Labour Law

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Astrid Sanders


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

This subject builds on contract and tort, and to some extent public law and EU law, but introduces the distinctive legal regulation of employment relations, such as the law of dismissal and discrimination law, and the institutional arrangements of industrial relations, including trade unions and collective bargaining. The course looks at these topics in an industrial relations context informed by sociology and economics.  Labour law is an important area of legal practice, with employment law disputes representing one of the largest topics of civil litigation.


  • Contract of Employment: the duties of employer and employee; the variety of work relations; vulnerable workers and the personal scope of employment law
  • Regulation of the Employment Relation: minimum wage, working time
  • Anti-Discrimination Law: implications of the Equality Act 2010
  • Dismissal: wrongful and unfair dismissal, economic dismissals
  • Human Rights in the Workplace: civil liberties of employees at work
  • Membership of Trade Unions, Worker Representation, and Collective Bargaining: freedom of workers to associate with each other and to act in association with each other
  • Industrial disputes: strikes, other industrial action and lockouts; rights and liabilities of individual workers who take industrial action; civil liabilities for organising industrial action – the economic torts, the ‘golden formula’ immunities and loss of immunity – industrial action ballots.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 4 essays in the MT and LT.

Students may be expected to perform a moot instead of one of those essays.

Indicative reading

For a concise overview of the subject a suggestion is: H. Collins, Employment Law 2nd edn (Oxford University Press, 2010). See also Kahn-Freund’s Labour and the Law (3rd ed. by P. Davies and M. Freedland, 1983) chapter 1.

The leading textbooks are H. Collins, K.D.Ewing, A. McColgan, Labour Law: Law in Context (2012); S. Deakin & G. Morris Labour Law 6th edn  2012; A.C. L. Davies, Perspectives on Labour Law 2nd edn (Cambridge University Press, 2009).Reading lists are supplied for each week's seminar and links are supplied on Moodle for most readings.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2016/17: 19

Average class size 2016/17: 19

Capped 2016/17: Yes (25)

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills