The Citizen Handbook

Fundamentals of Devolution

Intergovernmental Relations

Resolving Intergovernmental Disputes

Clause 31 of The Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012 stipulates that national and county governments should take all reasonable measures to resolve disputes politely and utilize all alternative intergovernmental dispute resolution mechanisms before pursuing to judicial proceedings.

Dispute Resolution Framework

Any agreement between the national government and a county government or amongst county governments should include a dispute resolution mechanism and provide alternative options for dispute resolution that leaves legal proceedings as the last resort. Clause 32(2) states that agreements not contain dispute resolution framework should utilize the structure established in The Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012.

Declaration of a Dispute

Before declaring a dispute, the concerning parties should make every effort to politely resolve the matter through direct negotiations or through an intermediary. If these negotiations fail, a party may formally refer the dispute to the Coordinating Summit.

After Declaration of a Formal Dispute

Any intergovernmental structure (e.g. Coordinating Summit or Council of City Governors) should convene a meeting between the involved parties or representatives within 21 days of the formal dispute declaration. The goal of the meeting is to identify the issues in dispute, discuss possible solutions and identify any existing dispute resolution mechanisms.

The disputing parties should make every effort to resolve their differences with a mechanism where one exists. When the parties exhaust all dispute resolution alternatives and there is still no resolution, a party may submit the dispute for arbitration or judicial proceedings.

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