Court Arbitration

by on July 12th, 2011
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In South Africa, arbitration is being favoured more and more as an alternative to litigation in resolving conflicts and disputes. The attractions are that agreements can be reached out of the courts, which are presided over by judges and magistrates appointed by the State, and the more flexible nature of the process. However, while arbitration is usually a quicker process than litigation it can still be costly, as the parties jointly appoint the arbitrator and are therefore liable for paying the arbitrator’s fees, the cost of the venue as well as the cost of the recording and transcription of the proceedings and findings.

Essentially, if you choose to resolve an issue by means of arbitration, it will involve doing so out of court and putting your faith in the judgement of an arbitrator chosen jointly by you and whoever you have a dispute with. You will share all of the costs that would otherwise be provided in a court at the government’s expense (each party retains responsible for their own lawyers’ fees), and the duration of proceedings will be as long as you and the other party choose to make it, although typically it will be shorter than the court proceedings for a similar case.

Examples of Arbitration

Arbitration can be entered into as an alternative to litigation where there is alleged to be a breach of contract, for instance, or in cases of insolvency. Other examples in terms of grounds for arbitration instead of litigation include dismissals alleged to be unfair, shareholders’ disagreements among company shareholders, divorce proceedings, labour disputes, or where there is alleged to be unfair competition the market.

Among the more publicised arbitration proceedings of late has been that involving steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal’s stake in Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine and the price that Kumba sells iron ore to ArcelorMittal.

In 1995 the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was established as an independent dispute resolution body, and the CCMA has since made a selection of CCMA arbitration award details available to the public.


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