New Labour Court rules publishedTuesday, 05 May 2020
On 30 March 2020, the Labour Court Rules 2020 (the “Rules”) came into effect, revoking and replacing the Labour Court Rules 2019.
In light of the current Covid-19 situation it is particularly timely that the 2020 Rules note the Court is continuing to engage in a digitisation programme which, when completed, will allow the Court to receive submissions electronically. The Rules also provide that, in addition to decisions, “…notification of hearings will be published on the Court’s website”. It is not yet clear what level of detail will be published.
The main changes are summarised below, and will be of particular interest to practitioners and parties to proceedings in the Labour Court.
Clarifications around electronic filing/serving
The Rules clarify that:
- For employment rights appeals, the notice of appeal may be submitted by email up to midnight on the 42nd day from the date of the Adjudication Officer’s Decision under appeal (the date of the Decision counting as day 1). The date and time of receipt is automatically recorded on the Court’s email system.
- Appeals may still be submitted by post and, in such cases, the date of receipt will be recorded by the Court “during the ordinary course of business” using a date stamp manually applied on the day the appeal is received. This indicates an appeal delivered after business hours shall be recorded as having been received the following day.
- Any notice or document required to be served or sent by the Rules may be served or sent electronically, where the recipient has given his or her consent in writing to this.
The 2020 Rules refer to updated forms by which an Appellant may submit a notice of appeal. Those forms can be accessed by clicking here.
In addition to sending the Respondent a copy of the notice of appeal, the Rules confirm that the Court shall also send the Respondent “any correspondence relating to the notice of appeal between the Appellant and the Court”.
Changes to procedure for written submissions
- Four copies (as opposed to five copies) of written submissions must be furnished to the Court by the party concerned (with a further copy being sent directly to the Appellant/Respondent). The Rules note that once the digitisation programme is complete, then one electronic copy or four hard copies of submissions will be required.
- The Rules formalise the procedure for late filing of submissions providing that the Chairman, at his or her discretion, may extend the time for filing submissions on application to the Court where he or she considers it reasonable to do so. Under the 2019 Rules, the Court could extend the time for filing submissions in “exceptional circumstances”. An application to extend the time for filing submissions should be addressed to the Chairman in writing before the expiry of the three week deadline for filing submissions and should set out the reasons for the delay.
Other changes to note
- The process for witness summons under Section 21 of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 and appeal of Compliance Notices have also been clarified. To access the 2020 Rules, please click here.