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Overhauling the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa

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The Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (“AFSA”) recently announced its plans to revise their current rules.  It is expected that these revised rules will be published during the Johannesburg International Arbitration Week which takes place in mid March 2020. Prior to the official launch, AFSA will publish the draft rules for public comment to encourage wider public participation in the process.

This revision is much anticipated since the existing rules were drafted before the enactment of the South African International Arbitration Act, 15 of 2017.  It is also necessary to facilitate the continued growth of AFSA’s caseload, ensure the best quality services and keep pace with developments in the rules of other major arbitral centres around the world.

An expert panel has been created, comprising of leading academics, experts and practitioners from around the globe to revise and redraft its current International Arbitration Rules in order to bring the existing rules up-to-date.  The drafting committee and advisory board will be led by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and Professor Dr. Maxi Scherer and will be supported by various esteemed individuals including Chiann Bao, the secretary-general of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, and Lise Bosman, the senior legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and executive director of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA).

Scherer is confident that the new rules would “provide additional certainty and clarity to businesses trading across borders on the African continent and beyond and continue to make AFSA a highly attractive choice for parties in international arbitration proceedings”.

The vice-chair of AFSA and chair of AFSA’s International Committee, Patrick Lane SC, regards the new arbitral rules as “an important step towards the implementation of new policies to foster the efficiency of AFSA international arbitrations”.

This will ultimately enable AFSA to increase its attraction to potential corporate clients, whether international or domestic.  For more information on arbitrations and dispute resolution please contact a member of our team below.