The decision of the court was based upon the principles of expediency and timeliness which are essential features of arbitration. Because the setting aside application was filed outside of the timelines stipulated, the court had no choice but to deny the application. The court also calculated the time window stipulated under section 35 (3) from the time the arbitrator published the award and notified the parties because any other approach would lead to unnecessary delays from the parties in the actual collection of the award. In reassessing the terms of the award, the court also favored a pro-arbitration policy which made them hesitant to interfere with the arbitrator’s decision where it complied with the terms of the arbitration agreement and the Arbitration Act.
Section 35 (3) provides that an application to set aside an award may not be filed 3 months after the date of the receipt of the award. The date of receipt refers to the date on which the arbitrator notifies the parties that the award is ready for collection. However, the court may allow an exception for late filing of this application where the applicant shows that the delay in actual collection of the award to comprehend its contents was caused by the other party, or that the other party frustrated their efforts to collect the award.
This case also clarified that an arbitrator may issue general damages for breach of contract only if it is shown that the conduct of the liable party was oppressive, high handed, outrageous, insolent, or vindicative.
SUMMARY-MASON SERVICES LIMITED V SAFARICOM LIMITED