matters touching on him in the appeals to the Supreme Court.
  • Part of the team of lawyers that advised and acted together with the state counsel from the Attorney General’s office in various matters, including a reference for advisory opinion filed in the Supreme Court and a petition filed in the High Court, on, inter alia, the powers of the National Assembly and Senate in division of national revenue between the National Government and County Governments, and whether the recommendations of the Commission on Revenue Allocation are binding on the National Assembly. Also acted for a number of parties in a petition challenging the constitutionality of the position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) and the appointment of various Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries.
  • Successfully represented an association of insurance companies in arbitral proceedings, and the subsequent court proceedings for the enforcement of the award, on a dispute that arose from the performance of a bespoke software development agreement for the development of an integrated motor insurance database system.
  • Advised a multinational provider of mobile technology financial services, which provides airtime credit and micro loans in conjunction with mobile telephone service providers in over 21 jurisdictions around the world, and represented them in court and court-mandated mediation proceedings arising from a dispute with the developer of a software used for reconciliation of the client’s records vis-à-vis the records of the mobile telephone service providers. The dispute revolved around the ownership of the intellectual property in the software and alleged non-payment for services rendered. Successfully negotiated a settlement through the mediation process.
  • Advised and represented the Kenyan shareholders in a major international telecommunications group of companies with regard to a number of disputes regarding the relationship and management of the companies and various funds created thereunder, including potential problems with regulators, involvement of regulators, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Also represented the Kenyan shareholders in suits filed in the High Court and responded to a request for arbitration filed at the ICC International Court of Arbitration.
  • Advised a multinational manufacturer of energy drinks on anti-counterfeit, trademark infringement and passing off laws, and instituted suit for trademark infringement and passing off against a local company that was manufacturing counterfeit energy drinks and passing them off as the client’s energy drinks. Obtained interlocutory mandatory and prohibitory injunctions stopping the local company from manufacturing, offering for sale and advertising the counterfeit energy drinks and compelling them to remove the counterfeit energy drinks from distribution, including from retail outlets.
  • Advised a major confectionery manufacturer and importer in the region on trademark and passing off claims with regard to the packaging of some of its products sold in the East African region, assisted them in responding to demands, and represented them in negotiations to resolve the dispute. The work included examining all of the client’s products’ packaging against its competitor’s for similarity that may give rise to passing off claims on either side and negotiating and drafting a settlement agreement that deals with all the products and both existing and potential future disputes.
  • Represented a party in patent infringement and corresponding patent revocation proceedings at the Industrial Property Tribunal. The alleged infringement of the patent is with regard to a mobile money overdraft product developed and offered by the largest telecommunications company in the region and two of the largest banks in the country.
  • Advised an international organization that provides healthcare solutions on Kenyan copyright law and assisted them in lodging complaints to various journal publishers and a Kenyan university with regard to various journal articles and a PhD thesis that were copied/plagiarized from a report they had funded and prepared.
  • Part of a team of lawyers that represented a major player in the Kenyan retail store market in proceedings before the Competition Tribunal and the High Court following a decision by the Competition Authority of Kenya that the client had engaged in conduct amounting to abuse of buyer power in relation to its contracts with suppliers.
  • Advising and representing one of the largest media houses in Kenya in a number of defamation and related claims.
  • Assisted a team of lawyers that advised and represented three major Kenyan media houses in proceedings before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court involving various constitutional, intellectual property and media law issues which arose in the context of Kenya’s migration from analogue terrestrial television to digital terrestrial television (more commonly referred to as the “Digital Migration Case”). Some of the issues included the local media houses’ entitlement to a broadcasting signal distribution (BSD) licence, and whether there was a violation of the local media houses’ intellectual property rights when their television channels were broadcast on various digital and satellite platforms without their consent.

The People