|Labour Law Reform in Australia - Lessons for Brown from the Rudd Government
Professor Breen Creighton
About the speaker:
Breen Creighton is a consultant in industrial law at Corrs Chambers Westgarth since 1997. Immediately before that, he was Professor of Law and Legal Studies at LaTrobe University. Since June 1998, Breen has been a Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Law at The University of Melbourne. Breen led the National Workplace Relations practice group from June 2001 to June 2003.
Breen held academic appointments at the Universities of Edinburgh (1972-77) and Melbourne (1977-88). From 1988 until 1991, he was a principal legal officer in the Freedom of Association Branch of the ILO in Geneva. During 1991 to 1992, he worked as a consultant to an Interdepartmental Task Force on Ratification of ILO Conventions, which was established by the federal Minister for Industrial Relations in May 1991.
||The Right to Strike
John Hendy QC (Old Square Chambers)
About the speaker:
John Hendy QC is a barrister at Old Square Chambers, where he practices predominantly in the area of industrial relations and labour law. He is a Visiting Professor at King's College London, and is currently visiting at UCL where he teaches on the European Employment and Equality Law course at LLM level. He has appeared as counsel for various trade unions in a number of high profile cases such as Aslef v UK and Wilson, Palmer & ors v UK.
His presentation focussed on the right to strike in light of recent decisions of the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, and in the domestic judicial arena.
|The Case for Social Rights
Dr Virginia Mantouvalou
About the Speaker:
Dr Mantouvalou is a Lecturer at the University of Leicester, where she teaches European law, Human Rights, and Labour Law related subjects. She is currently working on a book arguing for social rights in a debate with Conor Gearty.
Her presentation focussed on her current research, and she has kindly shared with us the blurb of her forthcoming publication C. Gearty and V. Mantouvalou, Debating Social Rights (Hart, Oxford, 2010).
In the book Debating Social Rights, which is part of the new series ‘Debating Law’ (Peter Cane, series editor), Conor Gearty and Virginia Mantouvalou debate the legal enforcement of socio-economic entitlements.
Virginia Mantouvalou argues that social rights, defined as entitlements to the satisfaction of basic needs, are as essential for the well-being of the individual and the community as civil and political rights, whose legal protection is long established and now well accepted. The real question in our post Cold War era is how best to give effect to rights to socio-economic provision, rather than whether we should enforce them at all. The author claims that the legal protection of social rights is an invaluable tool in our endeavour to combat poverty and promote social justice. Drawing on examples from several jurisdictions, she argues that social rights and their judicial protection through bills of rights and human rights treaties can advance, rather than undermine democracy, before going on to explore the role and usefulness of alternative methods of protection of socio-economic entitlements.
Conor Gearty acknowledges the value of rights language in today’s legal and political order. It is certainly the case that the concept of human rights has historically functioned as an ideological support for capitalism, postulating a commitment to formal individual freedom and liberty that has been presented as part of a natural rather than a created order. But this is an incomplete account of the term. Human rights are not solely about civil and political rights, and nor do they lack a progressive, emancipatory (indeed a subversive) dimension. To work effectively as promoters of the social, this wider view of rights needs to be kept as as far away as possible from the courts. Lawyers – even well-intentioned lawyers – damage the achievability of the kind of radical transformation in the priorities of states that a genuine commitment to social rights would surely necessitate.