Examples of our work include
We provide a range of support to Amnesty International in Kenya – from assisting it to establish and restructure its presence in the country to helping with its immigration requirements to providing general employment advice.
Friends For Life Foundation
The Friends For Life Foundation (FFL) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Kwale County which was established in Kenya in 2013. Its main objective is to give scholarships to high potential students to enable them to study at high school and university or other tertiary institutions. The students will then after securing employment contribute to other students school fees thus extending the Friends for Life Fraternity.
We handle all of FFL’s legal matters – from filings before the NGO Coordination Board to work permit applications for expatriates to reviewing of all their documents (eg: employment contracts) to ensure compliance with local laws.
In 2015 we sponsored the first ever TEDx in an African prison. The Kamiti Prison event covered topics from crime and crime prevention to education, with a particularly moving speech by inmate Peter Ouko, who was convicted of murder and has spent 17 years of his life sentence in the maximum-security prison.
Ouko started an activist group – Crime Si Poa, (Kiswahili for “crime is not cool”), which teaches about the consequences of criminal behaviour and how to change course before it is too late.
Philip Coulson: “I’ve seen the transformative power of education and believe that inmates should be given the opportunity to study and broaden their minds. We are proud to be a part of the first TEDx Talk in a prison in Africa.”
Legal Awareness Week
Legal Awareness Week is an annual national event organised by the Law Society of Kenya. Its main objective is to help the public become aware of legal issues. We teamed up with various statutory bodies to set up booths at the event so that members of the public could visit and seek legal information relevant to their respective institutions. Our IP team worked with Kenya Copyright Board members to advise on copyright issues relating to protecting learning materials, magazines and musical works.
Safaricom Foundation was established in August 2003 by Safaricom Ltd. It is one of the largest corporate foundations in Kenya. Since its inception, it has invested over Ksh 1.8 billion (approximately USD 21 million) in economic empowerment, education, health, the environment, arts and culture, music and sports. The foundation has also responded to disasters and humanitarian emergencies. We assisted the foundation to review its constitutive documents and to adopt good governance practices.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a charitable environmental organisation based in the United States. Its activities in Kenya include connecting communities, community lead conservation, private and public protected areas, reducing wildlife poaching, protecting freshwater resources, conserving marine resources, promoting an integrated wildlife and cattle based economy and sharing skills and knowledge.
We helped TNC register a trust for its conservation activities in Kenya. Our involvement included advising on the formal registration requirements, corporate identity and possible tax implications. We also prepared the necessary documentation.
Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund
The Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund is a trust which aims to protect the source of water for millions of Nairobi county dwellers and ensure that the residents have access to clean water for generations to come. The Nature Conservancy is one of the trustees together with Pentair Kenya Ltd and Nairobi County Sewerage and Water Company.
We were involved in the registration and incorporation of the trust including drafting and registering the trust deed. We are currently attending to the incorporation of the trust, which involves drafting various documents (including a licence agreement for the proposed premises, affirmations from the trustees of their commitment to the activities to be undertaken and petitions to incorporate) and gathering the necessary documentation (including financial statements and the articles and memorandum of association).
Veerayatan Kenya Trust
We assisted to set up the Veerayatan Kenya Trust, a private charitable trust whose main purposes include making charitable donations, running schools and a cerebral palsy centre, and holding assets like land.
BioLite is a social enterprise, dedicated to helping off-grid families in Africa to access safe, affordable energy for cooking, charging devices and lighting their homes. We provided employment law advice to it, and assisted in drafting an HR manual and employment contract template for BioLite Kenya.
Eco Mobile is an innovative cellular provider with no contracts or monthly bills, allowing their customers to pay for what they want, when they want. In support of the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation and its clients in East Africa, we reviewed founding governance documents for Eco Mobile’s social enterprise.
Komaza is revolutionising African forestry by allowing small-scale farmers to serve industrial wood markets. With headquarters in Kilifi, Kenya, Komaza have planted 2 million trees with over 6 000 farmers, making it Kenya’s largest commercial tree planter. Another project for the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, we advised Komaza on culturally appropriate contacts with small-holder farms in rural areas.
