Ulla Liukkunen on  Employment and Private International Law


Written by Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki

The volume ´Employment and Private International Law´, edited by Ulla Liukkunen, has been published in the Private International Law Series (series editor: Symeon C. Symeonides)

of Edward Elgar Publishing in December 2020.

This edited collection gathers together a set of articles that address labour law and labour protection issues that are central to understanding the complex development of private international law and its tasks as well as broadening challenges of this field. The introduction by the editor, Ulla Liukkunen, Professor of Labour Law and Private International Law at the University of Helsinki, draws attention to characteristics of major developments in the field but also assesses the broader regulatory framework and challenges under way to traditional approaches. These challenges relate to both transnational labour law developments that require reassessment of the role of private international law and developments that derive from the ongoing transformation of substantive employment law itself, unfolding the limitations of protection restricted to a certain pre-determined legal status of the weaker party only.

With the legal landscape of labour protection changing, Liukkunen examines how private international law should be affected. According to her, old conceptions on which protection in private international law is traditionally based are becoming too narrow to be solely prioritized. Liukkunen discusses the importance of viewing the role private international law has assumed in the transnational dimension of collective bargaining and employee participation. Especially in the EU, regulatory approaches have been adopted that use private international law rules in a coordinative way so that labour rights can be upheld despite the pressures of the market.

The particular role of private international law as the ´mediator´ between labour law and company law in EU legislation reflects the expanding materialization of private international law. According to Liukkunen, it also relates to the use of conflicts law in order to enable establishment of transnational institutional structures that reduce obstacles to private regulatory authority. Moreover, the article analyses private self-regulation and related governance structures from the perspective of private international law, stressing a need for response to collisions posed by transnational normativities involved.