ARE ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL OR JUST PRIVATE?

By Mandisi Rusa Wednesday, September 02, 2015
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Some of the challenges faced by corporate entities involved in protracted legal disputes are huge legal fees and delays in our courts. Companies thus elect to have their disputes dealt with by way of private arbitrations which are often covered in their commercial agreements. Arbitrations are the preferred method of dispute resolution as confidentiality and privacy are guaranteed.

These two features are underpinned by the autonomy of the parties involved in the proceedings as they are able to dictate the way in which the proceedings will be conducted unlike in public institutions, such as the courts. There does not appear to be any dispute on the privacy of such proceedings. Confidentiality has been clouded in conflicting jurisprudence and our courts have often been called upon to consider this issue to determine whether our laws provide for confidentiality of arbitration proceedings.

Looking at jurisprudence around the world, the courts in South Africa have considered some of the decisions in England and Australia when dealing with the issue of confidentiality of arbitration proceedings.

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