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Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995)

Chapter VII : Dispute Resolution

Part D : Labour Court

158. Powers of Labour Court



(1) The Labour Court may—
(a) make any appropriate order, including—
(i) the grant of urgent interim relief;
(ii) an interdict;
(iii) an order directing the performance of any particular act which order, when implemented, will remedy a wrong and give effect to the primary objects of this Act;
(iv) a declaratory order;
(v) an award of compensation in any circumstances contemplated in this Act;
(vi) an award of damages in any circumstances contemplated in this Act; and
(vii) an order for costs;
(b) order compliance with any provision of this Act or any employment law;

[Paragraph (1)(b) substituted by section 26(a) of Act No. 6 of 2014]

(c) make any arbitration award or any settlement agreement an order of the Court;
(d) request the Commission to conduct an investigation to assist the Court and to submit a report to the Court;
(e) determine a dispute between a registered trade union or registered employers' organisation, and any one of the members or applicants for membership thereof about any alleged non-compliance with—
(i) the constitution of that trade union or employers' organisation (as the case may be); or
(f) subject to the provisions of this Act, condone the late filing of any document with, or the late referral of any dispute to, the Court;
(g) subject to section 145, review the performance or purported performance of any function provided for in this Act on any grounds that are permissible in law;
(h) review any decision taken or any act performed by the State in its capacity as employer, on such grounds as are permissible in law;
(i) hear and determine any appeal in terms of section 35 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993); and
(j) deal with all matters necessary or incidental to performing its functions in terms of this Act or any other law.


(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), a settlement agreement is a written agreement in settlement of a dispute that a party has the right to refer to arbitration or to the Labour Court, excluding a dispute that a party is only entitled to refer to arbitration in terms of section 22(4), 74 (4) or 75(7).


(1B) The Labour Court may not review any decision or ruling made during conciliation or arbitration proceedings conducted under the auspices of the Commission or any bargaining council in terms of the provisions of this Act before the issue in dispute has been finally determined by the Commission or the bargaining council, as the case may be, except if the Labour Court is of the opinion that it is just and equitable to review the decision or ruling made before the issue in dispute has been finally determined.

[Subsection (1B) inserted by section 26(b) of Act No. 6 of 2014]


(2) If at any stage after a dispute has been referred to the Labour Court, it becomes apparent that the dispute ought to have been referred to arbitration, the Court may—
(a) stay the proceedings and refer the dispute to arbitration; or
(b) if it is expedient to do so, continue with the proceedings, in which case the Court may only make any order that a commissioner or arbitrator would have been entitled to make: Provided that in relation to the question of costs, the provisions of section 162(2)(a) are applicable.

[Paragraph (2)(b) substituted by section 26(c) of Act No. 6 of 2014]


(3) The reference to "arbitration" in subsection (2) must be interpreted to include arbitration—
(a) under the auspices of the Commission;
(b) under the auspices of an accredited council;
(c) under the auspices of an accredited agency;
(d) in accordance with a private dispute resolution procedure; or
(e) if the dispute is about the interpretation or application of a collective agreement.


(a) The Labour Court, on its own accord or, at the request of any party to the proceedings before it may reserve for the decision of the Labour Appeal Court any question of law that arises in those proceedings.
(b) A question may be reserved only if it is decisive for the proper adjudication of the dispute;
(c) Pending the decision of the Labour Appeal Court on any question of law reserved in terms of paragraph (a), the Labour Court may make any interim order.


(5) A judgment of the Labour Court must be handed down as soon as reasonably possible.

[Section (5) inserted by section 26(d) of Act No. 6 of 2014]