In late December 2017, Parliament enacted the long-awaited International Arbitration Act which brings about an overhaul of the international arbitration framework. The Act commenced on 20 December 2017.

The new Arbitration Act regulates international arbitration proceedings in South Africa and governs the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The Act, which incorporates the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, aligns the South African international arbitration law with international best practice. It also opens the door for South Africa to become a more attractive venue for resolving international disputes.

The Act not only ensures that the Model Law now applies in South Africa, but also the UNCITRAL conciliation rules, as well as the convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

The International Arbitration Act only reforms international arbitration, while domestic arbitration is still governed by the Arbitration Act 1965 which remains in force.