According to a report by Karl Gernetsky in BDlive today published by Business Day there was an immediate twist when proceedings started yesterday.

“THE first day of the Free Market Foundation’s legal battle over the constitutionality of collective bargaining provisions got under way on Monday with an immediate twist.  Judge John Murphy asked the parties in the case to consider whether a court pronouncement on the applicability of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act to collective agreements could be more suitable relief than a judgment on the Labour Relations Act’s constitutionality”.

. . . . .

“Judge Murphy brought a surprise element to the case when he referred to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, under which collective bargaining agreements could be taken on judicial review as an administrative act on the grounds of procedural fairness, lawfulness and reasonableness.  This could potentially open up new channels through which bargaining agreements could be challenged, including legal grounds or public inquiries.  Advocate Martin Brassey SC, for the foundation, accepted the judge’s perspective, but said it would not abandon its original relief.  The foundation wants the wording of the Labour Relations Act changed to ensure that the labour minister “may” extend agreements struck in councils, as opposed to “must” as is legislated.  The respondents maintained that the Labour Relations Act was constitutional and a stabilising mechanism in the labour market, while findings in favour of the Foundation “would open the floodgates” of litigation”.

See the full report: Constitutionality of collective bargaining argued in high court