Three judges of Zamibia’s highest court have at last brought some sense to a much-disputed section in the Industrial and Labour Relations Act. It reads, ‘The court shall dispose of the matter within a period of one year from the day on which the complaint or application is presented’, and it was introduced via an amendment to the legislation about 15 years ago. But what should happen where a matter drags on beyond the year stipulated in the law?
The problem with which Zambia’s lower courts – the high court and the appeal court – have been wrestling, is what should be done where a case involving a labour relations issue takes longer than a year to be finalised? The law clearly states that matters dealt with by the industrial relations court must be finalised within a year of filing, but it says nothing about what will happen if the matter takes longer than this to be completed.