Remote Hearings before the WRC
In a welcome turn of events, Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) hearings and appeal hearings can now be conducted remotely. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Leo Varadkar, signed into law a Statutory Instrument which will allow for remote hearings of “designated bodies” to take place remotely where it is appropriate to do so having regard to the nature of the hearing to be conducted and the need for efficiency.
Covid-19 has proved very challenging for the WRC which was already experiencing significant delays prior to the pandemic. Over the last few months many hearings were cancelled or postponed during the initial lockdown and further cancellations and postponements were announced last week in light of the recent restrictions. This inability to hear matters remotely was in contrast to their legislative counterparts who have been in a position to take full advantage of technology to keep matters progressing.
The changes, which are due to take effect from the 24th September 2020, will undoubtedly be welcomed, however the already significant backlog will take some time to clear.