n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - Jurisdiction over employment disputes - light at the end of the tunnel?




Jurisdictional uncertainty, evidenced in a plethora of conflicting judicial decisions, has sabotaged the coherent development of labour law jurisprudence in recent years. Judicial attention has focused on the meaning and scope of ss 157(1) and (2) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA) and the extent of the civil courts' jurisdiction to regulate breaches of employment contracts, with little evidence of consensus. In many of these decisions the distinction between considerations of lawfulness and fairness was eroded and a parallel remedy for the resolution of labour disputes in the civil courts recognised - providing lamentable scope for forum shopping. This analysis aims to outline the judicial interpretations that contributed to this uncertainty and consider whether the recent decisions of the Constitutional Court in ((2010) 31 ILJ 296 (CC)) and the Supreme Court of Appeal in ((2010) 31 ILJ 529 (SCA)) finally provide some light at the end of a very long and winding tunnel.


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