Freedom of association in the UK: the public/private distinction in labour law

McDermott, Muireann (2022) Freedom of association in the UK: the public/private distinction in labour law. LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis traces the evolution of freedom of association as it relates to and is informed by the public/private distinction in legal and political thought, by public and private law and by the public and private dimensions of contracting for work. Within legal theory the public/private distinction has sparked much controversy due to its capacity to depoliticize certain key questions and to obscure the significance of distributive outcomes. This thesis identifies two distinct concepts of workers’ Freedom of Association, (neo)liberal and social democratic, and gives a detailed account of the historical origins of these conceptions. The former which – in either its classical or ‘neo’ instantiation – ultimately prioritises private ordering and the latter which subordinates it to public-political concerns as dictated by collective interests, are disaggregated in order to sharpen and assess their place within labour law and legal scholarship today. Disaggregating the concepts in these ways illustrates that the contours of Freedom of Association in the UK are determined in large part by prior political decisions concerning the goods and ends of unionization and association and how they relate to the social and economic world. The thesis argues that the public-political concerns, the class relations as well as relations between individual workers and employers, which are at stake must not be overlooked or obscured. On that basis, it argues that the social democratic conception of workers Freedom of Association is the more coherent and morally compelling and the one which should inform current and future debates concerning workers’ rights today.

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Dukes, Professor Ruth
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-83391
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2023 10:19
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2023 11:45
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83391

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