Labour Rights in International Law

Subject LAWS40027 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three contact hours per week.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 144 hours.


Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

The subject aims to familiarise students with the key elements of the international legal system for the protection and promotion of the rights of workers and organised labour. Students will be introduced to the core labour standards that protect workers' basic rights: freedom of association and bargaining, non-discrimination in employment, and freedom from forced labour and harmful child labour. The subject will examine the sources of international labour law and the institutional structures for its development and oversight. These include the International Labour Organisation, the human rights institutions of the Council of Europe, and the law-making powers of the European Union. We will consider theories of international labour regulation and the recent proliferation of international labour laws. This will include the role of non-state actors in both the development and enforcement of international labour law. An important part of this aspect will be to consider the relationship of international labour law to human rights law generally, and to international trade and economic law, including the roles of the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We will conclude by considering the impact of international labour law on domestic legal systems, including Australia in particular.

Note: The essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing.


Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Identify the key sources of international labour law;
  • Apply the principle of international labour law in problem solving exercises;
  • Critically engage with the legal principles of international labour law using theoretical perspectives;
  • Understand the development of international labour law in a global and economic context;
  • Analyse emerging and contemporary issues in the field of international labour law, especially the key concept of 'core labour standards'.
  • Research essay 5,000 words 100% (due end of semester);
  • Hurdle requirement: attendance at 75% of each two hour and of each one hour seminar. In order to obtain a mark in the subject each student must meet this minimum attendance requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon completion of the subject, students should have made progress in their development of the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • The capacity to participate as a member of a team;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

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