The University of Southampton

LAWS2026 Employment Law

Module Overview

This module introduces students to three key themes of employment law: (1) employment status; (2) the contract of employment and (3) termination of employment. You will acquire a good understanding of the relevant law, you will also develop a critical perspective of the law in its wider social, economic, political and historical context, and you will be trained to successfully apply the law to factual situations. The module will be taught in a lively manner, promoting student engagement with topical employment law issues through the discussion of news, problem-based learning, and teamwork. This module is closely linked to ‘Equality at Work’. It is recommended that if you want to take ‘Equality at Work’ in Part 3, in years when it is available, you take ‘Employment Law’ first, although this is not indispensable.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To examine in depth a number of key aspects of individual and collective employment law. • To provide you with an opportunity for the advanced study of the law governing the employment relationship and the regulation of working life. • To encourage you to develop an understanding of the political, economic and social issues that have shaped the development of this area of law.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • describe the nature, principles and functions of Employment Law and the main features of its sources and institutions.
  • discuss the distinction between categories of workers and the significance that this has on the rights and obligations of workers/employers in a wider political, economic and social context.
  • distinguish the different types of terms and conditions of a contract of employment and differentiate between the different types of termination of a contract of employment and their respective consequences.
  • assess the significance and influence of European Union Law and other international standards on UK employment law.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • engage with primary sources of Employment Law and use them to develop your own critical perspective on key and controversial aspects of this area of law.
  • solve factual problems and develop reasoned and well-founded answers to essay questions applying your knowledge of this substantive area of law.
  • identify gaps and weaknesses in this area of law and contribute to the doctrinal and policy debate on how to address them, taking into account the wider legal, political, economic and social context.
  • conduct independent study and self-directed research to produce a clear, orderly and well-structured presentation or essay in this area of law, demonstrating an awareness of academic integrity.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse, synthesise and draw your own conclusions from complex written texts.
  • apply your knowledge to solve complex problems.
  • communicate arguments and viewpoints effectively, orally and in writing.
  • identify and critically evaluate key policy issues in wide contexts and position yourself within the policy debate.


This module will introduce you to a number of key aspects of governing the individual employment relationship and the regulation of working life. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the political, economic and social issues that have shaped the development of this area of law. The module is split into three inter-related parts: Part 1 introduces the module, the sources and institutions of employment law and the legal distinction between categories of workers. Part 2 concerns the contents of the contract of employment, including express and implied terms and conditions. Part 3 deals with the different forms of termination of employment, including wrongful, constructive and unfair dismissal and a critical analysis of the legal consequences of terminating the contract of employment through these different forms. Several linking themes will be considered throughout the module, such as the influence of European Union law, the balance of power between employer and employee, and the tension between regulating the employment relationship and leaving discretion to the contracting parties to exercise their own judgements in specific cases.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • 1 x 2-hour seminar per week • 1 x 1-hour tutorial per fortnight Learning activities include: • Analysing primary sources and academic articles • Preparing in advance for seminars and tutorials • Actively participating in tutorials • Working in small groups and doing presentations during tutorials • Problem solving • Essay writing • Self-directed research • Group presentations In view of enhancing your interest and motivation, the teaching team will: • Make use of media and technology-supported learning and a range of other teaching techniques. • Refer to topical developments in employment law and related areas. • Invite guest-speakers, time and location constraints allowing.

Project supervision2
Completion of assessment task15
Preparation for scheduled sessions25
Follow-up work14
Wider reading or practice14
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Honeyball, S. S. (2014). Employment Law. 

Cabrelli, D. (2014). Employment Law in Context: Text and Materials. 

Oxford Law Trove – employment law materials.

Smith, I., Baker, A. (2015). Employment Law. 

Kidner, R.. Blackstone's Statutues on Employment Law. 

Useful websites. Institutional: - Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) - - Chartered Institute of Personel and Development (CIPD) - - Institute of Employment Rights - - International Labour Law Very good organisation of information with good use of case-law and examples to illustrate points. - - Eurofound - Blogs: - Employment Law Blog - - Daniel Barnett's Employment Law Blog - - Taylor & Emmet LLP -

Pitt, G. (2014). Employment Law. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1.75 hours) 70%
Group presentation  (20 minutes) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.33 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.33 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Key textbooks and recommended textbooks are available at the Hartley Library. Employment Law textbooks typically cost £30-40 each and the Blackstone’s Statutes cost around £15. The students will be required to buy one Employment Law textbook (to be confirmed at the beginning of the academic year) and the Blackstone’s statutes. Key journal articles not available at the library will be made available on Blackboard. The ‘selected cases collection’ will be made available to you free of charge.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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