Research Handbook on EU Labour Law
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Research Handbook on EU Labour Law

Edited by Alan Bogg, Cathryn Costello and A. C.L. Davies

Research Handbook on EU Labour Law features contributions from leading scholars in the field. Part I addresses cross-cutting themes, such as the relationship between EU law and national law, the role of human rights in EU labour law, and the impact of austerity measures. In Part II, the contributors focus on topics in individual and collective labour law at EU level, including working time and job security. Finally, Part III offers a comprehensive overview of the EU’s interventions in equality law.
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Chapter 6: The role of the Court of Justice in labour law

A. C. L. Davies, Alan Bogg and Cathryn Costello


In this chapter, we explore the role of the Court of Justice in the development of EU labour law. We begin by offering a historical overview of the Court’s case-law, divided into two loosely defined phases. In the first phase, which we characterise as a period of ‘expansion’, we trace developments from the Defrenne II ruling in 1976 to the late 1990s, looking at the Court’s role as a significant driver of European integration through its rulings in both equality law and labour law. The second phase begins with the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999 and the proclamation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2000, and brings the discussion to the present day. In this phase, we note ways in which EU labour law has been both ‘shrinking’ and ‘deepening’. The ‘deepening’ claim reflects the emergence of fundamental rights and a stronger Treaty basis for equality law as giving greater normative ‘backbone’ to at least some labour rights claims. But this has been accompanied by some ‘shrinking’ in the sense that the onward march of labour law in the Court’s jurisprudence has been slowed by competing employer claims based on internal market law and by broader economic considerations, particularly during the crisis.

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