Cases Calendar

 June 2024

Legal professionals strongly advised companies to prioritize Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as their primary mechanism for resolving civil matters during the ADR Seminar that was recently hosted by the College of Law and Management Studies in partnership with the Companies Tribunal.

The seminar – hosted at the School of Law, Howard College – brought together law practitioners and academics who shared their jurisdictional perspective on ADR and access to justice, the role of the legal profession in promotion of the ADR, as well as the various types of disputes experienced by the business sector and the manner in which these disputes may be resolved to members of the business fraternity, law community and to students in the field of law.

Acting Dean and Head of the School, Professor Michael Kidd, said given the well-known drawbacks of litigation – its expense, time-consuming nature, and other limitations- an explicit provision has been made. He said: ‘Alternative resolution of disputes arising from the Companies Act Provisions in section 166 of the companies act 71 of 2008 allows referral of matters amongst others to the Companies Tribunal which is established in terms of part B of chapter 8 of  the Act.’

Professor Darren Subramanien, who emphasised the importance of ADR mechanism in mediation and consolidation of litigation matters, said this mechanism assists in resolving company disputes amicably and in a speedy cost-effective manner.

‘It is an easier mechanism to bolter relationships, even more importantly to build relationships for mutual benefits. While on court litigations are characterised by a number of complexities, ADR offers opposite advantages,’ he said.

Among the experts that presented their insights include Advocate Kerusha Pillay, who presented on  Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access To Justice In The 21st Century; Practising Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, Mr Ebrahim Patelia who is a Director of Mediate Works who explored the legal profession in promotion of ADR; Dr Simphiwe Phungula, Senior Lecturer  at University of Technology (UCT), who shared Jurisdictional Perspectives on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice; and Dr Mohammed Chiktay, a member of the Companies Tribunal shared how can the Companies Tribunal’s ADR mechanism deliver justice to companies as contemplated in the Companies Act.

Pillay, who has substantial practice which deals with company law and corporate governance litigation, advised based on relevant framework context of the constitution that companies should first look on their options for fair dispute resolution. ‘If we have a look at section 34, it guarantees us three distinct rights so that a dispute can be resolved before an appropriate forum such as the Companies tribunal’.

Chiktay also shared the psychological impact of litigation and advised companies and individuals to seek mediation that is provided by the Companies Tribunal through ADR mechanism. ‘We need to resolves conflicts instead of fighting them. Mediation is the humane thing to do,’ he said.

Prior to the seminar, the Companies Tribunal hosted guest lectures at both the Howard and Pietermaritzburg campuses, reaching over 200 law students. The aim was to promote mediation and integrate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms into their coursework in order to produce well rounded law graduates.


* This article was written by Ms Samukelisiwe Cele from UKZN.