The Peacemaker Corps Association believes that each and every youth can be a peacemaker in his or her community, harnessing modern technology to make the world a compassionate, safe and tolerant place in which to live. Alongside the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, we reviewed a contract for a partnership with a Kenyan University to set up a film studio with the aim of training and mentoring students.
The Zana Africa Foundation works with local community-based organisations, policy makers and other key partners to equip adolescent girls with the tools they need to stay in school and thrive. Various lawyers from our Nairobi office assisted the foundation with a range of legal matters including; drafting template employment contracts and an HR policy, providing structuring advice and assistance to make their Kenyan operations easier and also advising on intellectual property matters.
Alexandra Chamber of Commerce’s open day
Bowmans lawyers attended the Alexandra Chamber of Commerce’s open day for small business enterprises (SMEs) in Alexandra. The aim was to connect these SMEs with financiers, legal advisors, accountants and well established business enterprises.
Our team engaged with enthusiastic entrepreneurs like restauranteurs, bakers, construction and engineering companies, IT specialists as well as suppliers operating in the eventing, manufacturing and textiles sectors. We provided corporate legal advice covering the incorporation of companies, legislation relevant to operating companies, as well as the importance of knowing and observing the applicable taxation laws.
A good amount of time was spent educating business owners hungry for information about business critical documentation (such as memoranda of incorporation, shareholders agreements and security registers) as well as the mechanics of each of these documents and how they would ordinarily interplay with one another in the context of a well-established business undertaking.
We provided pro bono legal services to the producers of Blood Lions – a documentary feature film investigating the canned lion breeding and hunting industry. The film shows how lucrative it is to breed lions, and how the authorities and most professional hunting and tourism bodies have become complicit in allowing the industry to flourish. We also assisted in having an application by Zanchieta Wild Cat Farm for urgent injunctive relief against the producers dismissed.
Over the last two years, we have provided general corporate and employment advice to FoodBank South Africa NPC. Foodbank procures food and other groceries, largely as donations from food manufacturers, retailers and government agencies. The food is then stored, sorted and distributed to social service organisations, which in turn distribute it to destitute people in South Africa. We advised FoodBank on the national restructuring of its operations. We have also assisted by reviewing service level agreements between FoodBank and various organisations and advised in relation to sponsorship and donation arrangements and ad hoc employment queries.We are currently exploring the possibility of setting up a black-owned enterprise to deliver to transport services to them.
Ibis Reproductive Health
Ibis Reproductive Health conducts research into women’s needs and partners with other stakeholders who use their research to improve policies and delivery of services around the world. They focus on increasing access to safe abortions, expanding contraceptive access and choices, and integrating HIV and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.We assist by providing pro bono legal services to the organization’s Johannesburg branch, which has been operational since 2003.
In addition, our offices in South Africa and Uganda were asked to provide legal advice to a non-profit organization whose key objective is to assist women in countries with restrictive abortion laws to access safe and affordable abortions. We provided advice relating to the potential criminal and civil liability of their officers participating in the programme in various countries.
Lawyers against Abuse
Lawyers against Abuse (LvA) is a voluntary association set up as a non-profit entity which provides legal services to victims and survivors of acts of domestic violence, homophobic crimes, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence and abuse.
LvA collaborates with organizations, government departments and service providers that provide complementary services and training. Alongside the provision of core services involving direct assistance to the victims on a case by case basis, LvA also monitors and evaluates implementation of the relevant laws and engages in research, social work, psycho-education and counselling.
We assisted LvA to establish itself as a voluntary association in South Africa and to acquire public benefit organisation status in terms of the Income Tax Act.
Lawyers for Human Rights and Section27
Operation Fiela was a nationwide campaign carried out by the South African Police force targeting illegal weapons‚ drug dens‚ prostitution rings and other unlawful activities. Our lawyers assisted by taking statements from the Operation Fiela detainees at Johannesburg Central Police Station. Due to this assistance, the team of attorneys from Lawyers for Human Rights and Section27 had more capacity to deal with the foreign detainees in an operation that was seen largely as “state-sponsored xenophobia”.
