Standards Tribunal launches Rules of Practice & Procedure.

The Standards Tribunal launched its Rules of Practice & Procedure on March 22, 2014, effectively signaling its take off in the hearing and determination of disputes between the Kenya Bureau of Standards or the National Standards Council and aggrieved parties in the Standards and Quality Assurance sector. 

The launch was the climax of a week-long public awareness campaign mounted by the Tribunal in Mombasa to sensitize stakeholders on the role of the Tribunal in administration of justice.  

During the launch, Industrialization & Enterprise Development Principal Secretary Dr. Wilson Songa stressed the importance of standardization in industrial development hence the critical role played by the Standards Tribunal in dispute resolution.

He said the Tribunal had clear advantages in dispute resolution over ordinary courts which include: 

Specialization in standardization matters only

Uses alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and therefore maintains cordial relationships between parties.

Does not follow undue technicalities of procedure – It is informal

Can use expert evidence to decide matters which ensures fairness

An aggrieved party can represent him/herself or can be represented by someone else other than an advocate

 

standards-tribunal-launches-rules-of-practice-procedure 

Industrialization & Enterprise Development PS Dr. Wilson Songa, MBS, cuts the commemorative cake to signify the launch of the Rules of Practice & Procedures of the Standards Tribunal. He is flanked by members of the Tribunal.

Address by the Principal Secretary, Dr. Wilson Songa, During the Launch of Standards Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure and Closing Ceremony of the Public Awareness Caimpaign, Held at Mombasa Beach Hotel

  • Mr. Aggrey Shikanga Shitsama, Chairman – Standards Tribunal
  • Board of Directors, Standards Tribunal
  • Mrs. Margaret Njoroge, Secretary – Standards Tribunal
  • Representatives of various State Corporations
  • Resource persons
  • Distinguished participants
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am happy to be part of the climax and closure of this important event, the public awareness campaign on the Standards Tribunal, the 1st of its kind in the devolved County Government of Mombasa. Today’s event is also significant as the Tribunal will also be launching the Rules of Practice and Procedure.

I commend the Tribunal for selecting Mombasa as the venue for the launch, as the County plays a critical role of being the gateway for most of the Kenya’s imported and exported goods that require high quality standards. This workshop also demonstrates the determination of the National and County Governments to partner in the provision of service delivery to the citizenry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The universal compliance with international, regional or national standards is critical, not only for fair competition in various domestic and regional markets, but also for creating a presence in export markets. Standards, therefore, help to make sure that products and services are fit for their purpose and are comparable and compatible. 

The Jubilee manifesto is premised on a vision for a New Kenya. A Kenya where every citizen has equal opportunities, an equal say in the affairs of the nation, and equal access to our county’s resources. In addition, the constitution, under chapter 4 – Bill of Rights, provides rights for: access to information; consumer rights; fair administrative action; access to justice amongst others. This public awareness campaign by the Standards Tribunal therefore provides: equal opportunity for administration of justice on matters related to standards; access to information on the tribunal’s roles, mandate and benefits; and access to justice on those aggrieved with regard to standards related issues. It is against this background that the Government continues to operationalize the Standards Tribunal.

The Standards Tribunal was established vide Legal Notice of 2004 which introduced section 16 A-H to the existing Standards Act chapter 496 of Kenya. The Tribunal is an independent quasi-judicial body in the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development. It determines disputes in accordance with the principles of natural justice and upholds the constitution and the rule of law. Thus, the Tribunal ensures that there is effective Standards’ setting and enforcement by providing the required legal control mechanism.

The mandate of the Standard Tribunal is to adjudicate on disputes concerning Standards emanating from any person aggrieved by a decision of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) or the National Standards Council, acting on reference from the Managing Director on matters of law, unusual importance or complexity and to hear appeals from any accredited conformity assessment body dissatisfied and aggrieved by any decisions made by the Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS).

In carrying out is mandate, the Tribunal extends advantages to its users that include:

  1. specialization in standardization matter;
  2. uses the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism and therefore maintains the cordial relationships of parties;
  3. faster methods of resolving conflicts;
  4. affordable fees charged and inexpensive;
  5. does not follow undue technicalities of procedure and is informal;
  6. can use expert evidence to decide matters which ensures fairness;
  7. transparent procedures which are fair to parties; and
  8. One can represent him/herself or can be represented by any other person and not necessary an advocate.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is encouraging that since this awareness conference started here 4 days ago, over thirty five (35) participants drawn from various organizations have received vast knowledge on various aspects of standards. They were drawn from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Accreditation Services (KENAS), Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS); KENGEN, NEMA, EPZA, KENINVEST, Mombasa Water Company, and the private sector (Mabati Rolling Mills; Mombasa Maize Millers and Unilever).

The awareness included: Overview of the Standards Act/Quality Assurance, Industrialization policy/Vision 2030; Role of Private Sector in Quality Assurance; Overview of the Rules of Practice and Procedures for the Standards Tribunal, Remedies available at the Standards Tribunal, Types for Procedures for quality assurance and Importance of standards in Industrial Development/Public Private Partnerships. The sessions included study tours such as visit to Wakesho Community Based Organization, a cottage industry producing Virgin Coconut Oil, Kikoyi and Amaranthas flour and the port.

Distinguished participants,

As you may have already been informed, one of the priority areas on the Ministry’s Industrialization Road Map is to improve ease and cost of doing business. The Standards Tribunal is one of the institutions with the legal framework that will assist in the realization of this goal. It provides a mechanism that is affordable and accessible for dispute resolution in the Standards sector. The Rules of Practice and Procedures for the Standards Tribunal will provide a predictable mechanism that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions.

I wish to reiterate the Government’s commitment in ensuring Kenya has an effective Judicial System which is a pre-requisite for a good business environment. Efforts will therefore be made to enhance the operations of the Standards Tribunal and other policy, legal and institutional arrangements to improve ease and reduce cost of doing business.

In conclusion, I wish to thank all the participants for creating time to attend the public awareness campaign and urge you all to be good ambassadors for the Standards Tribunal to ensure more citizens use this facility and understand its operations. I also take this opportunity to thank the Board and Management of the Standards Tribunal for this important milestone. It is only recently that the Board was official inaugurated by the Chief Justice and have already developed Rules of Practice and Procedures that we also launch today. I wish them well in their endeavours of ensure standard are properly enforced by the regulators such as KEBS and KENAS. I wish to remind them to continue resolving disputes expeditiously as “Justice delayed is justice denied”. I now declare this workshop officially closed. 

Thank you and God bless you all.

Awareness Workshop For National Government And Regulatory Authorities on World Trade Organization Technical Barriers To Trade (WTO/TBT) Agreement

MOIEDTechnical regulations and standards are important, but they vary from country to country. Having too many different standards makes life difficult for producers and exporters. If the standards are set arbitrarily, they could be used as an excuse for protectionism. Standards can become obstacles to trade. But they are also necessary for a range of reasons, from environmental protection, safety, national security to consumer information. And they can help trade. Therefore the same basic question arises again: how to ensure that standards are genuinely useful, and not arbitrary or an excuse for protectionism.

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