Arbitration: What you should know

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Arbitration: What you should know

If two parties have a dispute and conciliation fails, you may request to resolve the dispute by arbitration. At an arbitration hearing, a commissioner gives both parties an opportunity to fully state their cases. The commissioner then decides on the issue in dispute. The decision, called the arbitration award, is legally binding on both parties. Attempts must generally be made to resolve the dispute through conciliation. If it cannot be resolved by conciliation, the parties can go to arbitration or the Labour Court.

Pre-arbitration conference

By agreement between the parties or when so directed by the Director or a Senior Commissioner, the parties to the proceedings must hold a pre-arbitration conference to-

  • determine facts in dispute, common cause facts, issues to be decided, and relief claimed;
  • exchange documents that will be used in the arbitration;
  • draw up and sign a minute of the pre-arbitration conference.

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.


  • “Arbitration | CCMA”. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 June 2017.
  • “AFSA – Arbitration Foundation Of Southern Africa – FAQ”. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 June 2017.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).