Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
69. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will liaise with the Minister for Justice and ensure free legal representation for workers in labour disputes with their employers at the WRC and Labour Court given that such services are currently unavailable in both fora and resulting in inherently-disadvantaged lay-litigant status of workers due to their lack of ability to pay professional legal fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30159/21]
Legal Aid policy is a policy matter solely for my colleague, the Minister for Justice. I understand that legal aid is not currently available for employment rights disputes.
The employment rights enforcement frameworks have been designed to deliver a fair, simple, cost effective and user-friendly service for employers and employees in the State. Parties availing of the adjudication services of the WRC are not subject to cost orders and proceedings are designed to be inclusive of lay litigants.
However, in accordance with section 40 of The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, there are circumstances in which the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) can give legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring or has, a matter before the Workplace Relations Commission or the Courts.