The South African cabinet have recently approved the text of a new International Arbitration Bill. The Bill is now open for public comment, after which it will be considered in Parliament and, hopefully, enacted.
If it is enacted, the Bill will regulate international arbitration proceedings in South Africa and govern the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The Bill incorporates United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which is seen as the gold standard for international and domestic arbitration internationally. South Africa will only be reforming international arbitrations, as domestic arbitrations will still be governed by the Arbitration Act of 1965.
Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has now invited stakeholders and interested persons to submit written submissions on the International Arbitration Bill [B10 – 2017] by no later than 28 July 2017. The notice, and information on how to submit comments, is available here.
In addition, AFSA International, a new arm of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, which will manage AFSA's cross-border case flow (details available here), have published International Arbitration-specific rules. The AFSA International Rules will be applicable to international disputes administered by AFSA International and are based on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, with some amendments. The Rules are available here. AFSA have also provided a Model Arbitration Clause to insert into contracts should a party wish to make use of AFSA's administration facilities and Rules:
"any dispute arising from or in connection with this contract shall be finally resolved in accordance with the rules if the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa applicable to international arbitration by an arbitrator appointed by the Foundation. In the event that the parties do not agree to the seat, the Foundation will select the seat of the arbitration."
Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg and globally have extensive experience in managing large cross-border disputes, particularly in the construction and engineering sector. The Johannesburg office held its IA academy in June 2017. The Academy included sessions on arbitration planning as part of contract, investment and risk management, effective cost and time management in an international arbitration, how to enforce an arbitral award and information on the new International Arbitration Bill.