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A Panel Discussion on the BBI Judgment of the High Court of Kenya



Virtual Event


Mon 21 June 2021

The Edinburgh Centre for Consitutional Law presents

A Panel Discussion on the BBI Judgment of the High Court of Kenya



The recent BBI judgment of the High Court of Kenya (David Ndii v. The Attorney General [2020]) has aroused major interest within the Commonwealth and comparative constitutional law community. It is a long a complex judgment dealing with many salient issues of Kenyan constitutional law, and it will be of major significance for democratisation and constitutional development in Kenya. However, the main interest for comparativists has been in the High Court’s adoption of the Basic Structure Doctrine as part of the law of Kenya and having the effect of limiting the scope of constitutional amendments. This panel brings together three experts in Kenyan public law and comparative constitutional law to discuss the judgment and its impact both on Kenyan constitutional democracy as well as constitutional theory more broadly. 



15:00-15:05        Introductions: Dr Asanga Welikala, Director, ECCL

15:05-15:30        Mr Waikwa Wanyoike, Litigation Director, Open Society Justice Initiative: ‘An overview’

15:30-15:45         Professor Ambreena Manji, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University: ‘A law and society perspective’

15:45-16:00         Dr Silvia Suteu, Faculty of Laws, UCL: ‘A comparative perspective’

16:00-17:00         Plenary Discussion



Waikwa Wanyoike is the Litigation Director at the Open Society Justice Initiative. The Justice Initiative is a public interest law centre for the Open Society Foundations (OSF). The Justice Initiative participates in cases in national, regional and international courts around the world fostering accountability on varying issues including killings and torture, migration and citizenship, international criminal justice, economic justice, digital rights and generally on accountability and rule of law.

Before joining the Justice Initiative, Waikwa co-founded and served as the Executive Director of Katiba Institute, a constitution research and litigation centre, in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Waikwa is admitted to practice law as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario, Canada, and as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and has litigated many ground-breaking cases in both jurisdictions before trial and appellate courts. He has led strategic litigation on issues ranging from refugee and citizenship rights, fair trial rights, transnational crimes, civil and political rights, electoral justice, socio-economic rights, climate change and environmental rights.


Professor Ambreena Manji is Professor of Land Law and Development at Cardiff. Previously, she was seconded to Nairobi as the Director of the British Academy's British Institute in Eastern Africa (2010-2014). At Cardiff, Professor Manji has co-founded the Law and Global Justice Centre. With funding from the British Academy, the Centre launched its Socio-Legal Journals Global South Initiative in 2018, with writing workshops for early-career legal scholars hosted by our partner Law Schools in Recife, Bangalore, Accra and Nairobi attended by editors from five of the UK’s leading law journals. Her most recent book is The Struggle for Land and Justice in Kenya (James Currey/Boydell & Brewer 2020).


Dr Silvia Suteu is Lecturer in Public Law at UCL. At UCL, she co-founded and convenes the Public Law Group and sits on the editorial board of Current Legal Problems. She was previously a tutor and ESRC Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where she also co-founded and convened the Constitutional Law Discussion Group and acted as Associate Director for Research Engagement of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law. She is currently also an executive board member of the UK Constitutional Law Association, having previously served as manager of the UK Constitutional Law Association Blog (2015-2020). Her research focuses on the theory and practice of constitutional change. Her monograph, Eternity Clauses in Democratic Constitutionalism, has just come out with Oxford University Press in May 2021.


This event is free and open to all but registration is required (link below).




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