This chapter examines the regulation of ‘work’: principally the circumstances in which labour is engaged and the conditions attaching to the work relationships which are consequently formed and carried on. Fundamentally, this is the subject area labelled ‘labour law’in modern-day legal, academic, and professional discourse. This chapter also explores how some issues in the regulatory literature impact upon this field. One of the central arguments in this chapter is that instrumental regulation in the field of labour law is not a relatively modern phenomenon. Rather, the reading of the historical literature pertaining to labour under earlier economic and social conditions shows that the instrumental regulation of the labour market by the state and its courts has been the dominant form of law in this field for centuries.
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