Dispute resolution in South Africa

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has grown its presence in forensics, investigations and white-collar crime work. It acted for Media24 in an application launched by the Centre for Child Law and others seeking to extend the protection from identification applicable in criminal matters to all underage victims of crime. The 'top-notchTim Fletcher leads the team, which includes prominent mining disputes expert Rishaban Moodley, banking disputes expert Eugene Bester and business-rescue specialist Julian Jones. Former directors Jonathan Witts-Hewinson and Pieter Conradie are now executive consultants.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has led the insurance dispute market for many years and is further developing its standing in commercial litigation,  investigations and anti-corruption, mining disputes and class actions. Jeffrey Kron is a leader in mining disputes, including silicosis class actions, and Tony Chappel is a seasoned professional liability expert. Andre Vos now heads the commercial litigation department and leads the investigations and anti-corruption practice. Former banking litigation leader Aslam Moosajee has joined ENSafrica and Michael Hart has retired to become a consultant.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel is further cementing its leading standing in dispute resolution, having impressed in constitutional and administrative law disputes in recent years. It has achieved additional growth in international arbitration, white-collar crime and anti-corruption disputes, and judicial review cases. The team is 'very proactive', 'very meticulous' and 'has a solid understanding of commercial matters'. Vlad Movshovich is 'very able', 'very competent' and 'a top disputes lawyer'; he represented Norilsk Nickel in its $277m claim against Botswana's BCL, involving London Court of International Arbitration proceedings. Trevor Versfeld is 'a very astute and experienced litigator' who 'provides excellent strategic and technical legal advice'. Nick Alp and Stuart McCafferty are also big-name litigators, while Kathryn Gawith is recommended for professional liability disputes.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys's team 'works seamlessly', 'communicates better and has a better understanding of matters than others', according to one client. The firm is a giant of the dispute resolution scene, leading the market in range of segments including administrative and regulatory disputes, telecoms litigation and international arbitration. It acted for South African Reserve Bank in review proceedings against the Public Protector concerning alleged failure to recover misappropriated funds. David Hertz is 'first choice’, ‘a straight shooter’, 'the top commercial disputes lawyer in the country' and 'knows how to manage a team'. Des Williams is a leader in international arbitration and Corlett Manaka is recommended for administrative and constitutional law cases. Darren Willans is 'impeccable, unflappable and a clear leader in this space'.

Bowmans

Bowmans is at the forefront of class actions and tax litigation, among other dispute resolution segments. It is also developing its standing in cross-border disputes. The team represented RTT Group in enforcing a restraint of trade agreement with its former chief operating officer. The department is 'knowledgeable, experienced and patient'. The team features heavyweight litigators Tim Gordon-Grant, Adam Anderson and James McKinnell, along with up-and-coming name Clement Mkiva.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica added leading banking and financial services litigation expertise to its offering through the hire of Aslam Moosajee from Norton Rose Fulbright. The practice continues to be at the forefront of class actions, including silicosis cases, thanks to the presence of Sue Hayes, and is further building its standing in regulatory disputes and transfer-pricing cases. A John Zieff-led team acted for Lewis Stores in a case before the National Consumer Tribunal regarding club fees and extended maintenance warranties. George van Niekerk and Armando Aguiar are big-name litigators, with the latter feted for his advocacy skills. Deon Lambert is a key name for construction disputes.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP established an impressive department with the hire of the eminent Gerhard Rudolph and a team from Baker McKenzie Johannesburg. The team is best known for banking and construction disputes. It defended Absa against claims brought by creditors of the failed Corporate Money Managers collective investment scheme.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's eminence in insurance along with the standing of its senior practitioners, has led the South Africa team to be engaged in a series of big-ticket disputes. It acted for Bryte Insurance in a claim for defence costs under a Directors & Officers policy brought by current and former directors of Steinhoff Africa Holdings. Daniel Le Roux 'is the doyen of insurance lawyers' and Tony Hardie has an outstanding reputation.

Fasken

FASKEN has an especially prominent standing in construction disputes, and administrative and constitutional law cases. It has also earned greater market share in mining regulatory matters and pension fund litigation. Eric van den Berg is recommended for mining and media disputes, and Nic RoodtRakhee Bhoora and Hanneke Spies for administrative law cases. The team acted for Timed Media Group in a headline case over the identification of minors involved in the criminal justice system.

Hogan Lovells (South Africa)

Hogan Lovells (South Africa) has impressed in general commercial litigation, administrative law and regulatory work; it has a particular niche in the telecoms sector. The team is 'extremely professional', 'personable', 'empathetic and diplomatic', and 'exemplary'. It represented Transnet in claims and counter claims relating to defective infrastructure and IT systems installed at the Port of Saldanha, and defective workmanship in the refurbishment of the Manganese terminal at Port Elizabeth. Veronica Vurgarellis heads the department.

Knowles Husain Lindsay Inc

Knowles Husain Lindsay Inc is a top litigation boutique with a fine record in administrative and constitutional law cases, real estate disputes, and commercial and banking litigation. Errol Knowles is 'rated very highly especially in regulatory litigation'. Ian Lindsay is 'very strong and a straight shooter', while Mohamed Husain is recommended for commercial and judicial review cases.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg now has a greater emphasis on commercial litigation, public procurement disputes, and compliance and investigations with Darryl Bernstein and John Bell to the fore, following the departure of construction and banking disputes specialist Gerhard Rudolph to Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP. The team is 'responsive, commercial and client focused' and represented TMS Group Industrial Services in High Court proceedings against Eskom in a headline public procurement dispute.

Fluxmans

Fluxmans is noted for commercial and mining litigation, along with insolvency and business-rescue cases. Colin Strime is 'a thorough attorney especially in insolvency'. Jones Atunes is recommended for commercial litigation and arbitration.

Glyn Marais

Glyn Marais has maintained a presence in headline litigation, notably through its representation of Irene Charnley, the ex-director of MTN, in a $4.2bn damages action brought by Turkcell concerning the award of a GSM mobile licence in Iran. Riaan du Plessis is the lead partner. Robert January is an impressive senior associate.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP is making significant headway in cross-border disputes, particularly in international arbitration and other forms of ADR. The Johannesburg team has worked on a series of ICC arbitrations and are notably active in African jurisdictions such as Tanzania, Botswana and Ghana. Jonathan Ripley-Evans has brought core disputes expertise to the Johannesburg office, while Peter Leon has extensive experience in mining and resources disputes. He led the team representing Vitol and Vesquin Trading in defending judicial review proceedings brought by the Central Energy Fund and the Strategic Fuel Fund. Cameron Dunstan-Smith has joined from Bowmans to provide additional corporate crime and investigations expertise.