Darryl Bernstein

Baker & McKenzie


Darryl Bernstein is a partner and head of Baker McKenzie's Dispute Resolution Practice Group in Johannesburg, where he advises on the resolution of complex commercial disputes, regulatory compliance and investigations as well as contentious and non-contentious communications, media, privacy and technology matters. Darryl co-founded disputes-focused firm Rudolph, Bernstein & Associates in 2008 before joining Baker McKenzie with his entire team at the end of 2012. He acts for a wide range of clients listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and on various international exchanges, along with a number of global multinational technology companies, particularly regarding their expansion into Africa. He has been individually ranked in Chambers Global for dispute resolution in South Africa since 2011.

Practice Focus

Darryl routinely assists clients with international, domestic and multijurisdictional litigation and arbitration proceedings, with a particular focus on shareholder disputes, disputed claims in insolvency and business rescue proceedings, banking and matters involving the enforcement and perfection of security as well as commercial disputes involving clients in the constructing, engineering, IT and mining sectors. Darryl also acts on behalf of various state organizations and commercial tenderers in the resolution of tender disputes and administrative reviews.

Darryl also advises clients in relation to various compliance risks, including support with due diligence and risk assessments, compliance audits, local and multijurisdictional investigations and the preparation of policies and codes of practice.

Darryl is also a member of Baker McKenzie's Technology and Telecommunications Industry Group and has advised a range of large global multinationals and domestic clients, including telecommunications operators, technology vendors, software and hardware developers and retailers in relation to internet and e-business services, communications regulation and compliance.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Advising a global, German and US listed software company in a significant compliance related investigation in respect of allegations of non-compliance with procurement legislation, employment equity and BEE regulation and various jurisdictions’ extraterritorial anti corruption legislation. 
  • Avising a multilisted, UK-domiciled pharmaceutical company with an investigation into a compliance and employment matter that carried significant criminal and civil liability exposure with a particular focus on aspects of the Employment Equity Act.
  • Advising a locally listed staffing and business process outsourcing company in a multijurisdictional investigation into the conduct of various executives which are alleged to have contravened various laws, regulations and fiduciary obligations.
  • Advising a fine art auction house and dealer in an investigation and recovery in relation to allegedly fraudulent claims relating to the provenance and authenticity of high value art works.
  • Advising a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed construction, engineering and mining contractor in the recovery of funds owed to it arising out of various construction disputes and their ancillary funding arrangements.
  • Represented and advised the Group Five Housing and Motlekar Cape joint venture in opposing an application to overturn the award of the construction of a ZAR 370 million housing development by the Western Cape government's Department of Human Settlements.
  • Represented and advised one of the world's largest oil and natural gas service multinationals in relation to the disputed termination of a lease and development agreement in Ghana, coupled to the successful recovery of remitted funds.
  • Representing one of the largest mining companies in the world along with certain of their employees in litigation aimed at ensuring the proper interpretation, alternatively the constitutional striking down, of provisions of legislation which facilitate reckless lending and perpetuate inequality and unfairness through abuse by certain debt administrators.
  • Representing an American multinational technology company with businesses relating to internet-related services and products in a matter arising out of the online publication of allegedly defamatory media.
  • Representing an American multinational computer technology corporation specialising in cloud and database services in contested litigation relating to the termination of a service provider for breach of compliance guidelines.
  • Advised a US listed, global e-commerce marketplace in the South Africa investigation of senior employees for conduct in breach of certain codes and policies and further assisted in and held the investigations relating to such conduct, ultimately resulting in the termination of senior executives.
  • Represented and advised a domestic technology and hardware manufacturer in the investigation of conduct in breach of certain codes and policies, including the termination of employment in respect of responsible employees and the reporting of a suspicion of an offence under South Africa's corruption legislation.

Professional Honors

  • Leading Individual in Dispute Resolution, Chambers Global, 2011-2017 

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of the Northern Provinces - Member
  • International Bar Association (IBA)
  • Society of Construction Law - Member
  • London Court of International Arbitration - Mauritius International Arbitration Centre (LCIA-MIAC)
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) - Member


  • South Africa (2005)


  • e-Commerce Law and Regulations Seminar (2014)
  • University of Witwatersrand (Postgraduate Course in Access to Information and Privacy Law) (2014)
  • University of Witwatersrand (Advanced Company Law I & II) (2009)
  • University of Cape Town (LL.B.) (2002)
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe (CIPP/E)


  • English

Co-Author, South African chapter, International Arbitration Yearbook, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Co-Author, South African chapter, The International Comparative Legal Guide to International Arbitration, 2015, 2016

Co-Author, South African chapter, Global Privacy Handbook, 2013, 2016

Co-Author, South African chapter, Global Privacy and Information Management Handbook, December 2015

Co-Author, South African chapter, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Review, 2012, 2013, 2014

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