Leading lawyer hits out at WRC’s ‘third-world service’ and data based on ‘pure fiction’



Richard Grogan
Richard Grogan

A leading employment lawyer has lashed out at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), describing it as “worse than a third-world service” and calling its latest annual report a “pure fiction”.

Richard Grogan, who practises in Dublin, told Irish Legal News that the report’s headline figure that 92 per cent of adjudication complaints are finalised within six months has no basis in reality.

The figure is qualified in the annual report for 2017 as referring only to complaints “where no requests for postponements are received and relevant submissions are received in a timely manner”.

Mr Grogan said: “Our experience is that no case is being dealt with within six months. We have not one single case that we have dealt with in the last 12 months that has been finalised within six months.”

He said it was typical not to receive a submission until the hearing date, and that the WRC makes “no effort” to get submissions in advance.

He told ILN: “In the Labour Court, if you don’t put in a submission, you get a phone call. You don’t even get a letter from the WRC other than an acknowledgement letter, there’s no follow-up at all.

“You arrive for hearings and you find a huge submission with documentation including case law, and then the case has to be adjourned. You’re not going to get a new date for maybe four months.”

“In my view, the delays in the WRC are so bad that the system is cracking.”

Mr Grogan described the WRC’s rules as a “pure fiction are not applied”, compared to the rules in the Labour Court.

He also criticised the fact that “not one single representative has ever been criticised in a decision for not putting in a submission in advance”.

In a sharp rebuke to the WRC, he concluded: “In my view, the delays in the WRC are so bad that the system is cracking. The problem in the WRC is that they have been less than honest in setting out that they are so badly under-resourced that there is no way that they can achieve a world class service.

“In my opinion, we don’t have a world class service in the WRC, we have something that is worse than a third-world service.”

Irish Legal News has contacted the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) for comment.