Let’s Build Our Country Fund
Let’s Build our Country Fund is an organisation that provides tertiary education funding and financial support to young people. We provide the organization with pro bono corporate legal services.
Orbis Internationalis is a non-profit humanitarian organization that focusses on improving access to quality eye health in developing countries.
We helped Orbis International to establish Orbis Africa – an advocacy programme for Sub-Saharan Africa which promotes the mainstreaming of eye health onto the public health and development agendas of Sub-Saharan African countries. We also assisted Orbis in preparing all legal and regulatory agreements and documents necessary to set up a non-profit company in South Africa. We assisted it to acquire tax exemption status, thereby qualifying as a public benefit organization in terms of the Income Tax Act.
Where necessary, we provide ad hoc assistance on legal queries.
SA Scout Foundation
Our specialist pension law team is assisting the SA Scout Foundation in a matter relating to retired and senior employees of the Scout Association who are unable to access their benefits due to the fact that the fund deregistered.
Sokhulu & Partners
A local legal drama series, Sokhulu & Partners, aired in 2016 on South African TV. It explored, via impactful storytelling, the South African Constitution and Bill of Rights and how they apply in practice. Some of the themes featured in the series included hate speech, customary law, dolus eventualis (a popular catch phrase following the Oscar Pistorius trial), and rape in the ukhutwala context (ukhutwala is the cultural practice of abducting young girls and forcing them into marriage, often with the consent of their parents). We advised Penguin Films on this matter on a pro bono basis because we believed that the content of the series was in the public interest.
The Master’s Community Wills Day
The reporting and administration of deceased estates in previously disadvantaged rural communities is a complex and neglected matter. Women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable as their access to legal support and knowledge to deal with such matters is limited.
The Master of the High Court at the Ashton Magistrate’s Court appealed for help from trust companies and legal firms to support and educate the local community. Community meetings were held where the process for reporting and administering s18(3) estates and how executing a will resolves common concerns which arise as a result of death were explained. We assisted community members with advice and drawing up their wills.
TSiBA, a not-for-profit tertiary education institution. It offers a four year Bachelor of Business Administration degree to learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
Since 2011, we have lectured and tutored Business Law at TSiBA. The course provides an introduction to the legal system, the court structure, the constitution and the general rules and principles of commercial law. The learners obtain a basic grounding in the law of contract as well as intellectual property, competition, consumer and property law. The lectures provide the theoretical framework, while the tutorials offer an opportunity to apply the law to practical problem questions.
Songo.info is a social development programme that provides sports and recreational activities to children, particularly in the townships. It offers children a safe place to play and instils in them the ability to dream big and achieve their goals. We assist the programme with various pro bono corporate legal services.
The Shalamuka Foundation
The Shalamuka Foundation was formed to raise long-term sustainable funding for the Penreach Whole School Development Programme, which focusses on improving the skills of teachers and their schools in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Shalamuka Capital was started in 2008 when the Shalamuka Foundation was looking to invest in private equity and partnered with RMB Corvest. The funding received by the Shalamuka Foundation from Shalamuka Capital is used to facilitate the growth of Penreach. We assisted by providing the legal services required to incorporate Shalamuka Capital 2, another partnership between the Shalamuka Foundation and RMB Corvest.
GN Lub identifies and recruits aspiring entrepreneurs who could benefit from the support of major corporates. Our role was to facilitate a share sale in which a new shareholder purchased a 49% share in the business from GN Lub, the initial sole shareholder. We drafted a share sale agreement and a shareholders’ agreement to reflect the new structure, and also drafted a memorandum of incorporation and the relevant Board resolutions.
Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Fund (GKEPF)
The GKEPF is a registered non-profit company company that assists with the combating of environmental crime. We helped it to obtain tax exemption from SARS, which will in turn assist it in raising funds.
