International Arbitration Bill: What It Means For Arbitration In SA

Let us look at the implication the International Arbitration Bill will have on South Africa and at the effect it might have on mediation legally. The International Arbitration Bill is being studied by parliament and we are of the opinion that it will most probably be approved. This does in effect mean that South Africa may be subject to new International Arbitration Law within the next few years.

As the South African courts and legal professionals are at enormous pressure from commercial dispute resolution cases,  the courts have gone a long way in promoting mediation as an alternative,  especially regarding commercial interests. When going the arbitration route parties are allowed to formally settle disputes in private where the state is not included. This means that businesses are saving a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on legal fees.

Old Arbitral Procedures

Because international arbitration was limited to the outdated Arbitration Act, No 42 of 1965 the profession has always had an issue with International arbitral procedures. International arbitral procedures will be distinguished from domestic arbitration with the new International Arbitration Act in place and will be governed by as per UNCITRAL Model Law set out in the New York Convention.

New Arbitral Procedures

Arbitral procedures between international parties will in effect be governed by the laws in the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules although the force of law will still be maintained by executive powers within South Africa.  This will essentially free up the local judiciary and offer commercial parties to settle disputes on their own terms. With the Act in place, foreign arbitral awards will not require government authorisation with regards to their enforcement. Arbitral awards will need to be made an order of the court where parties are acting in good faith.  If the subject is not arbitrable in South Africa, they will not be required to make an order of the court.

South Africa will certainly be an inviting location for international dispute, as soon as the new Act comes into operation which will definitely be a plus for our country.

JA Attorneys are specialist arbitration and mediation attorneys dealing with debt collection, commercial and child custody disputes. Contact us to discuss your urgent matter.