Labour Law as Human Rights Law: A Critique of the Use of ‘Dignity’  by  Freedland and Kountouris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In their recent book, The Legal Construction of Personal Work Relations, Mark Freedland and Nicola Kountouris present an ambitious study of the personal scope of (what they would not want to call) ‘employment’ law. The book does this within a broader argument that calls for the reconceptualization of labour law as a whole, and it is this broader argument on which I shall focus in this chapter. Their aim, in urging us to see labour law through the lens of ‘dignity’ is to bring labour law and human rights law into closer alignment than has sometimes been the case in the past. Increasingly, dignity is seen as providing a, sometimes the, foundation of human rights law, particularly in Europe. I shall suggest that whilst the aim of constructing a new set of foundations for labour law is a worthy and increasingly urgent task, the concepts on which Freedland and Kountouris seek to build their project pose significant difficulties. In particular, their espousal of ‘dignity’ presents problems that must be addressed if their reconceptualization is not to prove a blind alley.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Autonomy of Labour Law
EditorsAlan Bogg, Cathryn Costello, ACL Davies, Jeremias Prassl
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781782254645
ISBN (Print)9781849466219
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Labour law, human dignity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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