This paper, while broadly located within reforming the labour market policy debate, is specifically focused on one aspect of the labour regulatory regime, namely the dispute resolution system. Hence, we attempt to understand the efficiency and effectiveness of the country’s institutionalised dispute resolution body, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). A better and more informed understanding of the nature of dispute resolution and its determinants, it would seem, remains central to any detailed debate regarding labour market institutions in particular and labour market regulation in general. Ultimately then, the study intends to empirically verify the patterns of dispute referral, settlement and determination regionally, sectorally and historically. It should be noted at the outset that this paper, possibly for the first time for South Africa, provides a detailed economic and econometric analysis and interpretation of dispute resolution in the post-apartheid period.