What you need to know:
- The judge said the retirement scheme did not advance valid persuasive reasons for the failure to adhere to the timelines.
- Justice Odero also found that the pension scheme had failed to follow the procedure for seeking enlargement of time within which to file a reference against taxation of legal bill of costs.
Kenya’s oldest pension scheme covering county government employees has lost its bid to stop payment of Sh48.6 million to a city law firm owned by lawyer Donald Kipkorir.
The Scheme, CPF Financial Services Ltd, will have to pay KTK Advocates Sh48.6 million for legal services rendered more than five years ago. Initially, the Pension Scheme was known as Local Authorities Pensions Trust (Laptrust).
In an application at the High Court in Nairobi, the pension scheme wanted the judge to vacate and set aside a ruling delivered by the court’s deputy registrar on May 30, 2019 directing it to pay the law firm the amount.
Alternatively, the scheme wanted the court to suspend proceedings instituted by the law firm demanding the money pending the hearing and final determination of an appeal.
And since the application had been filed outside the stipulated timelines, the corporation wanted extension of time and its documents to be deemed as lodged on time.
Settling the bill
Further, the CPF Financial Services argued that deputy registrar Sammy Opande had no powers to deal with the matter.
But Justice Maureen Odero dismissed the application on grounds that it was an abuse of the court process and part of a string of attempts made by the retirement scheme to avoid settling the bill.
She noted that the scheme had in October 2019 lost another bid to bar the deputy registrar from determining the legal bill of costs.
While allowing a preliminary objection filed by KTK Advocates, Justice Odero also found that the pension scheme had failed to follow the procedure for seeking enlargement of time within which to file a reference against taxation of legal bill of costs.
“The client did not in any event seek reasons for the taxing master’s decision. They had 14 days from June 6, 2019 to file a reference. The client failed to do so. No application was made to enlarge the time. Instead, 22 days later, the client filed a reference couched as an application,” said Justice Odero.
She noted that it was obvious that the application was nothing but an attempt to circumvent the timelines provided for in the Advocates (Remuneration) Order.
The judge said the retirement scheme did not advance valid persuasive reasons for the failure to adhere to the timelines.
“It could be argued that rules of procedure ought not to be used to shut out a litigant seeking to file a reference. Rules of procedure are not set out as mere suggestion which a party can decide to adhere to as and when they wish,” said Justice Odero.
She also ruled that the appeal filed by the pension scheme at the Court of Appeal had nothing to do with the subject legal bill since the process had been concluded by the Deputy Registrar.
“That issue has now been overtaken by events given that taxation of the bill of costs did take place and a ruling was delivered on May 30, 2019. The client cannot seek a stay relying on an appeal over a matter that has already occurred,” said the judge.