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April 23, 2015


Dispute resolution definitions

There are a number of other dispute resolution procedures that can be used as an alternative to litigation. The most common of these are arbitration and mediation.

Des Williams, the head of the litigation department at Werksmans provided the following definitions.

Arbitration and mediation are fundamentally different processes for resolving a dispute. The object of arbitration is for the arbitrator to resolve the dispute between the parties in accordance with their legal rights.

Mediation, in its wider sense, is a voluntary procedure in which the mediator assists the parties to arrive at an agreed resolution of the dispute, particularly in situations where the parties wish to maintain an ongoing relationship.

The most important feature of arbitration is its consensual basis, which makes it a particularly flexible procedure. The parties can adapt the procedure, taking into consideration the nature of the dispute as well as the amount at stake.


There are a number of organisations which facilitate the running of arbitrations. On a domestic level these include the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa and on an international level the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce. These organisations are responsible for the administration of arbitrations and are also often responsible for the appointment of the arbitrator.
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