The Calm after the Storm: Time to Reflect on EU (Labour) Law Scholarship Following the Decisions in Viking and Laval
Forthcoming in A. Bogg, C. Costello and ACL Davies, Research Handbook on EU Labour Law (Edward Elgar)
25 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 30, 2015
When the Finnish Seamen’s Union and the Swedish Electricians Union threatened strike action, and in the case of the Swedish electricians union, did go on strike, the officials involved could never have contemplated the seismic effects their decisions would have on the evolution of EU law and, indirectly, on the evolution of EU law scholarship. The Finnish trade unions in Viking and the Swedish unions in Laval were essentially asserting the right to strike under domestic law. This brought them face to face with the EU’s fundamental freedoms -- of establishment and services.
The aim of this chapter is not to rehearse the arguments for and against the position taken by the Advocates General and then the Court in the two cases. Rather, I wish to consider first, how these cases -- and the subsequent developments -- have been considered in the literature and second, what this tells us about the current state of EU law academic writing. The chapter will argue that there are four phases of response to major legal events such as the decisions in Viking and Laval and, at each phase, the literature has something new and different to offer. I therefore consider, but ultimately take issue with, some of the criticisms levelled at EU law scholarship by van Gestel and Micklitz in their stimulating article ‘Why methods matter in European Legal Scholarship’.
Keywords: Viking, Laval, EU Law, Scholarship, Labour Law
JEL Classification: K3, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation