The Labour Court is an independent statutory office under the aegis of my Department. The Court was established under the Industrial Relations Act, 1946, to exercise the functions assigned to it by the Act. The functions of the Court have been altered and extended by subsequent legislation, including the Workplace Relations Act 2015 which provided that the Labour Court is now the sole appellate body in disputes under employment rights legislation.
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to support and adequately resource the Labour Court to allow it to fulfil its mandate.
As part of the reform of the workplace relations bodies in 2015, and in anticipation of an increased workload, the Labour Court was expanded to include an additional Division to bring the composition of the Court to four Divisions. Each Division of the Court comprises a Chair or Deputy Chair and two ordinary members.
Apart from the appointment of an additional division of the Court in 2015, the Court has not, in general, in the period since 1 January 2016 made requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise. An exception to this relates to the temporary appointment of an Ordinary Member to the Court for a three-month period in August 2017 to cover for an existing member of the Court who was at that time unable to perform the required functions.
In addition, in terms of expertise, due to the longer than anticipated period involved in the recruitment and appointment of a Registrar to the Court, the Court tendered for specialist legal expertise to cover the period leading up to the appointment of a new Registrar in March 2018.