Led up the Tribunal Path? Employment Disputes, Legal Consciousness and Trust in the Protection of Law

24 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2017 Last revised: 23 Dec 2017

See all articles by Eleanor Kirk

Eleanor Kirk

Glasgow Caledonian University

Busby Nicole

The Law School, University of Strathclyde

Date Written: October 24, 2017

Abstract

English Abstract: This article explores legal consciousness through a consideration of the trust that workers extend to employment law to protect them, and how they react when their expectations are frustrated, tracing evolving legal dispositions and reflections upon the boundaries of legality. The article uses data from a large-scale research project to explore these themes. Clients of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux were case-tracked as they attempted to resolve work-related disputes. Generally participants trusted employment law to ‘be there’ for them, rarely anticipating the limits and conditionality of various rights, or the considerable difficulties that can accompany their enforcement. Frustrated expectations were met with varying degrees of acceptance and fatalism through to cynicism, with the redirection of grievances towards collectivised dissent or activism being exceptionally rare. People tend to engage with employment law in ways that legitimate institutions and reaffirm a system that, for a variety of reasons, offers weak protection and enforcement.

Spanish Abstract: Este artículo explora la conciencia jurídica, y, para ello, toma en consideración la confianza que depositan los trabajadores en que la legislación laboral los proteja, y cómo reaccionan cuando sus expectativas se ven frustradas, rastreando las disposiciones legales en desarrollo y sus reflejos sobre los límites de la legalidad. El artículo utiliza datos de un proyecto de investigación a gran escala para analizar estos temas. Se entrevistó a clientes de las Oficinas de Asesoramiento a los Ciudadanos que intentaban solucionar conflictos relacionados con el trabajo. En general, los participantes confiaban en que la ley del trabajo los protegiera, y rara vez preveían las limitaciones y condicionamientos de diversos derechos o las considerables dificultades que pueden acompañar su cumplimiento. Las expectativas frustradas generaban diversos grados de aceptación y fatalismo, llegando al cinismo; la canalización de las quejas hacia la disensión colectiva o el activismo se daba de forma excepcionalmente rara. La gente tiende a comprometerse con la legislación laboral en formas que legitiman a las instituciones y que reafirman un sistema que, por diversas razones, es débil al ofrecer protección y aplicación de derechos.

Keywords: Employment Disputes, Tribunals, False Consciousness, Legal Consciousness, Hegemony, Conflictos Laborales, Tribunales, Falsa Conciencia, Conciencia Jurídica, Hegemonía

Suggested Citation

Kirk, Eleanor and Nicole, Busby, Led up the Tribunal Path? Employment Disputes, Legal Consciousness and Trust in the Protection of Law (October 24, 2017). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 7, No. 7, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057968

Eleanor Kirk (Contact Author)

Glasgow Caledonian University ( email )

City Campus
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow G4 0BA, Scotland
United Kingdom

Busby Nicole

The Law School, University of Strathclyde ( email )

16 Richmond Street
Glasgow 1XQ, Scotland G1 1XQ
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
112
Abstract Views
730
Rank
451,841
PlumX Metrics