Rule 23 of the CCMA deals with postponements of arbitrations in the CCMA. Accordingly, an arbitration may be postponed either by written agreement between the parties, or by bringing an application for postponement and on notice to the parties. In the latter instance, the CCMA has a discretion to grant or refuse an application for postponement.
In Carefone (Pty) Ltd v Marcus NO & Others (1998) 19 ILJ 1425 (LAC), the court confirmed that the granting of a postponement application is not a right, but an indulgence granted. The court further stated that the granting of postponements in courts of law and arbitration proceedings are not on par. In this regard the court referred to section 138 (1) of LRA:
(1) arbitration proceedings must be structured to deal with the dispute fairly and quickly;
(2) the proceedings must be done with a minimum of legal formalities;
(3) the ability to make costs orders to counter prejudice in good faith postponements is severely restricted.
The court therefore did not deem it fit to interfere with the Commissioner’s discretion to refuse granting a postponement for the arbitration.
Author: Lelanie du Plessis