Acts 6/1996, 14/2002; S.1. 208/1996, 262/2006.
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title.
3. Law applicable to arbitrations.
4. What may be arbitrated.
5. Application of Act to arbitration under other enactments.
6. Repealed Act and transitional provisions.
AN ACT to give effect to domestic and international arbitration agreements; to apply, with
modifications, the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United
Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the 21st June, 1985, thereby giving effect to the
Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards adopted in New York on
the 10th June, 1958; to repeal the Arbitration Act [Chapter 7:02]; to amend the High Court Act
[Chapter 7:06], and section 6 of the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act [Chapter 8:10]; and to provide for
matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.
[Date of commencement: 13th September, 1996.]
1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Arbitration Act [Chapter 7:15].
(1) In this Act—
“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the
President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;
“Model Law” means the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United Nations
Commission on International Trade Law on the 21st June, 1985, which is set out, with modifications, in
(2) Any expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Model Law shall bear the same meaning
when used in this Act.
(3) The material to which an arbitral tribunal or a court may refer in interpreting this Act includes the
documents relating to the Model Law and originating from the United Nations Commission on International Trade
Law, or its working group for the preparation of the Model Law, that is to say the travaux préparatoires to the
Model Law, and, in interpreting the Model Law, regard shall be had to its international origin and to the
desirability of achieving international uniformity in its interpretation and application.
3 Law applicable to arbitrations
(1) Subject to sections four and five, where the place of an arbitration is in Zimbabwe, this Act and the Model
Law, as modified by this Act, shall apply to the arbitration.
(2) Subject to sections four and five, where the place of an arbitration is not in Zimbabwe, articles 8, 9, 35
and 36 of the Model Law, as modified by this Act, shall apply to the arbitration.
4 What may be arbitrated
(1) Subject to this section, any dispute which the parties have agreed to submit to arbitration may be
determined by arbitration.
(2) The following matters shall not be capable of determination by arbitration—
(a) an agreement that is contrary to public policy; or
(b) a dispute which, in terms of any law, may not be determined by arbitration; or
(c) a criminal case; or
(d) a matrimonial cause or a matter relating to status, unless the High Court gives leave for it to be
determined by arbitration; or
(e) a matter affecting the interests of a minor or an individual under a legal disability, unless the High Court
gives leave for it to be determined by arbitration; or
(f) a matter concerning a consumer contract as defined in the Consumer Contracts Act [Chapter 8:03],
unless the consumer has by separate agreement agreed thereto.
(3) The fact that an enactment confers jurisdiction on a court or other tribunal to determine any matter shall
not, on that ground alone, be construed as preventing the matter from being determined by arbitration.
5 Application of Act to arbitration under other enactments
(1) Subject to subsection (2), where an enactment requires any matter to be determined by an arbitrator or by
arbitration in accordance with any law relating to arbitration, such requirement shall be deemed to be an
arbitration agreement for the purposes of this Act.
(2) Where an enactment provides for the determination of any matter by arbitration, the provisions of that
enactment, to the extent that they are inconsistent with this Act, shall prevail.
6 Repealed Act and transitional provisions
(1) Subject to this section, the Arbitration Act [Chapter 7:02] is repealed.
(2) This Act shall apply to every arbitration agreement, whether made before, on or after the 13th September,
1996, and any reference in any such agreement to the Arbitration Act [Chapter 7:02] shall be construed as a
reference to this Act:
Provided that, where arbitral proceedings were commenced in terms of the Arbitration Act [Chapter 7:02],
they may be continued and completed in terms of that Act which shall, for such purpose, be deemed to continue in
(3) For the purposes of this section, arbitral proceedings shall be deemed to have commenced on the date the
parties have agreed they commenced or, failing such agreement, on the date of receipt by the respondent of a
request for the dispute to be referred to arbitration.
(4) This Act shall apply to every arbitral award whether made before, on or after the 13th September, 1996.