South Africa's relatively stable political environment and adherence to the rule of law make it an attractive destination for foreign investment.
Under the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Constitution), the judicial authority of South Africa vests in the courts, which are independent from the executive and the legislative arms of Government. The Constitution makes provision for the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, the High Court (which has different divisions), Magistrate's Courts (which are lower courts) and any other court recognised or established in terms of an Act of Parliament. These courts all differ in structure, jurisdiction and function. South Africa's legal system also allows parties to institute and defend claims before independent courts, arbitral tribunals, mediators and conciliators.
The civil dispute resolution procedure in general, and the application and action proceedings in particular, differ with regard to the nature and scope of the cases brought before the various South African courts. These aspects also influence the duration of the different proceedings, the nature of the pre-trial procedures and the handing down of judgments.
Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as arbitration may also be followed. Arbitration, if managed correctly, may present many advantages over court proceedings. Principally, arbitration may provide confidentiality; the ability for the parties to tailor the procedure to their own needs; country neutrality; and relative cost-effectiveness since litigation is fairly costly.
The enforceability of South African judgments in foreign countries is governed by the laws of those countries. Similarly, foreign judgments are not directly enforceable in South Africa but constitute a cause of action which can be pursued in South African courts.
“South Africa’s legal system also allows parties to institute and defend claims before independent courts, arbitral tribunals, mediators and conciliators.”
For a comprehensive document outlining the implications of this area of law in South Africa