Zimbabwe has a well-established
As long ago as 1996 the country
repealed its outdated arbitration legislation, and replaced it by adopting the
UNCITRAL Model Law, with minor amendments. Whilst the model law was originally
designed to cater for the arbitration of international commercial disputes, in
Zimbabwe its terms cover all domestic matters capable of arbitration, as well
as international arbitrations conducted in this country. It has proved well
suited to govern the arbitration of a wide variety of disputes.
Zimbabwe is also a signatory to the
New York Convention, thus facilitating the enforcement of international
arbitral awards in Zimbabwe.
Since the introduction of the new Act
the great majority of domestic commercial contracts have included arbitration
as the chosen method of dispute resolution, typically nominating the Commercial
Arbitration Centre in Harare (CAC) as the appointing body in the event that the
parties are unable to agree the identity of an arbitrator, or arbitral panel. A
relatively new organisation, the Africa Institute of Mediation and Arbitration
(AIMA), is now an alternative appointing body.
Both the CAC and the AIMA can provide
or organise arbitration venues, recording and transcription services, and other
support required for the conduct of an arbitration.
All of this would be of little
significance, however, without a reasonable pool of individuals qualified to
conduct arbitrations, as well as a supportive court system.
Both the CAC and AIMA have reasonable panels of arbitrators, from a variety of
professional backgrounds, from which to make appropriate nominations. These
panels include retired judges, as well as several Fellows or Members of the
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
The courts of Zimbabwe respect the
place of arbitration as a valuable dispute resolution mechanism; together with
the fact that their jurisdiction is ousted by a binding agreement to arbitrate,
save to the extent of intervening to protect the interests of any party pending
the outcome of an arbitration. There is also a body of authority to the effect
that the courts will be reluctant to intervene with the outcome of an
arbitration, save in a case of clear misconduct in the proceedings.
Peter Lloyd FCIArb*
*Peter Lloyd, together with his partner
Mordecai Mahlangu, are regularly appointed to act as arbitrators in a wide
variety of disputes, principally in the fields of commercial and employment law.