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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I initiate an arbitration?
Look in your agreement to see if there is an AFSA or an ADRASA arbitration clause. If there is a provision for AFSA to appoint an arbitrator only, contact the Registrar. If the matter is to be held in terms of AFSA rules, it is recommended that you consult the AFSA Rules for Commercial Arbitration for large, complex matters, or the Expedited Rules if the matter is within the Magistrate's Court jurisdiction (ie for claims of R100 000 or less), or if the claim is, say, below R500 000 and not particularly complex. If the matter is suitable to be heard in terms of the Expedited Rules, the Claimant needs to fax the Registrar a copy of the agreement in which the arbitration clause appears. If the agreement is very long, the first page, the signatures page and the page in which the arbitration clause appear are satisfactory for the time being. The Registrar also needs to know the amount of money that is claimed and the full contact details of the other party or parties involved. That includes the name of the attorney, docex address or post and physical address, phone and fax numbers and e-mail address. Finally the Registrar requires an outline of the dispute, reduced to a page or a page and a half. For larger matters the Claimant needs to fill in a request for Arbitration form (found in the Commercial Rules ) and attach it to a Statement of Claim and send through a minimum of three copies to the Secretariat.

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2. How do I calculate the administration fee?
See attached Annexe

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3. Do I need to be represented by a lawyer in an arbitration?
Although this is a matter for you to choose for yourself, we must strongly emphasise the importance of making use of a legal representative. A lawyer will have the knowledge to draft papers correctly, understand the legal technicalities of the issues in dispute and grasp the requirements of the process. The Secretariat often finds itself spending enormous amounts of time attending to endless communications and queries from unrepresented parties. Such parties may also have unrealistic expectations or have a misunderstanding of their legal position in these circumstances, which can lead to frustration for all sides, and wasted time and costs.

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4. What if the other side is unco-operative?
The AFSA Rules make full provision for the arbitration to proceed even when this happens. In an extreme case the party who refuses to co-operate can be excluded at the order of the arbitrator.

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5. Do I require an attorney in a mediation?
No. Some people even say that lawyers can be a hindrance to a mediation hearing, because they are litigious by nature. However, more and more attorneys are being trained as mediators themselves and are becoming familiar with the process. A lawyer can assist when it comes to providing advice to a client before a settlement agreement is reached.

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6. I have been recently dismissed. Can I make use of your services?
AFSA is not a legal entity and cannot take on the work of a legal advisor. It is recommended that aggrieved parties seek the advice of a labour lawyer. Of course if a dismissed employee and former employer wish to make use of our services for an arbitration or mediation, they may do so if they have an agreement in place, or sign AFSA's Submission to Arbitration form.

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7. How do I become an AFSA panellist?
Any panellist must first be a member of AFSA, and secondly either have the commensurate experience or have undergone training in order to join our panels.

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