South African Constitutional Court Refuses to Enforce an Award on Public Policy Grounds: A ‘Cool Idea’?

By Eric Leikin (Associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer)

In the landmark case, Cool Ideas 1186 CC v Hubbard and Another [2014] ZACC 16 (5 June 2014), the South African Constitutional Court refused to enforce an arbitral award on public policy grounds.  This decision is of note not only because it is a relatively rare example of a successful public policy challenge to the enforcement of an arbitral award, but also because the stance of South Africa’s highest court will likely have a major effect on how the country’s judiciary treats arbitral awards going forward.  Before discussing the case, a brief background of South Africa’s arbitration legislation is necessary.

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