Current Issues in Labour & Employment Law Labour Regulation and Economic Development: Past, Present and Future, an intensive short-course

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Event date: 
Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 18:00 to Saturday, November 7, 2015 - 16:00
Name of Organization: 
Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Contact Email: 
Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Ave.

Professor Simon Deakin
Innis Christie Visiting Professor Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge 

Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
November 5-7, 2015

Registration Deadline:  Friday, October 2, 2015

Labour Regulation and Economic Development: Past, Present and Future

The world of work has seen fundamental changes over the past thirty years which include the rise of precarious and flexible employment, increased female participation in the labour market, the outsourcing of production to developing countries, and rising levels of migration. Labour law rules designed for full-time, regular employment within the framework of the integrated business firm and a stable public sector seem out of place in this world. It is a short step from here to infer the end of labour law as a technique of regulation and to propose, on the one hand, its reabsorption by the private law of contract and tort or, on to other, its integration into a wider field of laws addressing unfairness in economic relations.  

The course will review the evidence for and against the hypothesis of the desuetude of labour law. Individual sessions will explore the relationship between industrialisation and the evolution of the legal institution of the contract of employment in western Europe and North America; the emergence of different national models of labour law and their relationship to collective bargaining and the structure of business; the current debate over the rise of the ‘precariat’ and informal work in developed and developing economies; recent labour law reforms in emerging markets including China and India; and methodological issues which arise in the context of the economic and sociological study of labour law. The course will suggest a counter-hypothesis to the current wisdom, namely that labour law is an integral part of a market economy and of the evolution of capitalism, and that since an end to capitalism is not immediately in sight, the history of labour law is not yet run.  


  • Thurs, Nov. 5, 6:00-7:30 pm (public lecture – attendance required)
  • Friday, Nov. 6, 3:00-6:00 pm (class)
  • Saturday, Nov. 7, 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-4:00pm (class) 

Location: Classes will be held in the Weldon Law Building, Room 207, and the public lecture will be in Room 105. 

This course is open to members of the legal profession and practitioners of industrial relations and human relations management for purposes of continuing professional education. 

To register for the course, please contact the Dean’s Office, Schulich School of Law at