On 13 April 2016 cabinet approved the draft International Arbitration Bill. On 28 April 2016 the Bill, together with its explanatory memorandum, was published in the Government Gazette. The International Arbitration Bill will shortly be introduced into Parliament.
The International Arbitration Act, as the Bill will be known once in force, will replace the 51 year old Arbitration Act, 1965 in respect of International Arbitrations. The most fundamental change that will be ushered in by the International Arbitration Act will be the incorporation of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration into South African law. The Model Law, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, is designed to assist States in reforming and modernizing their laws on arbitral procedure. It assists States to develop their arbitral procedure in step with the particular features and specific considerations at play in international commercial arbitration.
The International Arbitration Act will align South African International Arbitration Law with international best practice and should go a long way to establishing South Africa as a venue of choice for international arbitrations.