Amended Rules for the Conduct of Proceedings before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and what they mean for your business
Together with the new amendments, service and filing of documents may now be effected by way of email and, as Ensafrica.com explains. The relevant provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 are, however, applicable in respect of any issues that may arise in relation to service by email.
Also, the CCMA may now provide notification to parties in any manner prescribed in relation to the service of documents (eg by email) and, further, it may provide notice to parties by way of short message service (SMS). While the CCMA has been doing this for some time, this has now been formalised as a valid form of notification.
According to the new Rules, in relation to the 14-day and 21-day periods applicable to notify parties of conciliation and arbitration proceedings respectively, in instances in which notice of proceedings is sent by way of registered mail, an additional seven days must be allowed.
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Another change is represented by the fact that disputes can no longer be dismissed where the referring party fails to attend conciliation and by the fact that the requirement that parties must attend conciliations in person has been removed from Rule 13, as well as the reference to dismissal of the dispute in an instance in which the referring party fails to attend the conciliation proceedings.
The 'dismissal' provision has now been replaced with the words 'conclude the proceedings by issuing a certificate that the dispute remains unresolved'.
When it comes to proof of jurisdiction, Rule 14 now states that a conciliating commissioner must require a referring party to prove that the CCMA has jurisdiction in an instance in which a jurisdictional issue has not been determined, provided that all jurisdictional issues requiring evidence may be deferred to arbitration.
Strictly speaking, all jurisdictional issues require evidence, but in instances where the evidence is not common cause and oral evidence is required, it's likely it will be deferred to arbitration.