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Appeals Process and Hearings

Appeals may be made to the Labour Court.

There are 5 stages:-

  1. Referral
  2. Arrange date of hearing
  3. Parties make written submissions
  4. Hearing
  5. Issue of Recommendation/Determination/Decision/Order
Stage 1: Referral

The appeal should be made within the prescribed time limits using the Labour Court Appeals Form. An acknowledgement will issue to the appellant and the other party will be advised that an appeal has been made.

Stage 2: Arrange date of hearing

The Programming Section of the Labour Court will allocate and communicate a suitable date and venue for a hearing to the parties to the appeal as soon as possible after date of referral.

The majority of cases are heard in Dublin, but the Labour Court also holds hearings at a number of venues throughout the country.

Stage 3: Submissions

The parties will then be required to supply the Labour Court with written submissions stating their positions in relation to the dispute. Guidelines on the preparation of submissions, and examples, are given below -

In respect of an employment rights case, the parties to an appeal must provide the Labour Court with four copies of their written submissions not later than 10 working days in advance of a hearing. A further copy must be exchanged with the other side. Confirmation that the submissions have been exchanged between the parties must be given to the Court.

In respect of an industrial relations case, the parties to an appeal must provide the Labour Court with six copies of their respective written submissions not later than 7 working days in advance of the date set for the hearing.

Within 3 weeks of the date on which a copy of this submission is sent to the respondent, they are required to file a replying submission. On receipt of submission from all parties the Court will fix the date and place for the hearing.

Stage 4: Hearing

Hearings of the Labour Court in employment rights cases will be conducted in public, unless the Labour Court, upon the application of a party to the appeal, determines that the proceedings should be conducted in private. Cases that are referred to the Court under the Industrial Relations Acts 1946 to 2015 will continue to be held in private.

Arrival of the parties - Parties should arrive in good time for the hearing and make their way to the reception desk of the building in which the hearing is to take place. The Court Secretary for the hearing will be in attendance at the reception area and will make him or herself known to the parties and will accompany them to the hearing room.

Lay-out of room for hearing - The hearing room is laid out as follows. The Court Chairman, flanked by the two Members, sits at the top of the room. Seats are provided on both sides of the room for the parties. A seat is provided for the Court Secretary in the centre of the room, in front of the Court Division and between the parties (where space does not permit this arrangement, the Court Secretary will sit to one side of the Court Division).

Signing In - The Court Secretary will indicate to the parties where they might sit and when seated will ask the parties to sign an attendance sheet. The Court Secretary will also give the parties the following:-

  1. a copy of the submission made by the other party
  2. a written notice containing the names of the Division of the Labour Court which is taking the particular hearing (i.e. the name of the Chairman of the Division, the Employers' Member and the Workers' Member) and the name of the Court Secretary.
  3. If there are witnesses giving evidence, the Court Secretary will swear in each witness.

Entrance of the Court - The Court Secretary will announce the entrance of the Chairman and Members of the Court. The parties should stand as the Court arrives.

Proceedings at the Hearing - The Court Secretary will announce the appeal, naming the parties.

Then both parties will stand, in turn, and read their submissions; the party which initiated the hearing goes first.

After both submissions have been read, questions can be put by either party, or by the Court, but all questions, by whomsoever asked, must be asked through the Chairman.

The hearing is brought to a conclusion by the Chairman. The Court then leaves the room. The parties should stand as the Court leaves.

Stage 5: Issue of Recommendation/ Determination/ Decision/ Order

After the hearing the Court will issue a written Recommendation/Determination/Decision as soon as is practical after the close of the hearing, usually within three weeks in industrial relations disputes and within six weeks in employment rights cases.

The Court's Decision in these cases may uphold the original decision of the Adjudication Officer, or vary it, or overturn it.

Parties are advised that determinations of the Labour Court are published on this website.

Section 71 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 enables the Minister, to provide by regulation, for the levying of fees and charges on the users of services to be provided by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) or the Labour Court.

The Minister introduced the Workplace Relations Act 2015 (Fees) Regulations 2015 with effect from 26 November 2015. These Regulations prescribe a “relevant service” for the purpose of Section 71 of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 as meaning any service provided by the Labour Court to an appellant, in relation to an appeal under Section 44 of the Act, by reason of the appellant’s failure or refusal, without reasonable excuse, to attend at the first instance hearing by an adjudication officer of the relevant complaint or dispute.

In effect, this means that in circumstances where a party who failed to appear at a first instance hearing of the WRC without good cause wishes to appeal the decision to the Labour Court, that party will have to pay a fee of €300 when lodging their appeal. If the Labour Court determines that the party in question had good cause for failing to attend the first instance hearing, the fee will be refunded.

Full details are available on the Labour Court website.