Our Dispute Resolution team

 provides pragmatic legal solutions to disputes by pursuing or defending arbitration or litigation, or through alternative methods, such as mediation.

Groundbreaking Matters

Clients laud the team: “The service we receive from CDH is excellent and appreciated. Their responsiveness to our requests and communication is world-class. The various alerts that they send out are very topical as well as informing.”

Chambers Global 2019

Clients value the group’s deep understanding of their businesses: “They have a clear understanding of our complex business structure and are very quick to respond with the appropriate and most efficient solutions to achieve what we need. In addition, they consistently make themselves available to assist as and when needed.”

Chambers Global 2019

Our services include dispute resolution and opinion work across a range of specialisations, some of which include:

  • Contentious banking and finance matters.
  • Class or group actions in South Africa.
  • Commercial disputes of all kinds.
  • Liability and risk issues.
  • Business rescue, restructuring and insolvency.
  • Corporate fraud forensic investigations.
  • A wide range of insurance disputes.
  • Cross-border disputes.
  • Product liability.
  • Acted for Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd against Cosira South Africa (Pty) Ltd (In Liquidation). Our client has a claim of R130 million in this insolvent estate, which involves R1.3 billion owed to a group of South Africa's largest banking consortium. This is said to be South Africa's largest default (bond) by far. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is now tasked with conducting a section 417 enquiry and round 3 thereof is due to commence at the end of March 2014.

  • Acting for the applicant, Foodcorp (Pty) Limited and its subsidiaries in an urgent application against the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for an order compelling the Minister and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to issue to Foodcorp and its subsidiaries with commercial fishing permits.

  • Representing South African Airways (SAA) in the judicial review application launched by Comair Limited seeking to set aside the decision of the Minister of Public Enterprises taken with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance on 26 September 2012 to provide SAA with a R5 billion guarantee. The decision of the court will have significant implications for future government guarantees for other state owned enterprises and will be of importance to funders who provide South African state owned enterprises with funding to execute various infrastructure and other public projects.

  • Involved in various insolvency proceedings including the winding up of numerous companies within the Pinnacle Point Group. We have assisted our client Nedbank Ltd in inter alia the following aspects:

    • Section 417 Insolvency Enquiry in re Pinnacle Point Group Limited – watching brief and advice.

    • Sequestration application in Western Cape High Court, Cape Town (Mostert) - launched application against a surety – R54 M.

    • Liquidation application in Western Cape High Court Cape Town (New Port Finance) – launched liquidation application against surety – R54M. Currently opposed

    • Opposing business rescue and participating in business rescue process - Wedgewood Village Golf & Country Estate (Pty) Ltd; Danger Point Ecological Development Company (Pty) Ltd and Romansbaai Stonehouse (Pty) Ltd - all in Western Cape High Court, Cape Town.

    • Opposing Western Cape High Court, Cape Town applications to stay execution proceedings against New Port Finance and Mostert.

    • Opposing two appeals to Supreme Court of Appeal, Bloemfontein against orders dismissing applications to stay execution proceedings.

    • High Court litigation in Pretoria and Johannesburg. There are 3 main matters involved. The litigation in Pretoria and Johannesburg is a damages claim brought by various parties including Pinnacle Point Holdings (Pty) Limited and New Port Finance (Pty) Ltd against Nedbank. There is also a claim against Absa Bank Limited. The one South Gauteng matter involves opposing a High Court review application launched by some of the same parties against the Securities Regulations Panel in an attempt to set aside a previous ruling made in favour of Nedbank.

  • Acting for African Rainbow Minerals Ltd, one of the thirty two respondents in an application in the South Gauteng Local Division of the High Court of South Africa by fifty six applicants (former South African gold mine workers and dependants of former gold mine workers) against thirty two respondents, all South African gold mining companies. The applicants apply for certification of a class action, related to silicosis and/or tuberculosis allegedly contracted by mineworkers in South African gold mines since 1956. Despite a number of judgments by divisions of the South African High Court, by the Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court, the law relating to class actions in South Africa is relatively new. The legal issues and issues of fact that have to be considered / addressed for purposes of the certification application are complicated.

  • Acting for Standard Bank in perfecting various securities held by it against the Sturrett Group of Companies. Instituting proceedings against various companies within the group. Negotiating disposal of rights under perfection order to third party. Advising bank on environmental risks as a holder of a "perfected" security prior to disposal of assets to third party.
  • Represented a major creditor of Cosira South Africa (Pty) Ltd (in Liquidation). Our client has a claim of R130 million in the liquidation process, which involves R1.3 billion owed to South Africa's largest banking consortium. This is said to be South Africa's largest bond default by far.

  • Representing South African Airways (SAA) in the judicial review application launched by Comair Limited seeking to set aside the decision of the Minister of Public Enterprises taken with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance on 26 September 2012 to provide SAA with a R5 billion guarantee. The decision of the court will have significant implications for future government guarantees for other state owned enterprises and will be of importance to funders who provide South African state owned enterprises with funding to execute various infrastructure and other public projects.

