Be consistent in your dedication to showing your gratitude to others. Gratitude is a fuel, a medicine, a spiritual and emotional nourishment.

― Steve Maraboli,  Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

The 8th June 2016 was unlike any normal cold June day in Nairobi; the sun was upbeat and bright, a sign of “spirits rising” as is believed in parts of Kenya. At 2.30 p.m., a team from the chartered Institute of Arbitrators, led by its Chair, Mr. Kihara Muruthi, made their way to the residence of Mr. O.P Nagpal. This was the appointed date of visiting and honouring the long standing lawyer and arbitrator, undoubtedly, the optimistic weather was directly coinciding with the mood of the team with respect to their mission.

The visit follows the September 2015 resolution by the Branch Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Kenya to institutionalize a member visitation programme, fashioned as a social welfare and benevolence platform for the benefit of Members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in the Kenya.  The programme, which was spearheaded by the Branch Honorary Secretary Mr. Patrick Kisia, is expected to deliberately foster a sense of family and community among Arbitrators, to depict the human face of the institute and have in place a predictable and comprehensive system in terms of management of social welfare related aspects of members of the institute:-

The Benevolence Programme takes cognizance of the fact that many members of the institute have over time devoted their time, a most crucial resource, their intellect and finances in the service of the institute and the institute on its part ought to embrace the members and recognize them as persons with human experiences and vulnerabilities. The programme on benevolence covers members of the institute who are in poor health, those that have had bereavement in their families and most importantly, endeavours to stand with the families of member’s that have passed on.

The second limb of the CIArb outreach programme is the recognition of Members for rendering of invaluable service to the institution. Certain members of the institute have over time, from inception shown dedication, commitment and loyalty to the institution while others have rendered exemplary and invaluable service to the institute, providing a much needed lifeline to it. To be included in this category are founding members of the institute, members that have immensely contributed to the advancement of the name and image of the institute and of Alternative Dispute Resolution through research, training, advocacy and publication , and former Chairpersons of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

One such member is Mr. O.P Nagpal, a barrister with the London bar, Advocate of the High Court of Kenya since 1955 and a dedicated arbitrator. At the age of 83, Mr. Nagpal  is full of vigour, insights and fresh ideas on how the institute can best position itself to be more effective in Kenya, Africa and internationally. The team shared tea in a warm environment and Mr. Nagpal reminisced over the evolution of arbitration and earlier days of practice in Kenya through his more than 50 decades of service. He indicated his wish to document his journey in a memoir which idea the Chair of the institute encouraged him to embark upon expeditiously and assured Nagpal of the support of the Kenya Branch in the endeavour. According to Mr. Kihara, Mr. Nagpal’s memoirs would be invaluable as resource particularly to arbitrators now and for posterity. Mr. Kihara further isolated the immense contribution by Mr. Nagpal alongside other members of the Chartered Institute of arbitrators in the drafting of the initial arbitration Act and the institute’s rules and thanked him on behalf of the institute.

The visit came to a moving close with Mr. Kihara thanking Mr. Nagpal’s wife for the support she has accorded her husband over the years which guaranteed him the time to serve and impact on humanity through his selfless contribution to institutions like the chartered institute of arbitrators, the Nairobi rotary club, the office the director of public prosecutions and the legal fraternity.  A certificate of appreciation and a memento were presented to Mr. Nagpal before departure.

 Lumallas Eunice, FCIArb

Outreach programme co-ordinator