High Court of the Republic of Maldives, Crown Company Private Limited v. Abdulla Anis, Mohamed Sadiq & others, 12 March 2013, Case No. 2012/HC-A/183

Constitution of the Republic of Maldives

Article 68 (Interpretation)

When interpreting and applying the rights and freedoms contained within this Chapter, a court or tribunal shall consider and promote the values that underlie an open democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, and shall consider international treaties to which the Maldives is a party.

Role of International Law:
Use of international law as a guide for interpreting domestic law
Type of instruments used:

Non-ratified treaty;1 Instrument not subject to ratification2 

Unfair dismissal/ Redundancy/ Use of international law as a guide for interpreting domestic law 

Mr. Abdulla Anis, Mr. Mohamed Sadiq and other employees of Crown Company Private Limited were dismissed by the enterprise when their jobs were declared redundant. The workers took their case to the Employment Tribunal, where the enterprise was ordered to reinstate the workers to their jobs and pay them any wages owing since the enterprise had not complied with the dismissal procedure prescribed by the Employment Act No. 2 of 2008. 

The enterprise lodged an appeal against the ruling, arguing, inter alia, that the Employment Act No. 2 of 2008 did not stipulate a procedure for dismissal in the case of redundancies. 

The High Court indicated that, according to section 21 of the Employment Act, redundancy was a just cause for terminating an employment contract. Therefore, the dismissals were substantially in line with the law.  

 Then the Court needed to address whether the dismissals were unfair in relation to the procedure followed. In this respect, the Court stated that: 

“When the existing Employment Act […] is viewed in light of the laws in force in […] Independent Democratic Societies and the principles enshrined in the relevant international labour standards [the ILO Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (No. 158) and Termination of Employment Recommendation, 1982 (No. 166)], as a general rule, procedural fairness is said to be established in respect of employees terminated on the ground of redundancy only when the decision to restructure the company and make the employees redundant were due to actual economic reasons faced by the company, and only when such decision is taken in good faith.

 In ordinary circumstances, procedural fairness is said to be established…. , if [employees] have been notified in advance that due to economic reasons faced by the company, they [became] redundant and terminated from employment, as well as if the employees were informed in advance about the procedures and rules that would be followed in respect of [their termination of employment].”

 The Court concluded that the enterprise had not followed these procedures and, therefore, confirmed that the dismissals were unfair. In light of the above, the Court ordered the enterprise to pay them an adequate financial compensation, and sent the case back to the Employment Tribunal in order to determine the amount of this compensation. 

Full text of the decision