COURT’S DISCRETION TRUMPS INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION ACT IN ADMIRALTY CASE

By Jeremy Prain Tuesday, March 03, 2020
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In 2017 South Africa promulgated the International Arbitration Act (IAA) with a view to creating a viable arbitral forum on the African continent for the resolution of international disputes.

Although the IAA is still in its infancy, the Supreme Court of Appeal has delivered an important judgment in Atakas v Glencore International which illustrates the tension created by the overlapping boundaries of the IAA and the well-established admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court under the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act (Admiralty Act), as well as the careful balancing act that the courts must perform. This tension is unsurprising given that, for the most part, maritime disputes themselves have an international dimension.

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