LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr Nicola Countouris
Mr Colm O’Cinneide
Other Teachers:
Professor Keith Ewing, King’s College London (KCL)


To what extent are labour standards regulated and set at a supranational level? Should they be? What is the role of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in setting these standards? What about other international and regional organisations, such as the Council of Europe? Should the European Union (EU) be able to prevent Member States lowering their social standards in the search to attract enterprise and investment? Do differences in labour laws across Member States prevent free movement or lead to distortions of competition? Is 'equality' respected in the EU as a free standing right, or merely as instrumental to market integration? What are the terms of the relationship between these international sources of regulation, and between them and the various national legal systems?

This module provides students with a critical understanding of the questions raised by the EU's evolving social dimension, focusing on the regional, supranational, and international regulation of social and equality rights and their interaction with national levels of social regulation. Students will be introduced not only to the core areas, and regulatory techniques, of ILO, CoE, and EU labour and equality law and policy, but also to a number of important 'flanking' policies (e.g. aspects of EU competition law and the four fundamental freedoms, immigration law) and, where relevant, to comparative perspectives on selected national legal systems. The module will also explore the interaction between collective labour rights and internal trade, as well as the interinstitutional discourse developing between the EU/European Court of Justice, the Council of Europe/European Court of Human Rights/Committee of Social Rights, and the ILO/Committee of Experts in the area of social and labour rights.


  1. Supranational sources of labour regulation. ‘Legal pluralism’, ‘Constitutionalism’ and ‘Judicial Dialogues’
  2. The ILO and its Core Instruments – An Introduction
  3. The Fundamental Rights Discourse – Council of Europe Instruments and Mechanisms – the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  4. The Evolution of EU Social and Labour Law
  5. Regulating the ‘European Labour Market’ – Free movement of workers and personal service providers
  6. Alternative models of regulation: The interaction between ‘employment rights’ and ‘employment policy’ – De-regulation through ‘bail-outs’
  7. Regulating ‘Non-standard’ Work – European and Supranational Perspectives
  8. Fair and Just Working Conditions – Working Time and Pay
  9. Job Security – Rights in the Context of Economic Restructuring
  10. Job Security – Rights in the Context of Transfer of Undertakings
  11. Equality: Concepts
  12. Equality: Direct and indirect discrimination
  13. Equality: The ‘New Grounds’
  14. Equality: Substantive equality and Family friendly provisions
  15. Equality: Pay and pensions
  16. Labour and trade: The Posting of Workers
  17. An incipient collective dimension: Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining, and the Right to Strike
  18. An incipient collective dimension: Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining, and the Right to Strike
  19. EU regulation of worker involvement: Rights to information and consultation and ‘Eurocorporatism’.
  20. Labour rights in time of Austerity and the future of European Labour Law.

Background Reading (optional):

• Anne Davies, EU Labour Law, Edward Elgar, 2012
• Brian Bercusson, European Labour Law, 2nd ed, CUP, 2009
• Catherine Barnard, EC Employment Law, 3rd ed, OUP, 2006

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 22 x two-hour seminars

Please note: this module is jointly taught with King’s College London and will run during reading weeks.
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Small – less than 15 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: European Union Law, Public Law
Final Assessment: 3-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Practice exam
Other Information

Intercollegiate Teaching: This module is jointly taught with King’s College London.

Prizes: A discretionary prize in the form of an internship at the International Labour Office may be available, from time to time, for the top UCL/KCL student.

This page was last updated on 23 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.