Labour Law Beyond Borders

61 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2002

See all articles by Patrick Macklem

Patrick Macklem

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

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Date Written: December 2001


Flexible forms of transnational production and processes of economic globalization are increasingly challenging the traditional capacity of domestic labour law to promote justice in the world of work. At the same time, three international and transnational modes of regulation are forming beyond the state. First, the International Labour Organization is promoting a set of core labour rights with which all states ought to comply as a matter of international law. Second, numerous institutions and actors are linking international labour rights with trade liberalization initiatives. Third, corporations are increasingly relying on codes of conduct to govern their employment relations. This paper argues that these developments are establishing relatively firm footholds in international law and operate in tandem to provide international legal authority for innovative domestic regulation of transnational corporate activity. Together with more general principles of international human rights law, they authorize a state to require all corporations operating within its jurisdiction and all corporations operating outside its jurisdiction seeking domestic market access to comply with a domestically enforceable code of conduct that enshrines international labour rights.

Suggested Citation

Macklem, Patrick, Labour Law Beyond Borders (December 2001). Available at SSRN: or

Patrick Macklem (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

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