The sizeable dispute resolution practice at Bowmans forms a significant part of the firm’s offering in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The department is split into three specialised teams with varying focuses, namely cross-border disputes, class action and arbitrations and restructuring and shareholder disputes. In addition to these core areas of focus, it also undertakes insurance litigation, corporate investigations and employment-related matters. Chris Todd chairs the department. Adam Anderson is notable in the class action space and James McKinnell is skilled in restructuring litigation. Corporate and commercial litigator Tim Gordon-Grant is also an active team member alongside Claire Tucker who handles public law mandates.
Dispute resolution in South Africa
‘Easy access to the team and good interaction on collaboration in matters entrusted to them.’
Brite Advisors South Africa
Government of Lesotho
Marabu Natursteinhandel GmbH
The Standard Bank of South Africa
- Advising the financial creditors of Steinhoff Group with a specific focus on the South African class action, various other vendor claims, and related litigation which has been instituted against both Steinhoff International Holdings and Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
- Advising Pepkor in an application brought by the former owners of Tekkie Town who sought to interdict Steinhoff and Pepkor from disposing of the Tekkie Town shares or business, and also in a related action between the same parties for return of the business alternatively payment of the purchase price.
- Advised Old Mutual on the exit of Peter Moyo after a conflict of interest resulted in a breakdown in trust with the Board.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is highly adept at handling commercial litigation, international arbitration and mediation, as well as reputational management disputes and corporate investigations. Real estate, oil and gas, mining and financial services are particular areas of focus for the department. Tim Fletcher , who is also qualified as an English solicitor, leads the team. Rishaban Moodley specialises in commercial litigation and conducting forensic investigations. Timothy Smit and Kgosi Nkaiseng are experts in High Court litigation and Mongezi Mpahlwa and Corne Lewis are skilled in liquidation and business rescue mandates. Jonathan Witts-Hewinson is also a senior lawyer of note. Clive Rumsey arrived from Hogan Lovells (South Africa) in December 2020, bolstering further the group’s construction and engineering-related disputes offering.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team’s commitment to their clients is evident from the advice they provide to suit the unique requirements of each matter. They are always willing to enter healthy debate about the matters and we have found they provide unconditional support and are always open to take into account our needs.’
‘They have worked for us for a long time and understand our (rather complex) business. This saves time and money. Excellent technical knowledge and advice. I always feel save in their hands. In terms of value for money – absolutely. They don’t waste time on unnecessary stuff because they know what to focus on. And the directors are accessible. They don’t pass me off to an associate.’
‘Jackwell Feris had confidence on the case even when our team had some doubts. He clearly informed and prepared us to understand the case.’
‘Tim Fletcher is a gentleman litigator and offers excellent counsel and is the person you want on your side in a dispute.’
‘Tim Smit is a stand-out among the younger directors, with a keen focus on client service and availability!’
‘Corne Lewis is the dedicated hard worker with a great understanding for the law.’
‘Kylene Weyers has developed into a very capable attorney and is always available to go the extra mile, even if she is under extreme pressure from her other matters. She always has our backs and supports us wholeheartedly in our matters.’
‘Lucinde Rhoodie is one of SA’s best commercial litigators. She is very bright, unflappable, always prepared and never misses the key points on which cases turn. She is a formidable litigator.’
Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa
The Independent Institute of Education
Liquid Telecommunications South African
Lombard Insurance Company
Mylan South Africa
The Spar Group
Tsebo Solutions Group
- Advising Vodacom in a dispute concerning IMT spectrum to be auctioned off by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
- Assisting MEGA in prosecuting a court application against the Business Rescue Practitioner of Nkomati Anthracite, which is in business rescue, challenging the lawfulness of the expungement/expropriation of MEGA’s 40% shareholding in Nkomati Anthracite pursuant to an approved business rescue plan.
- Acting for the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors in an application to review and set aside IRBA’s decision to introduce Mandatory Audit Firm Rotations as a new rule by 2023.
The dispute resolution team at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc is split across Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town and handles both domestic and cross-border mandates due to the firm’s global presence. Its broad ranging offering includes insurance, construction and corporate and commercial litigation, as well as transport and employment-related disputes. International arbitrations, investigations and enforcement matters are also within the team’s capabilities. Its client roster includes government bodies and authorities. The practice has numerous senior and experienced litigators: Brent Botha is the national head of dispute resolution for the firm, Jeffrey Kron is a seasoned litigator, and Andre Vos is notable in the regulatory, compliance and investigations space.
