South Africa's Upper House of Parliament passes Int'l Arbitration Bill

CAPE TOWN, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The National Council of Provinces (NCP), the Upper House of Parliament, on Tuesday passed the International Arbitration Bill (IAB) without amendments, which will replace the country's domestic arbitration regime inconsistent with international developments.

The IAB provides for incorporating into South African law the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, as adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, the NCP said.

The Model Law is seen as the gold standard for international and domestic arbitration internationally.

The IAB will provide for recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, repeal the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act of 1977 and amend the Protection of Businesses Act of 1978, according to the NCP.

South Africa's existing international arbitration regime -- the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act of 1977 -- has been criticized for not being in line with international developments.

Concerns have also been raised that the Arbitration Act of 1965 is inadequate for international arbitration purposes, is outdated and needs revision to meet modern commercial needs.

In 1998, the South African Law Reform Commission recommended that South Africa adopt a Model Law, which would harmonize national laws related to international arbitration procedures.

The National Assembly, the Lower House of Parliament, passed the IAB on October 24.

The IAB will now be submitted to President Jacob Zuma for assent.

If enacted, the Bill will regulate international arbitration proceedings in South Africa and govern the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

The IAB is expected to assist businesses in resolving their international commercial disputes and will ensure that South Africa is an attractive venue for parties around the world to resolve their commercial disputes.


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