COVID 19 BRIEFING NO 4 – THE CLOSURE OF REGISTRIES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICES
In line with the Government of Kenya’s directives on curbing the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), various Government offices and registries around the country have scaled down their operations or closed down.
- The Business Registration Service (BRS) temporarily suspended the services provided at Sheria House with effect from 16 March 2020. We understand that online services on BRS will continue to be accessible. However, it is not clear whether new non-automated filings and applications will be dealt with.
- The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning declared that all lands offices and registries will be closed for 28 days effective 17 March 2020.
- The Chief Justice and the National Council on the Administration of Justice announced various measures relating to Kenyan courts for two (2) weeks effective 16 March 2020. We have separately provided a more detailed commentary on the closure of the courts and court registries.
Parties should consider the potential effects of the closure of the Government registries and offices to their legal and contractual obligations.
For instance, the law requires certain stamping, filings and registrations requirements to be undertaken within prescribed timelines. Failure to comply with these timelines could result in dire consequences including unenforceability of contracts, payment of penalties and criminal sanctions.
In addition, where parties are under contractual obligations to take actions within prescribed contractual timelines (such as procuring consents, registrations and filings), they should consider whether the closure of the registries could result in breach hence contractual liability.
We can offer guidance on how on how to mitigate some of these consequences