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Labour Court


South African Labour Courts adjudicate matters relating to labour disputes and labour matters (i.e. disputes arising from the relationship between employer, employee and trade union.) They have the same status as a high court in this regard. 

Originally established by the Labour Relations Act, 1995, which deals with collective bargaining. trade unions, strikes and lockouts, unfair dismissal and unfair labour practices; the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997, which deals with working hours, leave and remuneration; the Employment Equity Act, 1998, which deals with discrimination and affirmative action; and the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001.

Judgements of the Labour Court can be appealed to the Labour Appeal Court or the Supreme Court of Appeals which in turn can be appealed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa.


There are four labour court seats in South Africa. These are:

The easiest way to  find the exact location of a labour court is to search online for “nearest labour Court”


Labour Court

The Labour Court can also act as an appeal court for some CCMA matters (a sort of labour appeal court). Although a certified CCMA award is akin to a Labour Court Award, up to review (i.e. to challenge a CCMA ruling). 

CCMA awards are final and binding and cannot be appealed against, although there are two exceptions. 

Section 24 (7) of the LRA: a arbitration awards about interpretation of agency shop agreements,

Section 10 (8) of the Employment Equity Act: arbitration awards arising from unfair discrimination on grounds of sexual harassment or any discrimination dispute where the employee is  deemed to have earn below the minimum amount stipulated in section 3 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. 


CCMA awards are subject to review by the Labour Court. This means that a aggrieved party may approach the labour Court in terms of section 145 of the LRA it challenge a decision made by a commissioner (i.e. have it set aside on the basis of an alleged defect of that award).

If you wish to challenge a CCMA award (i.e. to ask the labour Court to review a CCMA decision) you must lodge the review application within six weeks of an award being served.

There must also be a ‘defect’ with the award. In this case, a defect means:


  • that the commissioner had committed misconduct in performance or relation to the duties of the commissioner as an arbitrator;
  • that the commissioner had committed a (or several) gross irregularities in the conduct of the arbitration proceedings  
  • that the commissioner exceeded his powers; and 
  • that the award was improperly obtained. 

How to open up a Labour Court Case

Review Applications

CCMA vs Labour Court

Financial Security and placing of bonds



Labour Court

The cost of a labour court case can be very high, unlike the CCMA, in which applicants can often run  a case almost for free. 

These costs largely stem from having to hire a(or several) labour lawyer(s) (to compile the heads of argument and other legal documents  required to open a labour court case). However, there can be significantly more upfront costs for challenging a CCMA decision. This is often termed a ‘Labour Court Bond’ or ‘labour Court Security Deposit’. It’s purpose is to discourage review applications that have little prospects of success.  

Sadly, many employers launch review applications of  arbitration awards merely to obstruct or delay the compliance with an arbitration award, even if the review application had little merit or chance of success.  

Section 145 of the LRA states that the institution of review proceedings does not suspend the operation of an arbitration award unless the applicant furnishes security to the satisfaction of the court.  

This is usually calculated as a being an pecuniary amount equivalent to the compensation awarded or 24 months’ remuneration in the case of an award for reinstatement or re-employment. 


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Frequently Asked Questions

After the employer has had a chance, it will be your turn. Start with your strongest evidence first. In other words, if you have a witness, call that witness. If you have documentary proof then hand up copies. Always lead with your strongest evidence first. Then you can build your case on that. 

Ask questions that will prove your innocence. In other words, choose questions that show your case is true and the employer’s case is false.

Example questions are: 

1. How did you know? 

2. Why did you assume this? 

The majority of disciplinary hearings are won by the employer. Because the employees do not prepare enough. In spite of this, if you lose, you can still refer a case to the CCMA

Legal Leaders has over 8 years’ experience in Labour Law. We specialize in CCMA and Labour Court Cases, and have helped many clients prepare for a disciplinary hearings.

In most of our cases, the other party settles before the case is finalised. Our client’s get their job back or get awarded compensation. Not every case is the same and it depends on the evidence you have and how strong arguments can be made in your case.

The charges can either be dropped, or you may face a dismissal. If you are dismissed, immediately contact us so that we can help you refer your case to the CCMA.

Disciplinary Hearings are usually resolved within a week. However once your case is referred to the CCMA, or Bargaining Council, the process generally 6-8 weeks from the date of referral.

 During the consultation, this is what you are guaranteed:

  1. You will speak one-on-one with a certified Lawyer who will listen to you and review the facts of your case
  2. After listening to you and going through the evidence, we will advise you whether you have a case or not
  3. You will also receive a full explanation of your legal rights and what the strengths and weaknesses of your case are.

At the end of the consultation, you will feel educated, empowered and most importantly aware of what the next step for your case is. 

Find out if you have a case

Attorneys spend a lot of time, effort and money to gain their expertise and knowledge and a good consultation provides the client with valuable information

Some attorneys use consultation fees to determine how serious you are about your case.

Charging for the initial consultation can help us identify people who are simply looking for free advice and not interested in pursuing their case.

In two simple steps:

Step 1: Select your available time and day for the consultation with your Lawyer

Step 2: Confirm your Appointment by making your appointment. All our payments are handled by PayFast – a secure South African payment Gateway with high level bit encryption and protection.

Keep in mind that a dismissal may affect your ability to gain future employment, apply to schools and even find an apartment.   Legal Leaders understands how the CCMA and Labour court system works and helps clients facing disciplinary charges. We know that those who have been dismissed have a lot at stake. That is why we are dedicated to representing our clients.


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South AFrica’s Most Trusted CCMA and Labour Lawyers - We prepare clients for Disciplinary Hearings