For immediate release

14th June 2022

Parties make oral arguments on the protection of all forms of family and equitable division of property arising out of family forming unions

Today, 14th June 2022, ISLA appeared before the Supreme Court of Kenya during the hearing of Supreme Court Petition No 9(E011) of 2021, a case in which the court is considering the question of division of property acquired during unregistered or unrecognised unions. This petition raises questions concerning the nature and extent of states’ obligations to ensure the protection of various relationships which are not registered as marriages, but which function as family forming unions. In this case, as amicus, ISLA made submissions on the need for the recognition of cohabiting relationships as family forming unions, and demonstrated the need to ensure protection of the rights of parties to property such unions.

In this case, ISLA has filed submissions which will aid the court in appreciating the Kenyan legal framework for the recognition of various forms of families, and specific to this case, cohabiting relationships; determining the basis of the legal protection that the state should accord to all families, including those which arise out of otherwise unrecognized relationships; and highlight the application of the right to equality and the gendered impact of division of property in various intimate relationships.

This is one of the cases where ISLA has used legal methods to frame strategic litigation to advance women’s rights in the context of family law and has drawn on prevailing regional and international standards to highlight the failure to legislate or the insufficiency in domestic law-making efforts. We look forward to receiving judgment on this petition, which the Court has directed it will issue on notice.

For further enquiries kindly contact

Lesego Nchunga

ISLA Women’s Socio-economic Rights Lawyer


Nyokabi Njogu

Legal Counsel

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Karen C, Kuwinda Lane, Off Langata Road

Po Box 112 – 00202 KNH


Tel: 0790 111578