Module code: LAW3008

Module Overview

Employment Law I concerns the legal and collective regulation of work. It includes a consideration of:

(i) a history of labour law as a field of study and the historical evolution of the legal regulation of work;

(ii) the competing policy considerations that inform the legal regulation of work, and the changing ideologies of labour law;

(iii) the sources and institutions of labour law: Collective, common law and statutory regulation, employment tribunals and arbitration. The place of national, EU and international law.

(iv) the changing concept of the employment relationship, its nature and its legal regulation; new forms of working relationship;

(v) the statutory regulation of the employment relationship and its terms and conditions, including wages, working time and civil rights in the work place;

(vi) the regulation of atypical work, such as zero-hours contracts, agency work and part-time employment;

(vii) job security and the termination of employment: unfair and wrongful dismissal, economic restructuring;

(viii) an introduction to the basic tenets of the collective regulation of work: trade unions and employers’ associations, collective bargaining, trade union recognition and the legal status of the collective agreement.

(ix) Freedom of association and ‘the right to strike’.


Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

WILLIAMS Elizabeth (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: M221

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  1. Introduction to the Institutions and Sources of Employment Law

  2. The Contract of Employment -- Express and Implied Terms

  3. Employment status and other categories of worker

  4. Human rights at work

  5. Termination of the Employment Relationship

  6. Job security and business restructuring

  7. Statutory employment rights

  8. Atypical work

  9. The collective regulation of work and worker representation

  10. Voluntary and statutory recognition of trade unions

  11. Collective bargaining and collective agreements

  12. The right to strike


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • Their knowledge of the topics covered;

  • Their ability to apply their knowledge to problem questions and essay questions;

  • Their powers of critical analysis of the relevant areas of law

by preparing for and undertaking a closed book, two hour examination, using only a statute book and their accumulated knowledge; the examination is designed to allow the students to exemplify and apply the knowledge gained from their guided and independent research, as well as the application of the Law by applying it to answering problem questions (requiring the analysis and resolution of the legal issues arising in such questions). Furthermore, their critical analysis skills will be tested by essay questions, which require exposition of the Law using the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings.

The assessment addresses all learning outcomes listed above.

Thus, the examination assessment for this module consists of:

  • One examination of two hours’ duration

‘The assessment method for each module has been selected to test a variety of key skills, competences and outcomes as required by QAA. As such, assessment method cannot be changed. Reasonable adjustment may be made on application subject to ALS approval AND  only where such adjustment still allows for the required skills, key competences and outcomes to be assessed at an equivalent level.’

Formative assessment and feedback

1 hour exam.

Students will receive feedback on their performance, as follows:

  • Oral feedback in lectures and, in particular, tutorials;

  • General class discussions on guided themes/topics, with immediate (oral) feedback on their performance;

  • Formal, written feedback on the formative assessment exercise

  • Individual, informal feedback, from time to time, as required


Module aims

  • Understand the competing policy considerations which inform the legal and collective regulation of work
  • Appreciate and understand the different sources of regulation in this area and their interaction (collective, common law, statute, EU, international)
  • Understand and apply the current law in the areas covered in this module
  • Explain and evaluate the current law in light of its stated and other potential objectives

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically evaluate the central principles, concepts and history of employment law, and the relationship between them, with particular emphasis of the tensions which emerge KCT
002 Critically analyse and evaluate the content of key legal areas, such as the contract of employment and its terms, the regulation of the termination of employment and the collective regulation of work, with a particular ability to analyse the content of the law in areas where there is tension or a lack of clarity (C, K, T) KCT
003 Critically engage with and evaluate the sources of employment law, including common law, statute and EU law, and the relationship between them KCT
004 Critically engage in discussions regarding competing policy concerns and values which inform employment law and its development, and the relationship between them, in order to be able to propose and defend solutions KCPT
005 Critical engage in scholarly debate regarding employment law, critically analysing the major tendencies within legal scholarship and the relationship between them KCPT
006 Critically engage with and apply knowledge of the primary and secondary legal authorities to solve complex problems and answer complex essay questions which seek to resolve tensions in the competing goals and content of employment law CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Lectures introduce and generally broach topics, with particular emphasis on key areas of the syllabus, with guidance on which of the most relevant primary and secondary materials should be studied; The current law will be presented in a manner which places it in its historical and political context, and, in particular, within the leading academic and policy-based commentaries and perspectives.

Tutorials will focus on developing the students’ ability to combine good theoretical knowledge of the law and policy with a detailed understanding of the law as it currently stands by focusing on a close reading of recent employment cases in appellate courts. 

Direct students to the study of recommended and selected legislation, case-law and other texts and to engage with these to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the subject.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (2 hours per week x 11 weeks);

  • Tutorials, including detailed, guided, tutorial discussions (1 hour x 6)

  • The objective of both categories of contact is to allow students to develop and enhance their knowledge of the subject and its practical application, thereby securing the learning outcomes identified above.



Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW3008

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.