A vicious legal tussle pitting local and foreign law firms representing more than 21,000 Mau Mau victims in British courts has erupted a few months before the judgment is delivered.
The courts are expected to deliver judgment in August on the compensation claims demanded by survivors of British atrocities during the colonial era.
Lawyer Cecil Miller, on behalf of AVH Legal LLP, has filed an urgent application in the Court of Appeal in Kenya, saying a consent was entered in that court on October 2, 2017, without involving all the affected law firms and entities representing the interests of the Mau Mau victims in Britain.
Mr Miller said in court papers that all the parties in the appeal case are now bound by the consent order dated October 2, 2017, yet not all of them were a party to it.
“The case in Britain is about to be concluded and judgment is imminent in or before August, 2018, and if successful, the over 21,000 claimants in that case will not be able to access their funds due and payable to them by AVH Legal LLP as the same is now the subject of the October 2, 2017, consent order,” Mr Miller said.
He pointed out the AVH Legal LLP was not party to the order, and wants it set aside. He claims that one of the parties in the appeal case mischievously omitted certain necessary documentation, and subsequently misled the court when the consent was adopted in October last year.
Prior to the consent being recorded, eight different law firms and entities with interest in the ongoing Mau Mau case were parties to an appeal filed to challenge a High Court judgment.
The consent stated that the appeal be marked as withdrawn but also committed that the appealing parties be paid, should the British court rule in favour of the Mau Mau victims.
Others in the appeal case are lawyers Donald Rabala, Godfrey Otieno Onyango, Harvey Agumbah, Crispin Oduor Obudo, George Omondi Kagumba, Griffin Legal Kenya Ltd, Griffin Claims Management Ltd, Griffin Legal UK, and Tandem Law.
The first group of approximately 5,228 Mau Mau victims were paid Sh2.5 billion by the British government in 2013 after an out-of-court settlement was reached. In the deal, the British government was also to build a monument in memory of the fighters killed during the Mau Mau war.
The case filed by AVH Legal LLP will be heard on July 23.