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17 August 2015 - Announcement of the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Centre Johannesburg (CAJAC).

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The Johannesburg Consensus, in support of the establishment of a China-Africa Joint Arbitration mechanism was signed by 37 signatories, including the Mayor of Johannesburg, business and other organisations and leading firms of attorneys.

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28 August 2009 - This weeks discussion: ARE ARBITRATORS BOUND BY JUDICIAL DECISIONS?
27 March 2009 - Constitutional Court ruling on private arbitration

In a landmark judgement the Constitutional Court has recognised and affirmed the role of private arbitrations in our legal system.

In the matter of Lufuno Mphaphuli & Associates (Pty) LTD vs Nigel Athol Andrews and Bopanang Construction CC, O’Regan ADCJ writing for the majority held in a judgement handed down on 20 March 2009, that section 34 of the Constitution did not apply directly to private arbitrations and that persons who choose to arbitrate do not waive their constitutional rights under section 34 but choose, instead, not to exercise such rights and instead choose to participate in a private process which must be fairly conducted on the basis that the outcome - the arbitrator’s award – will be respected by the courts and enforced by the courts.

In recognising the legitimate role of private arbitration O’Regan ADCJ said:

"[197] Some of the advantages if arbitration lie in its flexibility (as parties can determine the process to be followed by an arbitrator including the manner in which evidence will be received, the exchange of pleadings and the like), its cost-effectiveness, its privacy and its speed (particularly as often no appeal lies from an arbitrator’s award, or lies only in an accelerated form to an appellate arbitral body).In determining the proper constitutional approach to private arbitration, we need to bear in mind that litigation before the ordinary courts can be a rigid, costly and time-consuming process and that it is not inconsistent with our constitutional values to permit parties to seek a quicker and cheaper mechanism for the resolution of disputes."

The Court further held that the spirit of the Constitution accorded well with the Roman Dutch Law regarding private arbitration and that the Court should be careful:

"........... not to undermine the achievement of the goals of private arbitration by enlarging their powers of scrutiny imprudently. Section 33 (1) provides three grounds for setting aside an arbitration award: misconduct by an arbitrator; gross irregularity in the conduct of the proceedings; and the fact that an award has been improperly obtained. In my view, and in the light of the reasoning in the previous paragraphs, the Constitution would require a court to construe these grounds reasonably strictly in relation to private arbitration."

The full judgement, including the minority judgement of Kroon AJ (who held that section 34 did apply to arbitration) may be found on the website of The Constitutional Court of South Africa at www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/Mphaphuli.htm

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30 May 2008 - Interview on CNBCA with Prof. Mervyn King, courtesy of CNBC Africa, DStv Channel 410.

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