• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course considers international labour law from its origins to the 21st century challenges of decent work, as promoted in Sustainable Development Goal 8. 

The world of work has changed and continues to evolve. Today commentators ask: what is the future of work? And given the imbalance of power among States, corporations, communities and individuals; the decline of unions; and the weakness of civil society organizations and marginalised groups, one might ask why bother with international labour law? In this course students will be encouraged to think about these issues and, having established a solid understanding of the international rules and principles governing labour and work, will be invited to reflect critically on both the thinking and practice bearing on international labour law, including its relevance and effectiveness.

The course will focus on the breadth of world-of-work issues, an understanding of the impact (strengths and weaknesses) of the international rules and principles that address these issues, and critical appraisal of real case examples where international labour law has improved the lives of working women and men, and contributed to improved social and economic outcomes. It will deliver knowledge and hone skills regarding the fundamental substantive areas (echoing but not duplicating existing ANU courses on, for example, maritime law, migration, indigenous rights, health/OSH and social security). It will address process issues including who can and how do States and organizations lodge complaints of violations of international labour law, the methods used in monist and dualist States, remedies available, and how to track the impact of international labour law from the practical point of view.

The course will cover:

a. Definition, scope, origins and objectives of international labour law;

b. Role of the ILO: mandate, tripartite composition, structures, standard-setting, regular supervisory system (Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations & Conference Committee on Labour Standards), complaints mechanisms (Committee on Freedom of Association; commissions of inquiry), successes (social protection, domestic workers’ rights) and shortcomings (the recent attacks on the right to strike, dismissal law & indigenous rights at work);

c. Relationship between ILO and UN treaty bodies (in particular the Committees on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), on the Rights of Child (CRC) and the CEDAW Committee as well as ECOSOC’s functional commissions (Statistical Commission and its work on indicators for decent work within the 230 SDG indicators, Commission on the Status of Women’s specific references to gender equality at work), and other multilateral institutions relevant to international labour law (World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Declarations on labour standards, G20 2015 Heads of State Outcome Document);

d. The four fundamental international labour standards (freedom of association-based on Conventions 87 & 98, non-discrimination-based on Conventions 100 & 111, forced labour-based on Conventions 29 and its Protocol & 105, child labour-Conventions 138 & 182) and related technical international labour law;

e. Interface between international labour law and social and economic development highlighting the role of international legal principles generally in the face of modern-day inequalities;

f. New areas of international labour law (including GBV at work, social protection reforms, labour rights of marginalised groups) and revamped mechanisms for implementing international labour law (possible UN treaty on business and human rights, including labour rights).

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Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed LAWS8182 Principles of International Law and be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300SINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SENVL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL, 7883XLLM), Master of Diplomacy/Master of International Law (7893XMINTL), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of Legal Studies (7305XMLEGS). OR Must be studying a Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and completed or be completing five LAWS1000 level or 6100 level courses, and LAWS2250 International Law or LAWS6250 International Law OR Must be studying a Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8182 Principles of International Law OR Must be studying a Master of Military Law (MMILL) and have completed either LAWS8162 Military Operations Law or LAWS8166 Adv Military Operations Law OR Must be studying a Juris Doctor (MJDOL) and have completed the course LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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