International arbitration is used when a dispute arises between companies or individuals in different countries/ states (cross- border disputes). The rules for international arbitration are mostly based on the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). It is a consensual, neutral, binding, private and enforceable means of international dispute resolution which is fast and cost-effective.
An arbitration clause is usually written into commercial contracts to provide for the resolution of possible disputes specifying the arbitral institution entrusted with the responsibility for administering the dispute (refer Model Clause) An arbitration agreement can also be signed after a dispute has arisen.
With international arbitrations the parties must choose the applicable law (judicial seat) the venue where the arbitration is to be held, the language in which the arbitration is to be conducted and the size of the panel.
Foreign international awards are enforceable in countries which have ratified the New York Convention. Signatories to the New York Convention agree that their courts will recognise and enforce foreign arbitral awards in the territory of other contracting states. South Africa is a signatory to the New York Convention and has enacted an International Arbitration Act which incorporates the U.N. approved Model Law to strengthen its commitment to its obligations under the Convention.
AFSA International is responsible for administering AFSA’s international caseload and has administered international matters involving parties from Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kenya, London UK, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai China, Singapore, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Texas USA, Zimbabwe.
The AFSA International division is chaired by Advocate Patrick Lane SC.