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‘Unchartered’ waters: fundamental rights, Brexit and the (re)constitution of the employment law hierarchy of norms

O'Connor, Niall (2020) '‘Unchartered’ waters: fundamental rights, Brexit and the (re)constitution of the employment law hierarchy of norms.' European Labour Law Journal. ISSN 2399-5556

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Abstract

The decision of the British people to leave the European Union (EU) raises foundational questions for many legal fields. The effects are especially likely to be felt within domestic employment law, which now has a strong basis in EU law. Of particular concern is the removal of the nascent EU fundamental employment rights influence over domestic legislation. Employment lawyers have long relied on fundamental rights as a means of preserving the autonomy of their subject from general private law. One manifestation of this turn to fundamental rights concepts has been the ‘constitutionalisation’ of employment rights. EU law, notably the Charter of Fundamental Rights has become a key underpinning of this constitutionalisation process. This article considers the effects of the constitutionalisation in the United Kingdom employment sphere of some of the rights found in the Charter’s Solidarity Title, through its role in the emergence of a hierarchy of sources or ‘norms’ in the employment field. In order to address the question of the Charter’s influence on the hierarchy of sources in the employment context, three interrelated processes are examined. The article begins by exploring the ‘constitutionalisation’ process, by setting out the nature of the Charter and the effects of its employment rights on the hierarchy of sources. This is followed by a consideration of the ‘deconstitutionalisation’ process brought about by Brexit, before finally examining whether a potential ‘reconstitutionalisation’ process might be underway by looking at key terms of the Withdrawal Act and the potential to replicate the Charter in domestic law.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brexit, Fundamental Rights, The Charter, The Solidarity Title, Constitutionalisation
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2020 10:49
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2020 09:27
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26795

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