Theories of Rights as Justifications for Labour Law

Hugh Collins

in The Idea of Labour Law

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693610
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729744 | DOI:
Theories of Rights as Justifications for Labour Law

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The chapter assesses whether two kinds of theories of fundamental rights, namely the natural law tradition underlying the international protection of human rights and the liberal political tradition that awards rights priority in theories of justice, provide an adequate grounding for a system of labour law. Having criticised the former view on the ground that international labour rights lack the qualities of universalism and a strong moral imperative, the chapter argues that liberal theories of rights, as in the work of John Rawls, have the potential, to provide a grounding for some but not all important dimensions of labour law. Finally, it is suggested that within the liberal tradition, the project of basing rights on respect for dignity as well as liberty, has a better potential for providing a justification for the kinds of solidarity rights that are needed to underpin collective labour law.

Keywords: rights; labour law; theory of justice; international labour rights; dignity; Rawls; Waldron; social rights

Chapter.  10047 words. 

Subjects: Employment and Labour Law

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