You are expected to write an essay on quotation given below with reference to primary and secondary sources. You are supposed to address the question arising from this quotation and assess the validity with relevant support. You are to come up with coherent and analytical structure for the defence of your thesis.
“Much of the progress in domestic Employment and Labour law in the last decades can be traced back to the influence of the two European Courts. The more recent case-law of both the CJEU and the ECtHR, however, in most areas of Employment and Labour law is unsatisfactory, as it seems to have the potential for a serious regression in the protection of rights.”
Discuss. Word limit: 4000 words (exclusive of footnotes and bibliography)
Guidance: You are expected to produce an essay discussing the quote above with reference to appropriate primary (legislation, case-law) and secondary (scholarly commentary) sources. The purpose of the essay is to directly address the specific question, assessing the validity of the title statement in light of the evidence you will produce in support of your thesis. It is, therefore, imperative that you identify the issues raised by the quote and come up with a coherent analytical structure that will allow you to construct a convincing defence of the position (thesis) you will adopt. It is, of course, not necessary to fully accept or fully reject the statement, as it is possible that your analysis will demonstrate that the statement is partially true or partially flawed. What is significant, nonetheless, is that you treat the essay as an analytical / evaluative project rather than a merely descriptive one. In other words, it will not be enough to simply reiterate the law (or case-law), as what you are asked to do is to critically assess whether the statement offers, in fact, an accurate depiction of legislative and interpretative developments – both at the domestic and at the European level. It is evident that the statement / question relates to the influence of European law (encompassing both EU law and the ECHR) – and of the interpretation of the law by the CJEU and the ECtHR – on the development of domestic Employment and Labour law in the last decades and in recent years. The syllabus will give you a good idea of what are the topics / areas of Employment and Labour law that should be considered at the first instance. Any (positive or negative) developments in these areas that emanate from European rules and judicial decisions may be useful in constructing your legal arguments and putting together a persuasive analysis.
As the question is relatively open-ended, it is important to identify from the outset the main issues that will constitute the backbone of your analysis, rather than attempt to include everything that may appear to be relevant to the statement without any particular plan or structure. In this regard, it would be perfectly “legitimate” to narrow down the scope of the enquiry, as long as you can defend your analytical choices. If, for instance, you are trying to disprove part of the title quote, it might suffice to discuss only one type of issue(s) (e.g. one right / area of Employment / Labour law) where this part of the quote does not hold true. For parts of the title quote, on the contrary, that make generalised or sweeping claims and with which you intend to agree, it might be necessary to survey a wider range of issues in order to prove the validity of your analysis. It is also important to bear in mind that the question is not entirely open-ended. In other words, you should not disregard aspects of the enquiry that the title quote directly touches upon (e.g. the case-law of the two European Courts “in the last decades” and the “more recent case-law”) and for which it invites critical evaluation. You are expected to conduct independent research in writing the coursework. Using recommended reading and lecture material as a starting point is, of course, advisable, but it is important that you identify appropriate primary sources as the backdrop against which to discuss “developments”. It is also up to you to research and identify appropriate secondary sources that “fit” with your specific take on the main enquiry (depending, for instance, on the issues / aspects on which you intend to be focusing on) and demonstrate the sophistication of analysis required for a higher mark. Please refer to the unit handbook on information regarding plagiarism and appropriate referencing.