Case details

Mauritius Shipping Corporation Ltd (Appellant) v Employment Relations Tribunal and others (Respondents) (Mauritius)

Case ID: JCPC 2018/0052

Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court of Mauritius

Case summary

Issue(s)
  1. Whether the Supreme Court erred in its approach or findings in relation to compliance with the requirement to apply for judicial review promptly.
  2. Whether the Supreme Court was correct to conclude that the appellant’s case was in the nature of an appeal against the merits of the award made by the Employment Relations Tribunal ("the Tribunal").
  3. Whether the Supreme Court was correct to reject the case that the Tribunal acted in excess of jurisdiction, erred in law and/or acted irrationally in relying on the appellant’s status as a government-owned entity and/or its perception of government objectives and the appellant’s social responsibilities.
Facts

The appellant, a government-owned private limited company, employed each of the respondents other than the Tribunal ("the co-respondents"). In the years prior to 2015, it got into financial difficulties. After a complaint by the Marine Transport and Port Employees Union ("the Union") in January 2015, the Government of Mauritius agreed to fund the entire charter cost of a new vessel so long as the appellant carried out a restructuring exercise to achieve financial independence. From June 2015 onwards, there were several meetings and exchanges between the appellant and the Union. By November 2015, a restructuring plan approved by the appellant’s board was notified. Materially, this stated that the first co-respondent, Mr Dhanraj Kissoon (Chief Manager), as part of a total of about 30 employees, would be made redundant. The Union did not accept this proposal. Mr Kissoon’s employment was terminated on 16 November 2015 and that of the other co-respondents on 4 December 2015.

The Tribunal held that termination of the co-respondents’ employment was unjustified. It thus ordered the appellant to pay each co-respondent severance allowance pursuant to section 46(5) of the Act. The Supreme Court refused the appellant’s application for leave to apply for judicial review of the decision and award of the Tribunal. The appellant now appeals to the JCPC.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Mauritius Shipping Corporation Ltd

Respondent(s)
  1. Employment Relations Tribunal;
  2. Dhanraj Kissoon;
  3. Ravjansh Gupta Kumar Bachoo and nine others

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

15 Oct 2019

Hearing finish date

15 Oct 2019