Brent Botha; Jeffrey Kron; Andre Vos; Andrew Robinson; Tony Chappel; Craig Woolley; David Kapelus; Murray Alexander; Malcolm Hartwell; Liesl Williams
Other key lawyers:
Donald Dinni; Paul Cartwright
‘Good subject knowledge and value for money.’
Chubb and its insured private hospital
Minerals Council South Africa
Vedanta Resources Holdings
SA Marine Insurance market
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
Kensani Corrections Management
South African Custodial Management
- Acted for Vedanta Resources Holdings Ltd in obtaining an interim injunction against Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines.
- Acted for Minerals Council South Africa in its regulatory dispute with the regulator, the Minister of Mineral Resources and the Minister’s Department, the Department of Mineral Resources concerning the Mining Charter.
- Representing PwC Botswana and an audit partner in a High Court action in Botswana in which it has been sued by the managing director and a non-executive director of Choppies Enterprises Ltd.
Priyesh Daya leads the disputes team at Webber Wentzel alongside deputy head Sarah McKenzie. The team advises clients on corporate, contractual and regulatory disputes and conducts class actions in highly regulated sectors, including banking, construction, energy, insurance, healthcare, media, mining and telecommunications. Its team has represented clients in the High Court, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court of South Africa, as well as arbitration forums and courts in other jurisdictions. The department has a large team, including Dario Milo who is recognisable in the media space, Trevor Versfeld who is very experienced in financial related matters, Nick Alp who is notable in the class action space and Kathryn Gawith works on professional liability cases. Julian Jones , formerly at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, and Lara Kahn both have expertise in business rescue mandates and insolvency litigation. Insurance specialist Maria Philippides bolstered the practice further after moving to the firm with three other partners from Norton Rose Fulbright , and Vlad Movshovich is notable in arbitrations. Previous partner turned consultant Stuart McCafferty is still active in class action cases.
Other key lawyers:
‘They have great depth of resources and real expertise in certain areas of the law. Different departments within the firm work together seamlessly as a well-oiled machine. They have deep and personal relationships with senior counsel who obviously respect their judgement and view, and enjoy working with them.’
‘Each senior lawyer had a vested interest in the case, was creative in their search for solutions, never shied away from hard conversations and had an unbelievable work ethic. We often had tight deadlines and the team delivered. They were approachable day or night and were on top of the issues.’
‘The dispute resolution practice at Webber Wentzel is probably one of the best teams in South Africa. The partners and associates are hands on, dedicated and responsive. They stand above their competitors.’
‘The individuals we use at Webber Wentzel are experts in their fields and are highly regarded in our industry. The legal advice received has been honest and of exceptional quality’
‘We have worked almost exclusively with Maria Philippides. She is a stand-out in the industry for her knowledge of our business, and for the practical, honest and comprehensive reporting and advice received.’
‘Dario provides excellence, never leave us out of any relevant discussion, and has been brilliant.’
‘I highly recommend Nick Alp, who is one of the brightest minds of his generation and without a doubt a top-notch litigator in South Africa. He has outstanding technical and commercial skills, is very collegial and always gives clear strategic advice throughout. His expertise covers both local litigation matters and international commercial arbitrations where he is creating a name for himself. He is a safe pair of hands on high-stakes and sensitive matters.’
‘Priyesh Daya and Garth Duncan have been an all-round great team to work with. They have a good work ethic and the most noteworthy and commendable quality amongst them is their trustworthiness.’
Anglo American South Africa
Deloitte and Touché South Africa
amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
Development Bank of South Africa
Standard Chartered Bank
Ernst & Young Advisory Services
- Representing Absa Bank in defending a High Court proceeding instituted by Vodacom Group Limited, in which Vodacom claims approximately R4bn from Absa pursuant to a guarantee concluded between the parties in terms of which Absa guaranteed the obligations of a subsidiary bank in Tanzania.
- Defending Anglo American South Africa in a substantial toxic tort class action lawsuit filed in the Johannesburg High Court on behalf of a class that could potentially exceed more than 100,000 Zambian children and women of childbearing age.
- Represented two Deloitte auditors in disciplinary proceedings before the disciplinary committee of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors in a complaint of improper conduct.
Werksmans Attorneys has an impressive track record in high-profile commercial litigations and disputes in the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeals and Constitutional Court, as well as conducting arbitrations domestically and internationally. Business rescue and insolvency mandates and tax litigation are also within the team’s capabilities. Sectors of focus for the group include IT, agriculture, banking, healthcare, retail and energy. Corlett Manaka is head of the department and reputable in the constitutional and administrative law space, as well as business crime and investigations work. Chairman of the firm David Hertz is a strong litigator and Des Williams is also notable in litigation and international arbitration. Other team members include shareholder dispute expert Jones Antunes , land reform specialist Bulelwa Mabasa , pensions litigator Darren Willans and construction and engineering lawyer Sarah Moerane .
