Labour Rights in a Global Economy - LAWS9220

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 20 (10) Mauro Leonardo Pucheta checkmark-circle


This module will explore the extent to which the "new global economy" (global integration of production and increased migration, digital and informational technologies, transformations in work and production processes, the shift to services, and the informalisation of work) has undermined the pillars upon which labour law was constructed after World War II in developed capitalist economies. These pillars were standard employment contracts, trade unions, vertically integrated firms, social democratic parties, and strong (protectionist) nation states. The module will explore the recent strategy of conceptualizing labour rights as a species of human rights in order to promote worker protection. The focus will be on international and transnational norms and institutions, and their interaction with national/domestic labour regimes. The module will consider changing forms (from labour standard to labour rights and hard to soft law) and scales (national to transnational and international) of regulation, the changing “subjects” of labour law (women, migrant workers, “solo” self-employed), and the changing goals of labour law (flexibility and competiveness versus security and protection). The course will place labour rights in their social, economic and political context.


Contact hours

Total study hours: 200
Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178


LLM in (Specialisation); LLM in Law; PG Diploma in (Specialisation); PG Certificate in Law. Available to postgraduate students from other schools at the convenor's discretion.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
The module will be assessed by 100% coursework as follows:
Coursework - Seminar summary (500 words) - 20%
Coursework - Essay (5000 words) - 90%)

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.
P. Alston, Labour Rights as Human Rights (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005)
D. Ashiagbor (ed) Re-imagining labour law for development: informal work in the global North and South, Hart Publishing, 2019
B. Bercusson and C. Estlund (Eds.), Regulating Labour in the Wake of Globalisation (Hart Publishing, Oxford and Protland, 2008).
M. Chen and F. Carré (eds) The Informal Economy Revisited: Examining the Past, Envisioning the Future, Routledge 2020
J. Conaghan, R. M. Fischl and K. Klare (Eds.), Labour Law in an Era of Globalisation (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002).
P. Craig and M. Lynk (Eds.), Globalization and the Future of Labour Law (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006)
G. Davidov and B. Langille (Eds.), Boundaries and Frontiers of Labour Law (Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland, 2006).
C. Fenwick and T. Novitz (Eds.), Human Rights at Work: Perspectives on Law and Regulation (Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland, 2010),
J. Fudge, "The New Discourse of Labour Rights: From Social to Fundamental Rights?" (2007) 29(1) Comparative Labour Law and Policy Journal 29–66.
A Tyc, Global Trade, Labour Rights and International Law: A Multilevel Approach, Routledge, 2021

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes are as listed below.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a detailed awareness of the relationship between labour market regulation and labour rights.
2. Locate and interpret the key international and transnational labour rights instruments and identify the courses of international labour law.
3. Demonstrate a detailed appreciation the significance of globalization in shaping contemporary national labour law regimes.
4. Demonstrate a critical understanding about the debate over international labour standards in the North and South.
5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between contemporary economic events and the evolution of labour law at the
international, transnational, and national scales.
6. Undertake critical analysis and evaluation of the debates about the future of labour law in a global context and ability to related different
positions in the debate to theoretical frames.

The intended generic learning outcomes are as listed below.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Apply their knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned argument.
2. Critically Identify and critically evaluate complex problems according to their historical, political and legal context.
3. Demonstrate sophisticated independent research skills in acquiring information from a variety of sources informing a sustained and
detailed argument.
4. Summarise detailed historical and conceptual material, recognising different positions that arise in the literature surveyed, and critically
analyse the different positions.
5. Appreciate that legal forms arise and operate within complex historical and political conditions.
6. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the economic, political and/or social implications of legal forms and institutions.
7. critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship.


Stage 1


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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