Webber Wentzel's dedicated litigation and arbitration group specialises in complex, multi-jurisdictional, commercial, regulatory and constitutional disputes. We provide advice to national and multi-national corporations, financial institutions and government entities.
Our multi-disciplinary and innovative Dispute Resolution Practice ensures that clients receive relevant, timely and effectual advice. Our extensive expertise in litigation, arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation and other means of pre-empting and settling disputes enables our clients to obtain optimal results.
The team comprises some 60 professionals, with local and foreign qualifications and expertise. With offices located in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Rustenburg and as a member of the ALN Group, Webber Wentzel is able to assist clients doing business and encountering disputes in South Africa, Africa and globally. We have a network of associate law firms, in countries throughout the world, which assists us in providing comprehensive legal advice. We regularly resolve trans-national disputes, often acting as lead counsel in foreign jurisdictions.
Our wider expertise includes dispute resolution and opinion work in relation to:
We act for clients in a wide variety of local and international commercial sectors, including banking, mining and petroleum resources, manufacturing and engineering services, information technology, private equity, healthcare, insurance, transport, maritime, real estate, investment, pensions, government services, broadcasting and telecommunications, retail, professional services, catering, hospitality, gaming and entertainment.
We have long-standing professional relationships with:
Blue Chip Companies
Including Anglo American plc, ABSA Bank Limited, MTN Group Limited, Avusa Limited, Mondi plc, Dorbyl Limited, Forest Oil Corporation, Glenrand MIB Limited, Zurich Insurance Company, Standard Bank Group Limited, Netcare Limited, FirstRand Limited, Santam Limited, Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Sasol Limited.
Including Airports Company South Africa Limited, Transnet Limited, Armaments Corporation of South Africa, Department of Defence and South African Post Office Limited.
Government and Regulatory Bodies
Including the National Treasury, the Ministry of Defence, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, the Central Energy Fund and the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
Including the Oxygen Medical Scheme, Genesis Medical Scheme and Chemical Industries National Provident Fund.
Prominent Non-governmental Organisations
Such as The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, Oxfam and the Helen Suzman Foundation.
International Investment Treaty: Arbitration and Expropriation
Representing Belgian and Italian investors in a EUR266 million bilateral investment treaty arbitration against the Republic of South Africa, conducted under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The claimants seek compensation for expropriation and unfair and inequitable treatment of their investments, as a result of the implementation of new minerals legislative regime and black economic empowerment regulation.
BEE and Share Schemes Arbitration
Obtaining a favourable settlement for the Chemical Industries National Provident Fund (CINPF) in arbitration against the investment arm of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union and its special purpose vehicle company. CINPF sought to recover damages of some ZAR530-million plus interest, arising out of a 2002 black economic empowerment transaction linked to the purchase of 15% of the issued share capital of a listed pharmaceutical company.
Aviation Industry Licensing and Judicial Review
Advising Airports Company South Africa Limited in relation to the reorganisation of ground-handling licences at South African airports and successfully defending related arbitral and judicial proceedings.
New Multi Petroleum Products Pipeline
We are the principal legal advisers to Transnet Limited in relation to the
ZAR11.2 billion new multi petroleum products pipeline project.
Acting for Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited in its ongoing defence of multi-billion rand silicosis claims.
Fiduciary Duties and Unlawful Competition
Representing the local subsidiaries of an international group of plastics manufacturers and distributors in a successful appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in a matter relating to unlawful competition and breach of fiduciary duty, entailing potential liability in excess of ZAR400 million (Da Silva and others v CH Chemicals (Proprietary) Limited  ZASCA 110).
Acting for the curators of Ovation Global Investment Nominees (Proprietary) Limited and Ovation Global Investment Services (Proprietary) Limited in the ongoing forensic investigation and recovery proceedings ensuing from the theft of some ZAR260 million of investors’ funds. The Ovation curatorship is related to and runs parallel with the curatorship of the Fidentia group of companies.
Public Interest and Constitutional Matters
Acting for the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) in its intervention as an amicus curiae in the case of Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa 2011 (3) SA 347 (CC), where it made submissions, which were accepted by the Constitutional Court, that the legislation establishing the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation was unconstitutional for failing to safeguard the investigators' independence.
Making parliamentary submissions on behalf of clients in relation to the Companies Bill; Civil Aviation Bill; Protection of Information Bill; Protection of Personal Information Bill; South African Police Service Amendment Bill and National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill.
Post Office Litigation
Successfully defending the South African Post Office (SAPO) against a damages claim, in terms of which SAPO’s former CEO, Mr Maanda Manyatshe, sought to hold SAPO responsible for damages amounting to ZAR269,980,000 which he claimed to have suffered when the Mail & Guardian published allegations that he had been involved in questionable conduct regarding the awarding of tenders.
Representing the world-renowned cartoonist Zapiro and various media groups in defamation litigation brought by President Jacob Zuma. The case involves important questions of freedom of expression.
For more information please click here to read the section on "Dispute Resolution" in Investing in South Africa.