The criminal jurisdiction of the Seychelles Employment Tribunal
Author: Jamil Ddamulira Mujuzi
Affiliations: LLB (Makerere) LLM (UP) LLM (UFS) LLD (UWC), Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 35 Issue 2, p. 198 – 221
The Seychellois Employment Tribunal was established under s 73A of the Employment Act (the Act). Section 6(3)(1) of Schedule 6 to the Act provides that ‘the Tribunal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine employment and labour related matters’. Under the Act, employment and labour matters can be divided into two categories: civil and criminal. Section 76 of the Act provides for employment and labour-related offences. The Tribunal started operation in November 2008. Between 3 December 2008 (when the Tribunal handed down its first decision) and 1 December 2021 (when the research for this article was conducted) the Tribunal received 2,478 civil cases and 172 criminal cases. The author studied the criminal cases/files and on the basis of that study. The aim of the study is to illustrate how the Tribunal has interpreted and/or applied s 76 of the Act when dealing with the following issues: the offences under the Act; the prosecution of the offences under the Act; the right to a fair trial; the burden(s) of proof under s 76 of Act; the prosecution of legal persons/companies before the Tribunal; and penalty and sentencing issues. The author argues, inter alia, that the Tribunal should respect the principle of corporate legal personality when dealing with juristic persons accused of committing offences; the reverse onus under s 76(3) of the Act is not unconstitutional; during sentencing, the Tribunal should clearly distinguish between mitigating factors that are applicable to juristic persons and those applicable to natural persons; and that the Attorney-General does not need the consent of the competent officer before he/she can institute a prosecution before the Tribunal.