Phillipa Weeks Lecture: The demise of the relational contract of employment

Date & time
5.30–7pm Wednesday 16 November 2022

ANU College of Law Moot Court


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ANU College of Law

Part of the Annual Phillipa Weeks Lecture series

Professor Douglas Brodie

The ANU College of Law is proud to welcome Professor Douglas Brodie (Associate Principal (Social Inclusion), University of Strathclyde) as the keynote speaker at the annual Phillipa Weeks Lecture. Given each year in memory of the late ANU Law Professor, Phillipa Weeks, this annual lecture is delivered by national and international experts highlighting key issues in the area of labour law.

Over the last 40 years, courts in a number of jurisdictions have taken the view that the nature of the employment contract necessitates that it should be treated differently, in a variety of respects, to other types of contractual relationships.

The overturning of the decision of the Full Court in Barker by the High Court and subsequent decisions of that court have set the common law of Australia on a very different path. Professor Brodie seeks to argue that as a result, in the Australian context, it is no longer meaningful to describe the employment contract as 'relational'. He will explore the implications of this so far as the future development of the contract is concerned. The lecture will consider the impact that recourse to the more conventional framework provided by the general principles of the law of contract is likely to have. The lecture will also consider whether the statute is likely to act as a catalyst or constraint.


  • Professor Douglas Brodie »

    Professor Douglas Brodie

    Douglas Brodie is Professor of Employment Law at the University of Strathclyde in the UK. He is an authority on Labour Law and Delict (Tort). His main research interests are in the area of employment contract and the history of Labour Law and in the area of Delict, the analysis of negligence. Much of his writing in recent years concerns the law of implied terms and the impact of relational contract theory on the law of the employment contract. He has a strong interest in comparative law and has a particular interest in developments in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    He has published widely and amongst his publications are: A History of British Labour Law (2003), The Employment Contract (2005), The Contract of Employment (2008), Enterprise Liability and the Common Law (2010) and (with G. Anderson and J. Riley) The Common Law Employment Relationship (2017). His latest book The Future of the Employment Contract was published by Elgar in July 2021.

    He is also Associate Principal for Social Inclusion at Strathclyde. His role includes championing widening access at all levels of study. Previously, he served as Executive Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences from January 2015 to September 2020. Prior to Strathclyde, he was Professor of Employment Law at the University of Edinburgh, and served as Dean from 2007 to 2011 and was Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling from 2011 to 2014. He also served as Dean for Internationalisation at Stirling.

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