Attendance by Members of the Public at WRC Hearings
The WRC must now operate on the basis that all hearings, save where the investigation or hearing does not amount to the administration of justice, are to be open to the public – unless the Adjudication Officer determines that there are special circumstances to justify a departure from the principle of open justice.
The Workplace Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 which came into force on 29 July 2021 sets out the rules in this regard.
See here for further information - WRC Guidance on Workplace Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021
Employment and Equality Rights cases
In the ordinary course, members of the public, including members of the media, will be permitted to attend hearings under the various employment and equality rights statutes, subject to technical and/or physical capacity in the hearing room.
If the numbers wishing to attend is significant and has an impact on the quality of the IT connection, then Adjudication Officers may decide to limit the number of external participants and must in any event mute observers for the duration of the hearing.
Diary of Upcoming Hearings
A schedule of hearings will be published on the WRC website every Thursday showing hearings scheduled for the following week. In order to provide the parties with a meaningful opportunity to raise any objection to a public hearing and/or to seek an anonymised decision, in line with the new legislation at the outset of their hearing, the Schedule will simply contain the date, time, location and hearing reference number.
Industrial Relations Disputes
All WRC hearings convened under the Industrial Relations Act 1969, whether in a physical in-person hearing room or in a virtual hearing, are private sittings. Attendance is confined to the parties to the hearing, their representatives and other essential attendees. Members of the public, including members of the media, are therefore not permitted to attend hearings under the Industrial Relations Acts.
The addresses for the WRC Buildings can be found here.