Latest Directive in respect of access to the Labour Court
Author: Hedda Schensema – Director
We have now received the latest Directive in respect of access to the Labour Court. This Directive which was issued on 28 April 2020 will be applicable from 4 May 2020. The Directive will remain in effect until the end of Term 2 and will include the July recess, which ends on 26 July 2020.
Motion Proceedings shall not, except where directed otherwise by the Judge seized with the matter, enjoy an oral hearing in open Court.
Oral hearings may be dealt with by video conferencing where Parties make representations to demonstrate why oral argument is indispensable to the proper adjudication of the matter. These matters will be heard in accordance with ad hoc directives issued by the Judge which are appropriate to the circumstances.
Parties are now encouraged to determine whether or not the matter can be disposed of without oral argument. If agreed, additional submissions may be filed.
If no agreement can be reached, this must be communicated by way of a Practice Note to the Registrar. If oral argument is sought, reasons for this must be provided, and the Judge will then determine if a hearing is necessary.
A hearing may be in the following form:
A physical court hearing; or
Any other procedure or technique that may afford the elimination or limitation of the risk of physical proximity
All trials set down during this period (4 May to end of recess) will remain enrolled.
The Parties will be required to submit a joint Practice Note, which note will require additional information such as:
What arrangements have been made to facilitate a teleconference;
What evidence can be adduced by way of affidavit; and
To what extent a physical hearing is unavoidable.
The Judge will then communicate the manner in which the trial will be dealt with, which may include:
Admission of evidence remotely using video conferencing techniques;
A physical court hearing;
Admitting evidence by way of affidavit; and
Any other procedure that may afford an elimination or limitation of the risk of physical proximity.
Litigants in person
In those cases where a Party is unrepresented:
In opposed matters, it is the duty of a legal representative who may be involved for a party to contact the unrepresented party and ask the party to contact the relevant Registrar who can then explain the processes set out herein.
If such litigant’s contact details are known, the Registrar/Secretary of the Judge to whom the matter is allocated, shall endeavour to make contact to communicate the relevant information. Where such litigant has personal access to teleconferencing facilities, the necessary link may be set up accordingly, if the Judge so directs.
Given the impact of COVID-19, the Directive from the Labour Court attempts to reduce the backlog of pending matters and prejudice to the parties and further attempts to ensure that our Court system continues to function under these difficult conditions.
We will make contact with you shortly in relation to your matters.
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