Navigating the CCMA Award Review Essentials in South Africa

CCMA review criteria

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) is a statutory body in South Africa responsible for facilitating dispute resolution in various industries. The CCMA’s primary role is to mediate and arbitrate conflicts between employers and employees. Nevertheless, errors can occur during this process, underscoring the significance of understanding the essentials for reviewing CCMA awards.

A party can take an arbitration award or ruling on review for an alleged defect in the proceedings, award, or ruling.  An aggrieved party may seek recourse in the Labour Court under section 145 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) to challenge an award or ruling due to alleged defects.

Criteria for Identifying Defects in CCMA Arbitration Awards

  • the commissioner committed misconduct in relation to his or her duties;
  • the commissioner committed a gross irregularity in the conduct of the proceedings; or
  • the commissioner exceeded his or her powers; or
  • that an award has been improperly obtained.

The Role of Commissioner Misconduct in CCMA Award Challenges

One of the grounds for challenging a CCMA award is commissioner misconduct. This avenue for review applies when the commissioner behaves inappropriately or commits misconduct. Instances of misconduct may involve bias, a lack of impartiality, or failing to adequately consider the evidence presented by the parties.

Unveiling the Consequences of Procedural Irregularities in CCMA Arbitrations

Another basis for challenging a CCMA award is the presence of serious procedural irregularities in the proceedings. This ground for review applies when significant flaws in the arbitration process impact the award’s outcome. Examples of such irregularities encompass procedural violations, failure to consider relevant evidence and misapplication of the law.

Generally, serious procedural irregularities refer to substantial defects or deviations from proper arbitration conduct that significantly affect the rights of one or more parties. Instances might involve denying a party’s right to present their case, failing to disclose arbitrator conflicts of interest, or employing corrupt practices to influence the arbitration’s outcome.

When CCMA Commissioners Exceed Their Powers: What You Need to Know

Errors in law or fact constitute another basis for challenging a CCMA award. This ground for review is applicable when the commissioner commits a legal or factual mistake that influences the award’s outcome. Mistakes may involve misinterpreting the law, relying on irrelevant evidence, or failing to adequately assess pertinent evidence.

Understanding the Nuances of Improperly Secured CCMA Awards

An award is improperly obtained when the commissioner unduly assists one or another party with his/her case; delivers a biased award; takes a bribe; or by failure to apply his/her mind to the facts in evidence.

The CCMA review process adheres to the criteria outlined in the Labour Relations Act of 1995. Case law has further clarified the review standard and the grounds for overturning CCMA awards. Parties involved should grasp these criteria and comprehensively understand the CCMA dispute resolution procedure before opting to refer their disputes to the CCMA.

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