Other key lawyers:
South African Reserve Bank
Public Investment Corporation
Industrial Development Corporation
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
Steinhoff Africa Holdings
Gold Fields Operations
N3 Toll Concessions
International Commodity Trader
International Chemical Company
- Representing Telkom SA in a review application that it has launched against the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa concerning several proposed spectrum tenders.
- Representing the Prudential Authority in an application launched against it and the Constantia Group of Companies for reconsideration of the Prudential Authority’s decision relating to the conversion of insurance licences under the new Insurance Act at the newly established Financial Services Tribunal.
- Representing Gold Fields in an action in which the plaintiffs have claimed payment of certain amounts which the plaintiffs assert constitute damages in respect of shares allegedly stolen directly or indirectly by various individuals, two groups of whom are alleged to have constituted the directing and controlling minds of JCI and Gold Fields respectively, and the conduct of which groups of individuals is alleged to be attributable to each of JCI and Gold Fields as joint wrongdoers.
In Cape Town, George van Niekerk now solely leads the dispute resolution practice at ENSafrica after Sue Hayes in Johannesburg has stepped down as co-head, although she continues to be a core and active part of the team. The practice has a wide ranging offering encompassing mediation, class action cases and commercial litigation cases, domestically and internationally based. The team also benefits from working alongside the firm’s tax, construction, employment, competition and shipping practices. Particular sectors of focus for the group include mining, retail, finance, oil and gas and insurance. Commercial and finance litigator Aslam Moosajee is an active team member.
‘Key strengths of the team include its great engagement with complete immersion into the assignment, the scale and size of the company with many skills, and somehow the company manages to feel like a small company, where coordination, collaboration and complementary skills are optimised for the benefit of the client.’
‘They take their work personally without compromising their professional integrity. They offer their honest advice, and advise on risks associated with any actions and options that are available.’
‘Serious attention to detail and able to present complex legal issues to clients in a digestible format.’
‘James is a fantastic communicator, which really takes the stress and uncertainty out of the litigation process.’
Airports Company South Africa SOC
Beijing Fuxing Xiao-Cheng Electronic Technology Stock Co.
Eskom Holdings SOC
G4S Cash Solutions
Industrial Development Corporation
Limited JV Ole Power Systems
The Standard Bank of South Africa
Tshipi É Ntle Manganese Mining
Tsogo Sun Group
United Ulama Council of South Africa
- Advising Lancaster 101 in litigation against Steinhoff International Holdings NV following irregularities picked up in this financials which lead to significant drop in its share price.
- Acting for the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa against Oakbay Resources and Energy, Oakbay Investments and others in relation to the termination of a loan agreement, triggered by events which the IDC contend, relate to the illegal conduct of the aforementioned companies controlled by the Gupta family and highly publicised events, under the rubric of state capture.
- Acted for DRDGOLD in claims against insurers for coverage under the contagious and infectious disease extension clause of assets all risks insurance policies for business interruption losses suffered in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP's dispute resolution practice in South Africa sits within the firm’s global network, consequently advising on domestic and international arbitration, as well as investigations across the continent. Insolvency, restructuring and business rescues are also growing areas of strength for the team. Gerhard Rudolph is head of the department and has expertise representing clients from the financial services, energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Counsel Callum O’Connor is skilled in commercial disputes and counsel Widaad Ebrahim has expertise in insolvency and regulatory compliance matters.
Metis Strategic Advisors
Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority
South African Reserve Bank
African Rainbow Minerals
Unicorn Capital Partners and KPMG
- Represented the Regulator for financial institutions and market infrastructures in successfully obtaining a court order placing Nestlife Assurance Corporation (RF) into curatorship for failing to meet the prescribed minimum capital adequacy and solvency capital requirements.
- Representing the main contractor in arbitration proceedings against Worley Parsons RSA arising out of the Kpone Power Plant in Ghana.
- Representing the business rescue practitioners of a major construction company in arbitration and High Court proceedings in defence of a claim in excess of ZAR200m asserted by the Government of South Africa.
Clyde & Co LLP
Clyde & Co LLP has a strong focus on contentious insurance matters, and its South African offering also provides clients with representation throughout litigation, arbitration and mediation locally and on cross-border matters. This includes business rescue proceedings and insolvency mandates, fraud investigations and cyber crime, defamation and shareholder disputes. Sectors of focus for the team include insurance, aviation, construction, shipping, mining and healthcare. Insurance law specialist Daniel Le Roux and managing partner Tony Hardie jointly chair the department. Ernie van der Vyver has expertise in corporate and regulatory matters and Lee Astfalck is active in director liability cases.