Karisani provides IT support to big companies in Cape Town. It had two shareholders, each owning 50% of the company. We drafted the shareholders’ agreement and the memorandum of incorporation, and undertook the relevant company secretarial work.
Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI)
Acting on instructions from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), we helped 241 families – about 650 individuals across seven settlements in Durban – who were evicted from their homes to obtain court-sanctioned approval to rebuild their dwellings.
Teach a Man to Fish
Teach a Man to Fish is a non-profit organisation striving to make a long-term on global poverty by establishing sustainable, income-generating schools in the poorest countries in Africa. We helped it to set up as a foreign company and register as a public benefit organisation. As a result, they are now able to hire staff.
Landesa partners with local government to help rural farmers to secure rights and access to land on which they are working. They hope to set up their first office in Africa. We advised this US land-rights NGO on local employment laws in relation to hiring local professionals.
Trees for the Future
Trees for the Future works on the revitalisation of degraded farming land and fights poverty by providing Tanzanian farmers with training and material for agroforestry practices. We assisted the Tanzanian office of this US NGO with employment law advice, advising on a number of employment-related matters pertaining to the injury of a worker and the process of claiming workmen’s compensation. We also assisted with the reviewing of their standard employment contract.
We are at the forefront of public interest litigation in Uganda especially in the sphere of constitutional law and constitutionalism. We spearheaded public interest litigation in the Constitutional Court that redefined the right to bail and the right to a fair trial in Uganda.
Our Kampala office works both independently and in conjunction with the Uganda Law Society to provide pro bono legal services to deserving cases. Our Ernest K. Wiltshire, as ex-Vice President for the Uganda Law Society, has been a key advocate for human rights protection and the rule of law in Uganda. Examples of our work include:
Cyrus R. Vance Centre for International Justice
We provided pro bono advice to the Cyrus R. Vance Centre for International Justice (Centre) which advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession.
The Centre is constituted by practicing lawyers committed to providing and promoting pro bono legal service to support civil society and social justice. The Centre collaborates with the committees of the New York City Bar Association, law firms, NGOs, law schools and legal organisations throughout the world.
We advised the Centre on the regulations governing the use of solitary confinement in Uganda.
Bar Standards Board (England & Wales)
Our Jacqueline Lule is a barrister member of the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar Standards Board. She assists in the regulation of barristers by considering evidence of complaints as set against the Bar Code of Conduct and making decisions as to whether charges should follow.
Jacqueline spent 16 years at the Bar of England and Wales where she represented clients in respect of human rights matters pertaining to the right to life and freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
We advised DKT International (one of the largest private providers of family planning and reproductive health products and services in the developing world) on Ugandan regulations concerning reproductive, health care and pharmaceutical rights.
Forty Days over Forty Smiles (40-40)
We provide pro bono advice and corporate legal services to 40-40, a Kampala-based, independent, youth-led charity organisation. The organisation helps vulnerable children and communities to access quality, all round education support and entrepreneurial training.
We are providing pro bono corporate restructuring advice to KAD Africa, a commercial passion fruit farm and out grower network. This company works with more than 1 500 out-of-school girls in Western Uganda to build sustainable livelihood options by starting viable agro enterprises cultivating passion fruit.
Kingdom of Buganda
David F.K Mpanga is the Attorney General of the Buganda Kingdom, the largest and one of the oldest cultural institutions in East Africa. In this capacity he has advocated for the cultural, economic and social rights of citizens
SOS Children’s Villages Uganda
We provide pro bono legal advice to SOS Children’s Villages Uganda, a non-profit organisation focusing on family-based care, family strengthening, education, child’s right advocacy and health.
KadAfrica is a social enterprise providing knowledge, skills and assets for female school leavers in Western Uganda. The organisation helps these young women to start their own passion fruit farms, teaching them financial literacy and entrepreneurship while they generate an income through agribusiness. We advised on their company restructuring which included filing shareholders’ and Board resolutions, advising on the allotment and sale of shares, and reviewing the memorandum and articles of association to reflect several changes by the company.