In today's edition, we remind ourselves of the Supreme Court's decision in McKelvey v Iarnrod Eireann/Irish Rail [2019] IESC 79 on the circumstances in which an employer is required to permit an employee to be legally represented during a disciplinary process.

High Bar for Legal Representation

The Supreme Court confirmed that an employee will only be entitled to legal representation in disciplinary proceedings in exceptional circumstances.

Chief Justice Clarke acknowledged that legal representation might be required where there is a serious allegation and "particularly difficult issues of law or extremely complex facts". However, Clarke CJ. went on to hold that there was no such requirement in the case in question which concerned an inspector accused of misusing a fuel card. Representation by an experienced trade union official would be sufficient for the purposes of a fair process.

The Supreme Court declined to restrain the disciplinary proceedings. You can read our report on this case by clicking here.