‘Wide range of expert services.’
‘Knowledgeable, fast to act and always available.’
Fasken represents national and international businesses in the construction, engineering and pharmaceutical industries, as well as government agencies, in alternative dispute resolution, international arbitrations and litigation. Rakhee Bhoora took over as head of the department in January 2021 with a focus on administrative and constitutional law. Corporate restructuring and insolvency lawyer Haroon Laher, construction disputes are a large feature of Nic Roodt‘s practice, and mining dispute specialist Eric van den Berg is also of note.
‘Sound commercial knowledge.’
‘The team are experienced and well-versed in advising niche insurance products. They can apply legal principles in a practical way and can get to the essence and crux of a dispute.’
‘They have applied technology extremely well to assist in the disputed resolution process, which produced an efficient, speedy and well structured resolution.’
‘The team are dedicated, available and has shown professionalism throughout.’
‘Their knowledge on subject matters has been outstanding and they have shown dedication. They are commercial and business minded, which has assisted us greatly.’
‘Professional, very well organised, diverse skill set and easily reachable.’
‘Bianca Da Costa is professional, listens attentively, has good business acumen and is an expert litigation attorney.’
Payment technology support services provider
SOC in ICT Industry
South African National Roads Agency
Baphalane Ba Mantserre Community Development Trust
Metal trading company
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa
Large multinational operating in the agricultural sector
Bakubung Ba Ratheo Traditional Community
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP
At Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP, alternative dispute resolution and arbitration specialist Jonathan Ripley-Evans leads the disputes team alongside the head of corporate crime and investigations team, Cameron Dunstan-Smith, which handles high-profile criminal and regulatory enforcement matters. Promoted to senior associate in June 2020, Fiorella Noriega del Valle is skilled in white-collar crime mandates.
Other key lawyers:
‘The subject specialist partners have added tremendous value with guiding the disputes team through the particularities of the dispute.’
‘The energy and dedication given to each matter is unmatched. The team understands their client’s needs and go above and beyond to deliver favourable results. The team is one you want on your side in complex and challenging matters.’
‘The Dispute Resolution Practice at HSF has provided us with a holistic approach finding efficient ways to tackle disputes that arise. Given the impact to our industry over the past 18 months as a result of COVID 19, such advice and approach has been invaluable.’
‘Jonathan Ripley-Evans has provided us with incredible support and practical business centred advice in a year where tourism has suffered. Keeping the current market conditions in mind, he has advised us honestly and with the best interests of our business in mind, providing the possible risks and benefits on our matters with him. We generally use his team for our high risk and bigger matters given his insight and the trusted relationship we share with him.’
‘Jonathan Ripley-Evans is thoughtful, and proactive with a good appreciation of the commercial context. He is utterly reliable.’
‘Jonathan Ripley-Evans has led the matter exceptionally well, and has used his extensive experience to ensure that we are well positioned in the litigation. Fiorella Noreiga de Valle has been very efficient and administratively competent.’
‘The individual I work with, Fiorella Noriega Del Valle, is a phenomenal legal practitioner in all respects. Her ability to deliver great results through her “out of the box” legal approach to litigation is respectable.’
HDG Limited Mintails
Kaxu Solar One
Mercedes Benz South Africa
Mineral Resource Development
Motsitle Mining- Vlakfontein Site
Mulilo Total Coega
Norilsk Nickel Africa
Norilsk Nickel Mauritius
Norilsk Nickel International Holdings
Shell South Africa
Stanlib Multi Manager
Stanlib Asset Management
Thales South Africa
Vitol S.A. Vesquin Trading
- Representing six of the successful preferred bidders in the RMIPPPP in opposing the application against DNG Power Holdings to review proceedings and the decision to award the tender to these preferred bidders by the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
- Advising Thales SA in a high profile corporate criminal prosecution.
- Advising Southern Africa’s leading integrated tourism group Tourvest, in connection with insurance claims.
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg
Investigation and compliance risk expert Darryl Bernstein is head of the dispute resolution department at Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, and the firm’s global presence enables the team to service both domestic and international clients. The team has particular strengths in financial service sector disputes, as well as matters in the oil and gas, construction, mining, TMT, cybersecurity, retail and pharmaceutical sectors. John Bell moved to Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc in September 2021.
Other key lawyers:
‘Of all the lawyers I have met in South Africa, I have been most impressed by Baker McKenzie.’
‘The team has global capabilities.’
