The official launching of the system was held yesterday at Newton Tower, in Port Louis by the the Attorney-General, Mr Yatindra Nath Varma, amidst senior representatives of the Bar and the Law Society.
With the e-tribunal electronic case management system, parties can exchange pleadings by e-mail and the physical attendance of parties is not required until a matter is fully in shape for hearing. ERT can now post online its awards and statements of case and of defence or other documents presented before the Tribunal. The e-system also allows lawyers, disputants, witnesses and the tribunal to gain time between the lodging of a case and its final disposal.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Mr Varma, said that the e-tribunal should serve as a model to be replicated in other tribunals. He also announced that the Law Practitioner’s (Amendment) Act 2011, which provides for the establishment of a Council for Vocational Legal Education while ensuring that prospective law practitioners undergo an adequate period of training and pupilage will come into effect as from September this year.
According to the Attorney General, the Act will enable a citizen of Mauritius who has obtained a professional qualification as, or equivalent to that of, a barrister in another Commonwealth country or the United States to be eligible to practise in Mauritius as a barrister.
For his part, the President of the ERT, Mr Rashid Hossen, said that the electronic tribunal which has been implemented at a total cost of some Rs 4 million has boosted performance in reaching targeted deadlines at the tribunal in line with the Performance Based Budgeting. The e-system has created a modern and fast service benefitting numerous sectors of the economy, the disputants, the lawyers and the public at large as regards arbitration of industrial disputes, he added.
ERT has as main functions to settle industrial disputes in the civil service, the private sector and parastatal bodies and local government services in addition to hearing appeals related to decisions of the Conciliation and Mediation Commission. ERT also contributes to the promotion of harmonious industrial relations. The Tribunal is expected to enquire into the dispute and make an order/award/ruling within 90 days of the date of lodging.
For the year 2011, some 305 cases have been referred to the ERT.