The Right to Property and Related Economic Rights; Labour Rights as Human Rights

Course outline

The course will give an overall assessment of the scope, content and justifiable limitations of the right to property and related economic rights. The course primary focuses of the protection afforded by the EU and the European Convention of Human Rights but will also refer to solutions of national laws as well. The course analyses in detail the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights and on the basis of this summarises the respective views of the two courts on the balance between the freedom of economic activity and the governmental intervention. In relation to the right to property the course will map out in detail the positive and negative obligations of the state, the deprivation of property the control of use and the criteria for lawful limitation of the right to property. In that respect issues of restitution, pension rights, social entitlements and legitimate expectations and taxation will also be mapped out. The course will seek to provide a reflected understanding of the case law with the help of case studies and the analysis of judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights.

The nature of labour rights has been heavily discussed in both labour and human rights literature. While some scholars claim that labour rights shall be seen as stringent normative entitlements, others are sceptical to characterise them as human rights.

This course will endorse the view that labour law is governed by various human rights principles, addressing both individual and collective rights. Special attention will be given to the following matters: the right to work and the prohibition of all forms of forced labour; the right to fair working conditions, including the right to just wage; the principle of equality; the freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively.

The course will also look into the critical aspects of the human rights approach in labour law. Theories arguing from a collective law standpoint will be introduced together with those that deny the universal nature of labour rights.


Following this course will enable students to gain an overall picture of the fundamental rights protection afforded to the right to property and the corresponding room of manoeuvre left for government action. Students will have an insight what fundamental rights protection limitations governments/regulatory regimes face in intervening to market and whether the right to property is the appropriate tool in confining the governments’ role in the economic sphere. In discussing the content and scope of the right to property students will also familiarize themselves in the protection of the property-like entitlements, and will become acquainted with the notion of restitution provided by transitional justice. 

The dual approach of this course will enable students to examine issues from multiple perspectives. The focus on specific rights will help participants to compare different human rights instruments from a horizontal aspect. The course will introduce different legal reasoning techniques to enhance the argumentation skills of the students.


  • Jacobs and White, The European Convention on Human Rights 5th edn (OUP, 2010)  ISBN-10: 0199543380
  • Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights 2nd edn (OUP, 2009) ISBN-10: 0406905940
  • Blanpain, Roger: Labour Law, human rights and social justice; The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2001, ISBN: 9041116974


  • Grgiæ, A. Mataga, Z. Longar, M and Vilfan, A The right to property under the European Convention on Human Rights: A guide to the implementation of the ECHR and its protocols, Human rights handbooks, No. 10 Council of Europe, 2007
  • Carss-Frisk, M. The right to property: A guide to the implementation of Article 1 Protocol No. 1 to the ECHR, Human rights handbooks, No. 4 Council of Europe, 2001
  • Lance A. Compa, Stephen F. Diamond: Human Rights, Labor Rights, and International Trade, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003, ISBN-10: 081221871X


Pál Sonnevend

Sára Hungler

Labour Rights as Human Rights

Cím Fájlnév Létrehozva Módosítva Méret
Cím Fájlnév Létrehozva Módosítva Méret
Are Labour Rights Human Rights 1_Are Labour Rights Human Rights.pptx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 286.33 KB
2_forced labour 2_forced labour.pptx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 198.27 KB
4_HR_right to strike 4_HR_right to strike.pptx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 456.57 KB
2_Right to work 2_Right to work.pptx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 240.6 KB
Guide_Art_4_ENG Guide_Art_4_ENG.pdf 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 496.65 KB
5_Participation 5_Participation.pptx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 221.39 KB
VJIL-50.2-Kolben VJIL-50.2-Kolben.pdf 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 367.48 KB
reader-20190327 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 636.68 KB
WPS08-2007Mantouvalou WPS08-2007Mantouvalou.pdf 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 277.91 KB
3_Freedom of association 3_Freedom of association.pptx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 416.69 KB
forced lab cases forced lab cases.docx 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 28.31 KB
Mantouvalou-AreLabourRightsHumanRights Mantouvalou-AreLabourRightsHumanRights.pdf 2019.03.27. 2019.03.27. 304.14 KB