‘I have had the pleasure of working with Darryl Bernstein and Deepa Ramjee from the dispute resolution department. This team, with a special call out to Deepa Ramjee, has unparalleled attention to detail – a depth of attention which fosters immense trust in their abilities. It provides me with peace of mind that all avenues have been explored and covered in the legal advice (mainly of a regulatory nature) that is provided.’
‘I am ever impressed by the commercial pragmatism of Darryl Bernstein and his team.’
‘Wian Steyn is a high performing senior associate with solid legal skills. Proactive and commercial.’
‘Wian Steyn is a very professional lawyer and full of patience. He takes the work very seriously and knows our lawsuit case very well; every time we have any questions about the case, or we consult him about any other issues, we get a quick reply and useful advice from him.’
Bain & Company
ETC Export Trading Group
Global Distressed Alpha Fund III
Global Loan Agency Services
Guangxi Liugong Machinery
Rotary Club of Rosebank
Trustco Group Holdings
White Oak Trade & Specialty Finance, Cayman
- Representing Oracle in an ongoing dispute against Eskom in a ZAR 7.3bn claim relating to the over-utilisation of Oracle’s licences.
- Represented Bain & Company in relation to public allegations against the company in two Commissions of Inquiry in South Africa, including a comprehensive review and investigation of its public sector engagements.
- Representing GLAS in respect of a High Court application brought by Trevo Capital and Hamilton BV to declare the issuing of guarantees by Steinhoff International Holdings to a related company as security for convertible bonds, as void for non-compliance in terms of the Companies Act, 2008.
CMS South Africa
The young dispute resolution team at CMS South Africa was established in 2020 after Siphokazi Kayana, who leads the team, joined the firm alongside Zaakir Mohamed from Werksmans Attorneys. The team has a burgeoning practice spanning arbitration, adjudication, commercial litigation and judicial review, as well as an impressive and growing client base. Employment expert Lucinda Hinxman also joined the team from Werksmans Attorneys in April 2021.
Commercial litigation and property disputes are the core focuses of the dispute resolution team at Glyn Marais which handles arbitration, mediation and High Court litigation. Particular areas include shareholder disputes, business rescue, product liability matters and employment mandates, as well as administrative and public law matters. Riaan Du Plessis and Brian Frank jointly sit at the helm of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Water and Sanitation Services South Africa
Equity Diamond Cutting Works
Miganu Investments Holdings
Huawei Technologies SA
IEC Holden Inc
ETG Value Chains
Kambai Photovoltaic Manufacturing
Johannesburg Land Company
Zana Manzi Services
Strategic Partners Group
Techno Brain SA
Bitumen Suppliers and Services
One & Only
FH Bertling Logistics
Oasis Global Management Company Ireland
Proxa South Africa
ETC Agro Tractors SA
ABB PG Power Grids Ltd, Switzerland
Lawtons Africa‘s litigation department handles both domestic and cross border mandates, including international arbitration. Its offering is broad and includes advising clients on corporate and commercial disputes, director and shareholder disputes, business rescue and constitutional law-related matters, as well as class action litigation. ‘Excellent attorney’ Veronica Vurgarellis leads the department and Candice Pillay is also praised by clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘As a corporate firm, they stand out above many in South Africa. Specifically, they are a diverse team and have the ability to work across all spectrums of the South African society.’
‘They have always availed their services even to some of our clients who needed legal support. They have addressed allegations against senior staff in a non-judgemental manner and have demonstrated confidentiality and sensitivity to all the parties concerned. Their high level of professional and integrity is an invaluable asset to have.’
‘Candice Pillay is empathetic and calm when dealing with clients issues. They are very knowledgeable on South African legal jurisprudence. Her passion over social justice is remarkable and unparalleled.’
‘The outstanding person is Candice Pillay who has served this organisation with such dedication and commitment.’
‘Veronica Vurgarellis is an excellent attorney, who navigates a busy practice while still giving every client’s matter detailed attention. She always ensures that counsel are properly briefed, and provides the support required in order to obtain the best performance from her team.’
Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors
South African Local Government Association
Council for Medical Schemes
State Information technology Agency SOC
National Energy Regulator of South Africa
Fresenius Medical Care
Hollard Insurance Company
- Acting for Telkom SOC Ltd vs Blue Tech Holdings and various others.
- Acting for BCX in seeking to recover monies paid to a service provider who is unable to prove that services were in fact rendered.
- Assisting the IRBA in levelling charges against 3 auditors accused of being instrumental in approving the financial records and prospectuses issued in one of South Africa’s largest property syndication scheme that imploded in 2010 when it was ascertained that the scheme fell foul of the South African Reserve Bank regulations.