  • Involved in various insolvency proceedings including the winding up of numerous companies within the Pinnacle Point Group.

  • Acting for one of the thirty two respondents in an application by fifty six former South African gold mine workers and dependants of former gold mine workers against thirty two South African gold mining companies. The applicants apply for certification of a class action, related to silicosis and/or tuberculosis allegedly contracted by mineworkers in South African gold mines since 1956.

  • Acting for a major bank in perfecting various securities held by it against the Sturrett Group of Companies. Instituting proceedings against various companies within the group. Negotiating disposal of rights under perfection order to third party. Advising bank on environmental risks as a holder of a "perfected" security prior to disposal of assets to third party.

Practice Area Rankings

  • Chambers Global 2017 - 2019 ranked us in Band 1 for dispute resolution.
  • Chambers Global 2018 - 2019 ranked us in Band 2 for insurance and restructuring/insolvency.
  • Chambers Global 2018 - 2019 named our Corporate Investigations sector as a Recognised Practitioner.
  • Chambers Global 2011 - 2016 ranked us in Band 2 for dispute resolution.
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2017 - 2018 recommended us in Tier 1 for dispute resolution.
  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2013 - 2016 recommended us in Tier 2 for dispute resolution.

Ranked Practitioners

  • Tim Fletcher is the National Practice Head for the Dispute Resolution team. Chambers Global 2019 ranked Tim in Band 3 for dispute resolution. Chambers Global 2015–2018 ranked Tim in Band 4 for dispute resolution. The Legal 500 EMEA 2016–2018 recommended him as a leading individual for dispute resolution and recommended him from 2013–2016. Best Lawyers International 2008–2018 listed Tim for insurance law and litigation. The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2015 identified Tim as being among the world’s leading asset recovery lawyers. He was named as the exclusive South African winner of the ILO Client Choice Awards 2017–2018 in the litigation category. Who’s Who Legal 2018 identified Tim as one of the world’s leading Insurance & Reinsurance lawyers.

  • Best Lawyers International 2015–2016 listed Roy Barendse for arbitration and mediation.

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2015–2018 recommended Eugene Bester for dispute resolution. Best Lawyers International 2014–2018 listed him for litigation.

  • Chambers Global 2019 named Pieter Conradie Senior Statesperson. Chambers Global 2012–2018 ranked Pieter Conradie in Band 1 for dispute resolution. The Legal 500 EMEA 2012–2017 recommended him for dispute resolution. Best Lawyers International 2008–2018 listed him for arbitration and mediation, as well as litigation and in 2018 he was listed for product liability litigation. In 2017 he was listed as Lawyer of the Year for arbitration and mediation. Pieter was identified as a leading lawyer by Who’s Who Legal: Litigation for 2017. Who’s Who Legal 2017–2018 identified Pieter as one of the world’s leading Product Liability Defence lawyers. He was identified by The International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigators 2013, The International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defence Lawyers 2014 and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2014. Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence identified Pieter as a leading lawyer for 2018.

  • Best Lawyers International 2014–2018 listed Thabile Fuhrmann for litigation.

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2015 recommended Anja Hofmeyr for dispute resolution.

  • Chambers Global 2018 - 2019 ranked Julian Jones in Band 3 for restructuring/insolvency. The Legal 500 EMEA 2013–2018 recommended him for dispute resolution. Best Lawyers International 2017–2018 listed Julian for insolvency and reorganisation law.

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2014 recommended Richard Marcus for dispute resolution. Best Lawyers International 2015–2018 listed him for litigation. He was also listed in 2018 for insolvency and reorganisation law. Richard was named as the exclusive South African winner of the ILO Client Choice Awards 2018 in the insolvency & restructuring category.

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2016–2018 recommended Rishaban Moodley for dispute resolution. Best Lawyers International 2014–2018 listed him for litigation and in 2018, he was also listed for arbitration and mediation. Rishaban was named as the exclusive South African winner of the ILO Client Choice Awards 2015-2016 for litigation.

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2014 recommended Marius Potgieter for dispute resolution.

  • Chambers Global 2016–2019 ranked Joe Whittle in Band 4 for construction. The Legal 500 EMEA 2017–2018 recommended him for construction.

  • Chambers Global 2017–2019 ranked Jonathan Witts-Hewinson in Band 2 for dispute resolution. Chambers Global 2014–2016 ranked Jonathan in Band 3 for dispute resolution. The Legal 500 EMEA 2012–2018 recommended him for dispute resolution. Best Lawyers International 2008–2018 listed Jonathan for arbitration and mediation, as well as litigation. He was identified as a leading lawyer by Who’s Who Legal: Litigation for 2017. The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2015 identified him as being among the world’s leading asset recovery lawyers. Practical Law Company PLC Which Lawyer? 2006–2012 endorsed Jonathan for his expertise in dispute resolution, restructuring and insolvency, and construction. Expert Guides: Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers 2009–2011 listed him among South Africa’s pre-eminent litigation lawyers in litigation and emerging markets.