AOA BREAKING NEWS

By the time that this edition of Arbitrarily Speaking! appears on your screen, 2021 would be in full swing.  The Association is a beehive of activity.  Our academic activities and our virtual international mediation training courses have kicked off.

The Association’s finances are in excellent health, thanks to the meticulous and professional dedication of our Treasurer, Adv Des Mahony, a practising Chartered Accountant, and our Accounting Manager, Michelle Venter.  The Association has had a significant year-on-year increase in membership despite the global negative impact of COVID-19.  At the same time, life for everyone associated with and employed by the Association has changed significantly.  Our staff members are, for the time being, admirably performing all of their functions and duties remotely.  In the meantime, all our courses, lectures, workshops, webinars and examinations are being presented virtually.

The Association’s state-of-the-art video-conferencing facility is fully operative.  It comprises a large flatscreen, omni-directional multi-tasking microphones and cameras, a ceiling camera for document presentation, a digital whiteboard, screen sharing and self-adjusting lighting and sunscreens, all housed in a refurbished facility with effective air-conditioning, comfortable furniture and variable seating arrangements at our Sandton head office.  This versatile facility lends itself to a variety of applications.  It may be used as a virtual meeting room, a secure witness room, a fully or partially virtual arbitration facility with breakaway rooms, a seat for an arbitrator/adjudicator/mediator in virtual ADR proceedings and for any other application where state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment is required.  It complements the Association’s existing in-person ADR facilities.  All of the Association’s facilities including the video-conferencing facility are available to members at competitive rates.  Our ADR Administration Manager, Happiness Mthembu, attends to the booking and renting of our facilities.  We intend to present you with more detail regarding this facility, with a link to a live audio-visual demonstration, in the next issue of Arbitrarily Speaking!

The George Quail book collection has received welcome donations and a retiring advocate pledged further book donations.  Further donations in the form of textbooks, law reports and the like are always welcome.  The Association’s Management Committee is planning an upgrade of this facility by refurbishing a dedicated room with proper shelving and workstations where members can do hard copy research and have access to the Jutastat Online Legal Research Platform.  This facility will in future be known as the George Quail Research Centre.

The Association has a long-standing relationship with the Society of Mediators in London.  In the past, renowned international mediators Jonathan Dingle and Andrea Barnes presented the Society of Mediators’ mediation courses in person at the Association’s head office in Sandton.  COVID-19-related travel restrictions and quarantine regulations and the rising popularity of virtual mediations dictated a new approach.  As from 2021 the Association is the Society of Mediators’ sole partner for Southern Africa and will be presenting international mediation and conflict management courses virtually from London.  By the time that you read this contribution, the first course would have been presented.  These courses are recognised and accredited internationally by, among others, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Civil Mediation Council in the United Kingdom.

CPD recognition and accreditation of all of the Association’s learning activities remain high on our agenda.  Many of our course modules, lectures, workshops and webinars are CPD recognised and accredited for in-person purposes.  Our General Manager, Rochelle Appleton, is in the process of also having most, if not all, of the Association’s course modules, lectures, workshops and webinars CPD recognised and accredited for virtual presentation.

The Association has compiled a busy 2021 events calendar.  The following lectures, workshops and webinars will be presented:

  • On Thursday 18 March 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on Remote/Virtual Arbitration Hearings by the Association’s Chairperson, Adv Pierre Rossouw SC.
  • On Thursday 15 April 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on International Arbitration in South African Legal Context by the Association’s Vice-chairperson, Adv Tjaart van der Walt SC.
  • On Thursday 6 May 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on The Challenge Procedure and the Revocation of an Arbitrator’s Appointment by the Association’s Chairperson, Adv Pierre Rossouw SC.
  • On Thursday 27 May 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on The FIDIC Contract and the Civil Law: Impact of COVID-19 on Contractual Relationships – A Perspective from Mauritius by International Fellow of the Association, Mr Anand Juddoo.
  • On Thursday 10 June 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on Adjudication in the Context of a JBCC Contract by Director of the Association, Adv Kiki Bailey SC and the Chairperson of the Association, Adv Pierre Rossouw SC.
  • On Saturday 19 June 2021 at 09:30, a presentation on NEC3-Early Warnings; Compensation Events by Association Director and Fellow, Francois Spies.
  • On Thursday 8 July 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on Awarding Interest and Costs in Arbitral Proceedings; Production and Discovery of Documents in Arbitral Proceedings by the Association’s Vice-chairperson, Adv Tjaart van der Walt SC.
  • On Saturday 24 July 2021 at 09:30, a workshop on Award Writing by the Association’s Chairperson and Vice-chairperson, Adv Pierre Rossouw SC and Adv Tjaart van der Walt SC.
  • On Thursday 12 August 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on Essentials of Adjudication by the Association’s Chairperson, Adv Pierre Rossouw SC.
  • On Thursday, 2 September 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on Expert Evidence; An Arbitrator’s Power to Admit Evidence, including Expert and Hearsay Evidence by the Association’s Vice-chairperson, Adv Tjaart van der Walt SC and Association Director and Fellow, Adv Kiki Bailey SC.
  • On Tuesday 21 September 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on Confidentiality and Transparency in Arbitration by the Association’s Chairperson, Adv Pierre Rossouw SC.
  • On Thursday 14 October 2021 at 18:00, a presentation on FIDIC 1999 – The Role of the Engineer by Association Director and Fellow, Mr Francois Spies.
  • On Saturday 6 November 2021 at 09:30, a presentation on JBCC 6.2; Nominated/Selected Subcontracting; Claims and Disputes by Association Director and Fellow, Mr Francois Spies.

These lectures, workshops and webinars will be presented online and may be attended by members and non-members.  They will all be actively promoted on various platforms closer to the time.

The Association’s Faculty has given its flagship module, the Specialisation in Construction Law Course, a revitalising make-over.  The course material was thoroughly revised and, as from 2021, this course is under the stewardship of Adv Kevin Trisk SC, who is a senior Fellow of the Association, a member of the Maisels Group of Advocates in Sandton and an internationally renowned specialist in construction law.  Adv Trisk SC is assisted in the presentation and examination of the Specialisation in Construction Law Course by Adv Pierre Rossouw SC, Adv Tjaart van der Walt SC and Mr Nick Maritz, all of them under the vigilant eye of the Faculty’s Dean and Head of Tutors, Adv Donald Joubert.  You will find more about this exciting development in the Education Station section of Arbitrarily Speaking!

Although life in the ADR world will never be what it was before the global COVID-19 pandemic, we foresee that human interaction will eventually, relatively speaking, normalise.  For this purpose, and while it will cause the least disruption, general upgrading and refurbishment of the Association’s head office in Sandton will receive attention during the course of 2021.

We look forward to an exiting and different year and we invite our members to actively participate in all of our activities.

Adv Tjaart van der Walt SC
Vice-chair
11 March 2021

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