Speedy social justice: Streamlining the statutory dispute resolution processes

Authors Andre van Niekerk

ISSN: 2413-9874
Affiliations: Judge of the Labour Court
Source: Industrial Law Journal, Volume 36 Issue 2, 2015, p. 837 – 848


Speedy social justice is the fundamental value on which the statutory dispute resolution system is based. Systemic delays in the processing of labour disputes threaten to undermine statutory goals, especially in the Labour Court. The appointment of a Rules Board, the creation of additional courts in Johannesburg and the institution of case management will improve the adjudication process. The latter will require the transfer of the management of litigation from practitioners to judges. In the case of the CCMA, delays in the determination of disputes are primarily a function of the duplication of workplace processes. Disputes appear to be referred to a statutory mechanism routinely, regardless of the merits of the dispute. The CCMA’s rules (which do not require a claim to be articulated in any detail), the application of the onus of proof and the reluctance of commissioners to grant costs orders encourage this practice. Arbitration proceedings are unnecessarily protracted, and review procedures unnecessarily burdensome. The statutory imperative of speedy social justice requires an evaluation of the statutory dispute resolution system as an integrated whole, and a revision of policies and practices that serve to frustrate rather than facilitate the efficient, inexpensive and expeditious resolution of labour disputes.