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LAT has the final say – Mr Paul B. Dennis, QC

Chairman of the newly established Labour Arbitration Tribunal (LAT) Mr Paul B. Dennis, QC, says the buck stops with LAT. Photo: VINO
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering there are plans afoot to have an education drive to ensure persons of all levels are educated acknowledging that there are growing pains. Photo: VINO
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering there are plans afoot to have an education drive to ensure persons of all levels are educated acknowledging that there are growing pains. Photo: VINO
Reporters and GIS officers at LAT’s launch on Tuesday November 11, 2014. Photo: VINO
Reporters and GIS officers at LAT’s launch on Tuesday November 11, 2014. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “You are correct that under the Labour Code the decisions of the Arbitration Tribunal are final,” acknowledged Chairman of newly formed Labour Arbitration Tribunal (LAT) Mr Paul B. Dennis, QC as he responded to questions from reporters on Tuesday November 11, 2014.

He noted however that there is one caveat or caution to this. “There is allowed under that same provision, an appeal from a decision of the Tribunal to the High Court on matters of law only,” he further stated.

According to Mr Dennis what that means is that once the Tribunal has heard a case its adjudication and decision on matters of fact are binding on the parties. “No one, no court is allowed to look behind that,” he explained.

If however in coming to its decision the Tribunal applies the appropriate law applicable to that case incorrectly which then results in an incorrect conclusion or decision then an aggrieved party may appeal to the High Court on that point of law and the High Court then has the jurisdiction to either affirm the decision or to overturn the decision if indeed it finds an error has been committed.

Asked how does the Tribunal ensure that its orders are complied with Mr Dennis said that the Labour Code also provides that the decisions of the Tribunal have equal weight and status as a decision of the High Court.

“And what that means is that the foundation is laid for such orders or decisions to be enforced through the same mechanism which would be used to enforce a High Court order. So that that is the safeguard so that although it is not a court in the strict sense it is nonetheless an adjudicative body as an arbitration tribunal,” Mr Dennis explained.

He said that in order to give its orders and decisions teeth the crafting of the legislation have made sure through that provision that it can be enforced the same mechanism which would ordinarily be available to enforce any regular court order.

On the other hand unlike the High Court which can charge a person for contempt, there is no specific provisions in the labour code addressing the issue of contempt, “And so I’ll be reluctant to say, to answer in the affirmative, however to the extent that the code does give the decisions of the Tribunal the same status as the decisions of the High Court, I would not at this moment think that there would be anything to  preclude appropriate proceedings being taken to make sure that orders of the tribunal are not flouted…. And I could dare say it could very well include proceedings for contempt although I wouldn’t be prepared to make a definitive statement on that issue without looking at it a little closer,” said Mr Dennis.

He said that the public can be confident that the decisions of the Tribunal have weight and that there are mechanisms in place to ensure that they are adhered to.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering there are plans afoot to have an education drive to ensure persons of all levels are educated acknowledging that there are growing pains.

“Like any new things there are growing pains and it would be incumbent upon the government through its information service to ensure that the public is properly informed and educated on what this is about, what it means and how it should function,” said Hon Pickering.

6 Responses to “LAT has the final say – Mr Paul B. Dennis, QC”

  • ndp hater (13/11/2014, 08:46) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    You aint know what you're saying boss...Not over kedrick's dead body.
  • We all know (13/11/2014, 09:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    that the buck stops with fidel.
  • asura (13/11/2014, 09:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Keep off doc he is a good man
  • star black (13/11/2014, 10:23) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    I hope someone took a look at the new arbitration law to ensure that what is being stated here can and will work for the working class in the Virgin Islands.
  • JACK BE STILL (13/11/2014, 15:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The labour dept is weak
  • Plank (14/11/2014, 07:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pension----employees pension---very-- important--- needs to be enforced. find away to make these stubborn and heartless companies comply. whatever little they can offer it needs to happen (its a human rights issue). Make it happen. Please. Thanks in advance.


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