The appeal court has again reminded us that when the parties choose to submit their dispute to arbitration and the arbitrator’s decision is final without a right to appeal in an appeal tribunal, the grounds for setting aside the arbitrator’s award are very limited.
Objections to the jurisdiction of the arbitrator or allegations of bias against the arbitrator must be raised at the beginning of the arbitration proceedings and not by a disgruntled loser after the award is given. A party who does not object at the outset and voluntarily participates in the arbitration will have acquiesced to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction.
An arbitration award can be set aside if the arbitration tribunal has misconducted itself, is guilty of a gross irregularity or the award has been improperly obtained. But the courts are most reluctant to interfere with the award of an arbitrator except in cases of gross irregularities or misconduct.
In Naidoo v EP Property Projects (Pty) Limited the court refused to interfere with an arbitration award that had been made an order of court because the appellant had failed dismally to establish any grounds for interference by the court with the arbitrator’s award.