Comparative Guides
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Results: 4 Answers
International Arbitration
1.
Legal framework
1.1
What is the relevant legislation on arbitration in your jurisdiction? Are there any significant limitations on the scope of the statutory regime – for example, does it govern oral arbitration agreements?
 
South Africa
International arbitration is governed by the International Arbitration Act 15 of 2017.

The act governs all international arbitrations seated in South Africa. The act does not recognise oral arbitration agreements in accordance with the prescripts of Article 7 of Schedule 1 to the act, which incorporates the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills
1.2
Does this legislation differentiate between domestic arbitration and international arbitration? If so, how is each defined?
 
South Africa
The International Arbitration Act does not define what is meant by ‘domestic’ arbitration, but it does define ‘international’ arbitration for the application of the act. The act applies only to international arbitrations as defined in Article 1(3) of Schedule 1 to the act.

An arbitration is international if:

  • at the time of concluding the arbitration agreement, the parties to the arbitration agreement have their places of business in different states;
  • one of the following places is situated outside the state in which the parties have their places of business:
    • the place of arbitration, if determined in, or pursuant to, the arbitration agreement; or
    • any place where a substantial part of the obligations of the commercial relationship is to be performed or the place with which the subject matter of the dispute is most closely connected; or
  • the parties have expressly agreed that the subject matter of the arbitration agreement relates to more than one country.
For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills
1.3
Is the arbitration legislation in your jurisdiction based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration?
 
South Africa
Yes.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills
1.4
Are all provisions of the legislation in your jurisdiction mandatory?
 
South Africa
No, not all provisions of the International Arbitration Act are mandatory. Mandatory provisions are identified by the wording of the provision in question.

Article 6 of the act denotes that the UNICTRAL Model Law has force of law in South Africa. As a result, mandatory provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law will be applied as mandatory provisions of law in South Africa.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills
1.5
Are there any current plans to amend the arbitration legislation in your jurisdiction?
 
South Africa
The International Arbitration Act came into force in December 2017. There are currently no plans to amend the act.

The Arbitration Act 42 of 1965 still governs all domestic arbitrations. A revision of the legislation governing domestic arbitrations was suggested in the South African Law Reform Commission’s 2001 report on domestic arbitration. Notwithstanding this report, which included a revised domestic arbitration bill, no meaningful progress has been made in in this regard.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills
1.6
Is your jurisdiction a signatory to the New York Convention? If so, have any reservations been made?
 
South Africa
Yes, the New York Convention is given force of law through Chapter 3 of the International Arbitration Act. No reservations have been made.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills
1.7
Is your jurisdiction a signatory to any other treaties relevant to arbitration?
 
South Africa
No. Most notably, South Africa is not a signatory to the Washington Convention.

For more information about this answer please contact: Jonathan Ripley-Evans from Herbert Smith Freehills