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The Idea of Labour Law$
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Guy Davidov and Brian Langille

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693610.001.0001

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Re-Matching Labour Laws with Their Purpose

Re-Matching Labour Laws with Their Purpose

(p.179) 11 Re-Matching Labour Laws with Their Purpose
The Idea of Labour Law

Guy Davidov

Oxford University Press

The crisis of labour law is not the result of any change in our goals. It is rather a mismatch between some labour laws (legislation and case‐law) and these goals, created by changing realities. This chapter takes a ‘bottom—up’ approach that starts from examining problems with the actual application of labour laws, as encountered by workers in many countries. The chapter's aim is to show that for purposes of determining the scope of labour law as well as updating labour laws in light of changing employment practises, it is useful to focus on the characteristics showing the vulnerability of employees vis‐à‐vis their employers. At least for these purposes, then, the chapter argues in favour of a functional view of the idea of labour law. It is not that the ultimate goals and the general deficiencies of labour markets are not important or incorrect. They are simply less useful when one is trying to address actual problems that are so prevalent, concerning the growing irrelevance of labour law for many workers around the world. For such purposes we should look more directly at the factual situation (specific vulnerabilities) that labour laws are designed to address. Then we can try to ensure that our labour laws are indeed covering the workers within this factual situation.

Keywords:   goals of labour law, scope of labour law, application of labour law, employment vulnerabilities, levels of generalization

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