Legal Market Trends in South Africa
The Chambers Global Team provide a legal market overview in the South African legal market, with data and insights discovered during research into the Chambers Global 2023 Guide.
Big focus on ESG in South Africa
Firstly, there has been a greater focus on corporate responsibility, environmental, social and governance (ESG) has been one of the drivers not only in M&A and financings, where clients now have a closer look at their own processes and the implementation of ESG practices, but also quite specifically in the mining industry.
Following on the global trend, corporations and investment companies are now looking more closely at sustainability initiatives and the ESG’s integration into corporate decision-making processes. We also hear more and more about the greater scrutiny from stakeholders and shareholder activism. In the financial space, we would also see an uptick in sustainable development financings and sustainability linked credit facilities. The regulatory landscape is too evolving and various institutions in South Africa are issuing guidance and frameworks for companies on best ESG practices.
And of course, the ESG trend is coming up as a driver in other countries in Africa as well, and we would see that being mentioned by clients and lawyers alike in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria just to name a few.
Increase in data protection and cybersecurity in South Africa
Secondly, cybersecurity has been mentioned quite a lot last year as there is an increased regulation in this area. Businesses in South Africa have to comply with the new regulations and there has also been an increase in litigations relating to data protection and cybersecurity. And more broadly, lawyers have mentioned IT developments and transformations of businesses into digital platforms across Africa, as well as an expansion in this area overall.
I also wanted to mention one more trend that has emerged. In the insurance sector, there has been quite a lot of activity recently in relation to business interruption claims following from Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 unrest and riots as well as the 2022 flooding.