Advocate Eric Dunn SC is the editor of this e-periodical.  Eric is a member of the Maisels Group of Advocates and a senior member of the Johannesburg Bar.  He is a director and Fellow of the Association of Arbitrators (Southern Africa) NPC, as well as a member of the Society of Construction Law for Africa.

 

 A Time for Growth and Renewal

Finally, after a less than fortunate winter season, the South Pole has tilted sufficiently towards the sun for the southernmost terrestrial countries, including our own beloved country, to start basking in the sun’s warmer rays.  By the time our members’ and readers’ eyes engage these pages, the Spring equinox already would have occurred some eight days prior, on Wednesday, 22 September 2021, at 21:21 (Johannesburg time).  Spring would therefore officially have arrived by 23 September with new plant growth sprouting forth everywhere.  Even more so, it is also a time for growth and renewed enthusiasm in all forms of life, ourselves included.

One of the areas of growth the Association, its members and its readers will necessarily and increasingly have to focus on, is the vital role that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has assumed in our everyday lives. Apart from the unfortunately manipulative and questionable role that it can, and indeed does, play in the dissemination of ‘false news[1] and targeted advertising, it evidently can be harnessed as a force for good as well.

Take for example AI’s use in data analysis, where machine learning (ML) powered search engines have the capacity to analyse enormous data-sets to produce meaningful semantic search results.[2]  Typically, such data-sets would be comprised of ‘mountains’ of files and ‘floods’ of ever-increasing information.  With their natural-language processing capabilities, these search engines will find exact keywords or search terms, as well as similarly matched semantic and linked data. In practical terms, this will reduce the duration of a forensic investigation significantly.

The many other important benefits of AI include: (i) the recognition of patterns of data across data-sets that enable users to draw meaningful inferences from, and to establish vital linkages between, emerging patterns in the data under investigation; (ii) its use as a tool to produce analytic reporting in real time; (iii) the coherent grouping of data sets for storage so they can be interrogated and rediscovered whenever required; and (iv) improved communication and access through specifically designed workflow interfaces and/or document annotation tools with ML-powered search engines.[3] We intend publishing a series of articles on the topic of AI and its various uses to arbitrators in future editions.  Please watch this space.

The Tools of the Trade section in this edition of Arbitrarily Speaking! contains the latest of Dr Maritza Breitenbach’s essays on Ethics. This one is titled ‘Code of Ethics: Practical Application: Fortitude.  In it Dr Breitenbach examines the virtue of fortitude and how its appropriate application ought to enable arbitrators to withstand great difficulties and not allow adversity to impede their ability to act without bias, self-interest or fear of criticism.

As an aside to Dr Breitenbach’s intriguing essay, the virtue of fortitude – one of the four classical virtues extolled by the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato – was such a lofty ideal of purpose and distinction in fifteenth century Italy, that the Merchants’ Tribunal in Florence (Tribunale di Mercanzia)[4] was intended to be decorated with, among others[5], a painting called ‘Fortitude’ (finished in 1470) by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli.

Artist: Sandro Botticelli
Year: 1470
Medium: Tempera on panel
Dimensions: 167 cm × 87 cm (66 in × 34 in)
Location: Uffizi, Florence

 

Dr Breitenbach’s last essay in this series, to be published in the December 2021 edition of the e-periodical, will discuss the twofold meanings of justice, namely the respect for legality and equality by members of society.

The winner of a case (consisting of 6 x 750ml bottles) of Steenberg’s[6] highly acclaimed Steenberg 1682 Chardonnay Cap Classique NV[7] for her article, titled ‘ Code of Ethics Practical Application: Prudence (Essay 2 of 4) published in the August 2021 e-periodical issue 10, is Maritza Breitenbach.  Congratulations, Dr Breitenbach, and well done.  We always look forward to receiving your contributions and we trust that there is already another series in the pipeline.

Adv Kiki Bailey SC’s contribution to the Tools of the Trade section in this edition of the e-periodical poses, and then answers, the following question: ‘Will a court refuse to enforce an arbitrator’s award if it considers it wrong?’ In answering this question, she considers and focuses on a careful analysis of appropriate case law.

In his Q&A Forum,  Uncle Oswald, true to his never say die motto, again writes to his and Fearless Frikkie’s mutual friend, Mr Sam Shabangu.  He offers the latter some strategic advice about an arbitrator who erroneously believes that his role is that of an expert and not an arbitrator.  Uncle Oswald succinctly explains the differences between the two roles.  As always, Uncle Oswald is most eager to answer your questions and queries on arbitrations and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  Please send them to the Association’s general manager, Ms Rochelle Appleton at rochelle@arbitrators.co.za.

Our regular feature column, A case in point: Recent case reports,  contains an analysis and summary that I prepared on Sasol South Africa (Pty) Ltd v Murray & Roberts Limited 2021 JDR 1328 (SCA).

In the Breaking News section we introduce you to a new board member, Mr Sharmraj Bauchoo.

Members are reminded that the purpose of these e-periodicals is to serve their professional interests.  As such, the publication will benefit commensurately from members’ contributions.  We therefore encourage all members to share their knowledge, skill and experiences of their specific disciplines, as well as their knowledge of and involvement in ADR.  This also serves as a reminder to our members that you too can win a case of Steenberg’s highly acclaimed Steenberg 1682 Chardonnay Cap Classique NV if you were to write and contribute an article of notable quality for one or more of the future editions of Arbitrarily Speaking!  In addition, if your contribution were to be adjudged the best overall contribution published in Arbitrarily Speaking! during the course of 2021, you could also win – and will have the choice of then selecting – one of two Mont Blanc™ fountain pens as a prize, viz., either a UNICEF 2017 Meisterstück Le Grande Platinum (with a blue sapphire stone ) or a Bonheur Fountain Pen. This prize is donated by our generous sponsor Greig & Meinke.  Readers are reminded that Greig & Meinke similarly offers the Association’s members and the readers of Arbitrarily Speaking! a special 15% discount on certain items, including jewellery, watches and pens.

We remain committed to serving your interests and appreciate your continued support for Arbitrarily Speaking!, and trust that you will enjoy this edition.  Happy reading!

Eric Dunn SC

Editor


[1]       A C Grayling, Democracy and Its Crisis, Oneworld Publications 2017, pp. 143 – 145.
[2]       How AI can be used in forensic science: Challenges and prospects — DocInsights (accessed 17 September 2021).
[3]       Id.
[4]       A body that decided on the business disputes and administered justice between Florentine merchants.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortitude_(Botticelli) (accessed 18 September 2021).
[5]       There was actually a set of seven panels, of which Fortitude was one, representing seven virtues, since increased from the original four virtues under religious influence.
[6]       The Cape’s first registered farm established in 1682, Steenberg is a haven of tranquillity steeped in heritage just 30 minutes from the bustling heart of Cape Town. Located in the idyllic cool-climate Constantia Valley, Steenberg produces some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cap Classique in South Africa, along with other celebrated wines. It is Steenberg’s distinctive terroir that inspires wines with a strong sense of place and which encapsulates the heritage of Steenberg.
[7]       Steenberg Farms has also generously undertaken to offer the Association’s members, as well as the readers of this e-periodical, a 15% promotional discount code (Code to be used: BARFREE) on any order to purchase Steenberg’s highly acclaimed wines from its online store (website: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1441k40bmgx6fug/Steenberg The Black Swan Sauvignon Blanc %282%29.jpg?dl=0).  This offer is valid until 31 December 2021, and it entitles members and readers to free delivery within South Africa on any such online orders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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