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Unit information: Individual Employment Rights in 2015/16

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Unit name Individual Employment Rights
Unit code LAWDM0021
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Ford
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit deals with the English law governing the individual employee's relationship with his or her employer, although comparisons will be made with other jurisdictions where appropriate. The aim throughout is to set employment law in its wider social, economic and political context. Therefore the unit begins by considering the nature of employment in the 21st Century. It evaluates the contractual nature of employment and the rights and duties imposed on each party. It considers statutory intervention, e.g. Human Rights Act 1998, National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and its impact upon managerial prerogative. The role of EU legislation particularly with regard to working time, equal pay and sex discrimination is also addressed. The unit further examines the termination of employment, statutory remedies and the protection arising on redundancy and on the transfer of an undertaking.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to engage critically with legal developments affecting the rights of the individual employee or worker. Students should be able to demonstrate their awareness of key developments regarding the contract of employment, collective bargaining, statutory intervention, EU regulation and international human rights instruments. In so doing, students will be expected display their knowledge of and own analytical engagement with the express and implied contractual obligations of employers and employees, the law governing wages and working time, the law relating to dismissals (including that upon transfers and redundancies), the influence of human rights law on industrial relations, and equality law. They should be able to display their own independent reading and research on at least some of these topics. Students should be able to evaluate, on various bases (such as economic and rights-based) the desirability of certain individual employment rights in terms of their implications for workers, employers, and government.

The examination includes both problem type and essay type questions, designed to assess both whether students were able to understand and apply the law across the breadth of the syllabus, and whether they were able to engage critically with the arguments for and against certain legal initiatives.

Teaching Information

Eleven compulsory two hour seminars (22) hours and one two hour feedback seminar and compulsory attendance at lectures (maximum of 20 hours)

Assessment Information

Students are given an opportunity to submit a practice essay of up to 2,000 words in November/December. Summative assessment consists of: (a) One 3,000 word essay (worth 33%) which will give students the option to research a particular area of employment law in depth, the writing of which should display their ability to engage in a critical and evaluative fashion with the legal materials studied; and (b) One 3 hour written examination (worth 67%) which will give students the ability to display the range of knowledge on the key employment law topics set out above. Students will be assessed not only on the basis of their knowledge of the legal materials, but also their ability to place legal developments in an economic, social and political context and evaluate their probable effects. The assessments will assess all the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

The most recent editions of:

  • Deakin and Morris, Labour Law, (Hart Publishing).
  • Collins, Ewing and McColgan, Labour Law (Cambridge University Press)
  • Blackstone’s Statutes on Employment Law (Oxford University Press)