Submitted by The Coalition of Private Sector Organisations
The proposed provisions in this Clause states that an Appeal shall lie within twenty-one days from the giving or making of the judgment or order on any ground of appeal which involves “a point of law alone, but not upon any question of fact, nor of mixed fact and law; provided that no such appeal shall be heard by The Court Of Appeal unless a Justice of The Court Of Appeal shall certify that the point of law is one of general public importance”. No guidance is given as to whether the application to the single Judge of The Court Of Appeal should take place as a question of leave to appeal and before the filing of the Appeal or whether it is to take place subsequent to filing. This uncertainty should be addressed.
This Clause creates a severe retraction or reduction of the former right of appeal which we find to be highly objectionable. This provision will only have one real effect and that is to reduce the number of appeals from decisions of the Tribunal. Furthermore, the time limits are not adequate to allow sufficient time for the attorney to meet with their Client, review documents, and then prepare often very complicated documents of appeal.
We also note that the Court Of Appeal does not appear to have the power to order costs and the unfair result would be that while a Tribunal may order costs to be paid by an employer for the trial, it does not appear to be within the power of The Court of Appeal to allow a successful employer on appeal to be reimbursed for his expenses for the trial. This is most unfair; the same rule should apply to both and so we would suggest that costs in The Court Of Appeal be granted as well.
This Clause grants to Tribunals the power to punish for contempt of the Tribunal. Little in the way of detail as to how the contempt procedure will work is mentioned in the Bill and this is a deficiency which ought to be remedied before this Bill becomes law.
The punishments which are open to a Tribunal are somewhat vague except that the Tribunal is allowed to impose fines for failure to comply with its orders or awards but no consideration seems to be given for failure to obey a judgment or award on appeal. This ought to be corrected before this Bill is tabled in the House.
Clause 18 and 19
There is a failure in the Bill to provide for an extension of time under which a dispute is to be resolved whereby the parties agree to extend the usual period of time of sixteen days.
There is an omission in this subclause which needs to be dealt with. In the penultimate line of the subclause the amount of the fine which is to be levied on a trade union or officer who acts in contravention is blank and needs to be provided. We would suggest that it should be equal to that which is levied on employers i.e. $50,000 plus $1,000 per day for each day that the contravention continues.
This Clause appears to be in direct conflict with a previous Clause in the Trade Union And Labour Relations Bill. That Bill provided that inducement of a breach of contract or interference with a contract was actionable.
We are not quite sure from the wording in this Bill just what it is that the drafters of this Bill hope to achieve and how it co-exists with the provisions of the other Bill and so it is incumbent upon those in Government who drafted this document to give us an explanation, otherwise the whole of this item should be taken out.