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Update on WRC and Labour Court Hearings

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in both the WRC and Labour Court (“LC”) having to adapt the way in which they conduct hearings and have made significant efforts to try to curb the inevitable backlog that would result from being unable to hold face-to-face hearings.

Both the WRC and LC have tried to deal with cases by way of written submission only in cases where it was appropriate to do so, i.e. claims that do not require witnesses. The WRC has also conducted a number of trial virtual hearings involving stakeholders since 20th May 2020. These trials were positively received and the WRC is confident that the Webex platform will enable remote hearings to be conducted which they are hoping to commence from 13th July 2020.  However, remote hearings will only occur if both parties consent to it.

Face-to-face hearings are due to commence on 20th July 2020. However, there may be delays in certain cases going ahead where witnesses are either travelling from abroad or have a health concern in respect of attending a physical hearing.  

As of the 23rd June 2020, there are 3590 cases awaiting a hearing date in the WRC. The Labour Court do not have an accurate figure of cases awaiting a hearing date as they are currently unable to process postal appeals as staff continue to work remotely.

Both employers and employees should expect significant delays in the scheduling of these cases over the coming months as both the WRC and LC work through the backlog in such restricted circumstances. However, it should be noted that cases that are part-heard and/or received a hearing date before the lockdown, will be prioritised.  

28th June 2020

Author – Anne O’Connell

Anne O’Connell Solicitors

Fitzwilliam Hall

Fitzwilliam Place

Dublin 2

www.aocsolicitors.ie

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