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How to make an Appeal / Referral

When should you make an appeal or seek a referral to the Labour Court?

If you are involved in a complaint or a dispute related to your workplace, whether you are an employer or an employee, the State provides, through the WRC and the Labour Court, dispute resolution mechanisms which may help you to resolve workplace issues.

If you have not previously been in contact with the WRC or the Labour Court in relation to the dispute, you should first contact the WRC. The WRC provides mediation, conciliation, facilitation and advisory services, adjudication on complaints and disputes, and inspects and monitors employment conditions to ensure the compliance and enforcement of employment rights legislation.

More information and contact details for the WRC are available at:

If you are

  • involved in an industrial relations or employment related dispute, and;
  • you have already sought support from any dispute resolution mechanisms available internally in your workplace, and;
  • you have received or sought intervention from the WRC, and;
  • your dispute remains unresolved

 you may make an appeal or seek a referral to the Labour Court for a decision or a recommendation to resolve your dispute.

Referral by the WRC following Conciliation

Where an industrial relations (normally collective) dispute generally concerning rates of pay and/or conditions of employment and involving workers/trade unions and their employers, has not been resolved using the conciliation services of the WRC, the WRC with the consent of both parties may refer the unresolved dispute to the Court under section 26(1) Industrial Relations Act 1990.

Direct Referral by Worker

A worker in a trade dispute, or a trade union on his/her behalf, may directly refer a case to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) Industrial Relations Act 1969, on condition that the worker agrees in advance to accept the Labour Court’s Recommendation.

This may happen, for example, where the worker initially referred the dispute to the WRC Adjudication Service but the employer did not agree to have the case heard by an Adjudication Officer.  In such a case the WRC will inform the worker that the employer has not agreed to attend an Adjudication Officer hearing and that a direct referral may be made to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.  Such referrals may be made using the relevant Section 20(1) complaint form.

Section 20 (1) Complaint Form

Where both the employer and worker agree to accept the Labour Court Recommendation, they should refer their case using the Section 20 (2) Form.

Section 20 (2) Referral Form

Both parties to a dispute must prepare a written submission of their positions in relation to the dispute before the hearing. These submissions will form the basis of the Court’s investigation of the dispute at the hearing so it is important that they be clear and comprehensive, yet concise. Examples of submissions are attached.

Referral of Appeals of an Adjudication Officer to the Court in Employment Rights Cases

An appeal of an Adjudications Officer’s decision under the various Employment Rights enactments must be made to the Labour Court using the Employment Rights Appeal Form.    Please see guidance notes here for further information on the use of this form.

An appeals of an Adjudication’s Officers Recommendation under s13(9) Industrial Relations Act 1969 may be made to the Labour Court using the Section 13(9) Appeal Form.   Please see guidance notes here for further information on the use of this form.

The Court hears appeals under all of the various employment law statutes where an individual worker complains of a breach of their statutory employment rights by their employer. Either or both parties may refer an appeal of an Adjudication Officer’s Decision in employment rights cases to the Labour Court. 

When the appeal form is received it will be date stamped and this is the date on which it will be deemed to have been received by the Labour Court. The appeal must be initiated by notice in writing delivered to the Court within 42-day from the date of the decision being appealed.

In accordance with the provisions of the Interpretation Act 2005, the date of the decision is day 1 of the 42-day period.

The purpose of the appeal is not to review the Adjudication Officer’s Decision but rather to make the case afresh to the Court. 

Where a case under the Industrial Relations Act involving an individual worker has been heard by an Adjudication Officer and a Recommendation has been issued, either party to the dispute may appeal the Recommendation to the Labour Court.

A party to an employment rights appeal may apply to the Labour Court to have the hearing, or part of the hearing, conducted in private due to the existence of special circumstances.

The Labour Court Rules 2020 set out inter alia the requirements regarding the making of an appeal. 

NOTE: Please ensure that the registered name of the employer is cited correctly in any referral to the Court.

NOTE - 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 WRC or the Labour Court. For further information on fees click here.