The finality principle in arbitration : a historical exploration

Ojiako, Udechukwu (2023) The finality principle in arbitration : a historical exploration. Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction, 15 (4). 04523031. ISSN 1943-4162 (

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South Africa maintains a robust pro-arbitration policy which emphasizes the principle of finality. Despite the fact that this principle is well advocated in construction, engineering, and other aligned sector arbitration case law, insight into the broader historical discourse on arbitration in South Africa is more limited. Subsequently, in order to develop valuable and comprehensive insight into not only the theoretical foundations surrounding the finality principle in South African arbitration but also its future, this paper undertakes a historical account of the development of the principle of finality in South African domestic arbitration law. The paper suggests that pro-arbitration attitudes toward the finality principle espoused by the judiciary represent a hallmark of early formalization of English legal traditions through legislative frameworks which predate modern-day South Africa. The value of this study comes from the valuable insight it provides into past and existing theoretical and judicial debates surrounding the robustness of domestic arbitration frameworks in South Africa and the potential opportunities for their further improvement.