Mr Des Williams > Werksmans Attorneys > Johannesburg, South Africa > Lawyer Profile

Werksmans Attorneys
South Africa
Des Williams photo

Work Department

Arbitration, Construction & Engineering, Dispute Resolution, Media, Communications & Technology, Mining, Environmental & Resources


Des Williams is a director of Werksmans. He is experienced in all fields of commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including international litigation, arbitration and mediation. Des has extensive experience in major review proceedings, including reviews of decisions of regulatory boards and awards in arbitration proceedings. Other fields of expertise include constitutional law, telecommunications law and gambling and gaming law. Des has been involved in many of the largest and most complex litigation and arbitration matters in South Africa.


Des was chairman of Werksmans from 2005 until early 2015. He has been with the firm since 1974 and headed its Litigation Department from 1994 to 2005. He was ranked as a leading lawyer in: Dispute Resolution and Construction by Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2014 – 2019); ranked by Legal500 for Dispute Resolution for 2018. Des was the sole South African member of the Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) from 2011 to 2018 and is the former co-chair of the litigation committee of the International Bar Association.


Des is the South African member of the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). He is also a member of the International Bar Association (IBA); a former co-chair of its Litigation Committee and a former member of its Legal Practice Division Council. He is a member of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces.


Des holds a BA LLB, LLM and Higher Diplomas in Company Law and Tax from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Lawyer Rankings

South Africa > Dispute resolution

(Hall of Fame)

Des WilliamsWerksmans

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 .