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As a member of society, the legal world might seem frightening and often too bewildering to approach. In most cases, if we find ourselves with a legal issue or an issue requiring legal expertise, we shy away from taking further action. This should not be the case, especially when it comes to seeking justice.

The legal world, although complicated, should be a place of fast and fair outcomes. This is also where so much is misunderstood about law. It notices the needs and demands from our society. It caters for circumstances requiring the above with ideas such as arbitration, mediation, negotiation and many more. It is about being pointed in the right direction. That direction could be arbitration.

What is Arbitration?

According to the fifth edition of the English language Dictionary, published by Houghton Mifflin, it is stated that arbitration is “the process by which the parties to a dispute submit their differences to the judgment of an impartial person or group appointed by mutual consent or statutory provisions’’

Arbitration, at its core, is an alternative form of dispute resolution. It is the private, judicial determination of a dispute, by an independent 3rd party. It does not require the Courts and is legally binding, unlike mediation or negotiation, which are both legally non-binding. One important element to note is that when an Arbitration Award is made, whether it be a Cost Order or Action, it can also be made an Order of Court as provided for in the Arbitration Act 45 of 1965.

Issues that can be arbitrated are labour, commercial as well as consumer matters.

The Advantages of Arbitration

In many cases the procedure is less formal and therefore can be a much shorter process, which in the end can save the two parties money in the long run. In the SA’s Attorneys Journal, De Rebus, Adv. Bredenkamp further explains that “Arbitrator’s fees are capped in order to curtail the costs of proceedings.” Another advantage to Arbitration is that Hearings are private, and the results are not part of the public record as well the Parties having full control over the selection of the Arbitrator.

Unfortunately, like everything else, Arbitration does have limits to where it can be used in law. Arbitration cannot be used in situations involving mandatory reporting, sexual offences or criminal matters eg. Domestic violence and Child abuse.

Based on the above, one would need to consider Arbitration when dealing with small claim matters eg. a Policeman being wounded on duty leaving him disabled, the employer not paying their employees or even a customer buying a product from a shop and being defrauded. However, one needs to consider that having a legal representative in your corner allows for informed decisions about the process to be followed.  Although arbitration allows for a lot of freedom for both Parties, it is also important to note that this allows room for misunderstanding due to not having the correct knowledge of the law. This is where somebody with an intimate knowledge of the law becomes essential. That person is a Lawyer.

Martin Vermaak Attorneys have a lot of experience in matters of this nature and will be happy to help anyone in need of legal assistance in such things.


Savannah Bailey



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