The Law Centre met with a delegation from the Turks and Caicos Islands, including its President of the Labour Tribunal, Mary Doreen Quelch-Missick, and Pascal Bacchus from the Ministry of Immigration and Border Services. The purpose of the meeting was to contribute to its review of employment law services in their country and to exchange experiences in this area of law.
The delegation was hosted by the Labour Relations Agency and met with a number of organisations as part of its factfinding tour. The meeting discussed how employment law issues are addressed in both jurisdictions and how legal advice to those most in need is made available.
Meeting with the delegation, Ursula O’Hare (Director) and Tom Campbell (Head of Employment) discussed the common challenges in their respective jurisdictions, the lack of legal aid funding available for employment law cases and the impact for those facing highly complex legal issues. It was felt that this was a highly unsatisfactory and unfair position in which justice was often harder to achieve for those who were unable to afford legal advice or representation. The respective approach to labour enforcement in the two jurisdictions and collective enforcement models to labour law disputes in other jurisdictions was considered. The absence of a satisfactory review mechanism outside an appeal on a point of law to the Court of Appeal was highlighted as a feature of both jurisdictions.
An equivalent publicly-funded organisation such as Law Centre NI was not available in the Turks and Caicos Islands where those without access to a lawyer had to rely on the goodwill of the local legal professional giving advice, but rarely representation, on a pro bono basis.