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Appeals Process and Hearings

Hearing Process & Outcome

Once an appeal/referral is ready for scheduling, both parties will be advised in writing of a hearing date.

Labour Court hearings take place in Dublin, Lansdowne House and at a number of venues around the country. 

If an interpreter or other support is required, this request should be stated on the form when submitting the appeal. If you are not the appellant, this request should be put in writing to

Depending on the complexity a case may be scheduled anywhere from 90 minutes to a full day (or longer)

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. 

Conduct of the Hearing (Click to expand)

The conduct of the hearing will be regulated by the Chairman of the Division of the Court hearing the case.  A Division is made up of the Chairman or a Deputy Chairman, an Employers' Member and a Workers' Member

A Court Secretary attends the hearing to support the members of the Division in an administrative capacity. 

A party to the case may be represented by: -

  • - A Trade Union Representative,
  • - A Representative of an Employers Organisation,
  • - Solicitor or Counsel,
With the consent of the Court, any other person of their choosing.

Court Proceedings on the Day of the Hearing (Click to expand)

Parties should arrive at the hearing venue at least 15 minutes before the hearing commences. The Court Secretary will be available on arrival to explain the formalities and protocol and for the parties to sign in before the hearing begins.

The Court Secretary will supply the names of the Court members prior to the start of the hearing. During the hearing the Chair of the Court may be addressed as “Chairman” or “Madam Chairman” and the members of the Court as Mr X or Ms X.

Once the division is ready to proceed:

  • The Court Secretary shall announce the case and the parties will stand when the Court enters and leaves the Court.
  • Except in such cases as the Court considers it convenient to take the written submissions as read, each party will read their submission in turn and will then be invited to comment on the other party’s submission. This should not be taken as a further opportunity to re-state their case; rather it is simply an opportunity to comment on the opposing submission.
  • To fully understand the case being presented, the Court will then proceed to ask questions of both parties.*

*The Court members are not advocates for either side. However, in an appeal made under an employment rights enactment, where one party is not represented by legal counsel or otherwise, the Court may provide some assistance during the course of the hearing. Any such assistance will be provided within the limits of the Court’s obligations to conduct a fair hearing.

NOTE: the Court does not make a record of the hearing available to the parties.  With the permission of the Court, in employment rights cases only, parties may arrange to have a stenographer present at a hearing, at their own expense. The Court and the opposing party should be advised in advance of such arrangements. The Court will not require a copy of the Stenographer’s report.

Witnesses and Examination under Oath (Click to expand)

In employment rights cases, the Court may take sworn evidence. Witnesses will be required to swear an oath or make an affirmation before the commencement of the hearing.

Attendance of witnesses is the responsibility of the party calling the witness. The Court may decide that it is not necessary to hear from all witnesses identified by the parties. In limited circumstances, the Court may compel a witness to attend by issuing a formal witness summons.

Witnesses are first questioned by their own side, and then cross examined by the other side; members of the Court may also ask questions of the witnesses.

Court issues its Recommendation/Determination/Decision (click to expand)

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.

Employment rights Determinations are appealable on a point of law only to the High Court and may be subject to judicial review.

The Labour Court cannot award legal costs.

Further information can be found in the following documents:

Labour Court Users Guide 2022

Labour Court Rules 2022