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Unit of study_

LAWS6022: International and Comparative Labour Law

2024 unit information

This unit will examine the growing use of individual labour and equality rights to protect working people, with the overall aim of assessing the capacity of this type of regulation to enhance justice, both in the workplace and more widely. It will use experience in the UK of a highly individualized workplace rights and enforcement system to identify strengths and weaknesses in this kind of workplace protection. This will involve consideration of EU and European Convention on Human Rights standards, while some comparative readings will also be set and students will be encouraged themselves to bring a comparative dimension to the issues and assignments. Jumping off from the UK experience, the unit will evaluate various strategies for enhancing the protective capacity of individual workplace rights. These include: (1) conceiving of such rights as fundamental human or constitutional rights; (2) imposing positive duties on employers and others to promote and secure observance of individual labour and equality rights; (3) institutional innovation to secure workplace protections, for example via equality and human rights commissions, labour inspectorates, ombudspeople, tax and criminal prosecution authorities; (4) involving third parties in the realization of individual labour standards, for example, NGOs, trade unions, parliamentary and other public inquiries, consumers, campaigners and the press; (5) focussing on employer activities that moderate individual labour and equality standards, like human resources practices, corporate social responsibility regimes and general managerial strategizing. Threaded through the unit will be consideration of different methodological approaches to legal research, with the twin goals of increasing what students take from the materials covered and of improving their legal research and analytical skills, including for use in the final essay. Prof Barmes draws on her extensive previous research in this area and her varied background, for example, in legal practice, conducting research for the Law Commission of England and Wales, as co-editor of the Recent Cases section of the Industrial Law Journal and as co-Director of the QMUL School of Law Centre for Research on Law, Equality and Diversity (LEAD). Further information about this unit is available in the Sydney Law School timetable, unit of study outline and academic staff profile

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:


Code LAWS6022
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. gain an advanced understanding of the issues faced by the regulation of work in the global economy in consideration of the role and the hierarchy of the various national, supra-national, international sources of labour law
  • LO2. identify and attain an advanced understanding of the challenges posed by the changing models of work to the traditional dichotomy between employees and self-employed workers
  • LO3. gain an advanced understanding of the regulatory approaches to labour hire and subcontracting, for the protection of the workers’ involved
  • LO4. understand the functions and operating modes of the minimum wage-setting mechanisms in the light of the balance between social needs and economic factors
  • LO5. acquire the ability to critically evaluate, from a comparative perspective, the different national regulatory approaches to labour law issues
  • LO6. develop advanced research and analytical skills
  • LO7. improve the capacity of presenting subject content in an organised and effective manner to a live audience

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Intensive November 2024
Block mode Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Outline unavailable
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1 2022
Normal evening Remote

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.