Labour Law Research Network Conference-Call for Papers

by | Apr 13, 2016

Labour Law Research Network (LLRN) Conference

University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

June 25-27, 2017



The Labour Law Research Network (LLRN) was established in 2011 by 30 research centres from all over the world and is now comprised of 63 labour law research institutions. One of the objectives of the LLRN is to hold bi-annual international conferences that will be entirely academic (dedicated to, among much else, the presentation and discussion of original papers); entirely about labour law (broadly conceived); and will allow cutting-edge topics to surface from the participating scholars themselves, in a non-hierarchical way.

The first two such conferences – Barcelona 2013 and Amsterdam 2015 – were remarkably successful in drawing together scholars from around the world and have established a tradition of the LLRN Conference as the largest (attendance at Barcelona was 330 and at Amsterdam 460) and most important focal point for global labour law scholarship. Those who have missed the previous conferences are invited to consult the programmes available at the LLRN website to appreciate the high level of participants and the breadth of topics discussed.

We are pleased to announce that the third LLRN conference will be held in Toronto on June 25-27, 2017. The Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto will host the conference made possible by the support of contributing Canadian and international labour law institutions.


Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America, after Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles. On the shore of Lake Ontario Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, art, theatre, film, sports, music, and culture and is widely recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Half its population was born in a country outside Canada. The University of Toronto and the Faculty of Law is wonderfully located in the heart of this vibrant city of distinct neighbourhoods. The birthplace of Canadian academic labour law, The Faculty of Law is proud to host LLRN3 as one of the first events to be held in its newly constructed buildings. The modern spaces also perfectly preserves the history of the Faculty of Bora Laskin, Professor of Labour Law who later became Chief Justice of Canada. Laskin was the founding father of the academic subject in Canada, playing the role Sinzheimer, Kahn-Freund, and others took on elsewhere. There could not be a more inspirational location. The weather in June in Toronto is perfect (25C is the average high temperature) for enjoying the city and local attractions (such as Niagara Falls, which is within 1.5 hours of downtown Toronto). The city itself offers a multicultural extravaganza of music, food, art, sports, theatre, and cultural activities of all descriptions.

LLRN3Toronto – The Ambition

LLRN1Bacelona and LLRN2Amsterdam were remarkable events in the advancement of a global approach to labour law research and scholarly interaction. As a result of those successes we believe that at this point in the life of the Network we are poised to expand its reach and deliver on its promise to be truly global and transnational in scope. To lay the foundation for this future, we want to push hard on what it would mean to be truly globally engaged in the project of scholarly inquiry in the law of productive activity in the world as we now understand it. For LLRN3Toronto we ask what this global ambition truly requires along a number of dimensions.

First, seeking global geographic scope; here we hope to encourage new topics and forms of discussion with scholars working on problems of work in all parts of the world and in all facets of work both within and outside the more traditional foci and preoccupations of labour law.

Second, what would constitute a global legal/institutional range of vision? Many legal institutions and rules appear now to be relevant to the law of work. Moreover, a broad range of macro-economic regimes and decisions are poised to have, or do now have, immense consequences for work and its regulation, social protection schemes, and workers’ economic security writ large. Understanding how their operation bears upon work, directly and with labour and employment law in different contexts, is an important frontier for scholarship.

Third, ensuring a global approach to our disciplinary boundaries. In order to better appreciate the sources and operation of the law of work, scholars are increasingly pursuing research informed by, or in collaboration with, all disciplines including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, industrial relations, political theory, feminism and gender theory. Where are the new or overlooked disciplinary connections?

Fourth, do we have a comprehensive grasp of possible intellectual approaches to, and frames of reference for, our discipline? A wide range of normative, theoretical and conceptual tools – on governance, regulation, development and more – are available to inform our understanding of the regulation of work and the resolution of workplace problems. We welcome work informed by all such approaches and seek others.

Fifth, we seek to foster the idea that we need a truly global grasp of the empirical realities of work and law in all parts of the world as we now encounter it.

Finally, LLRN3Toronto seeks to fulfill its ambition along all of these dimensions by being inclusive and accessible to scholars from all parts of the world and stages of academic career.

The ambition of LLRN3Toronto is then to provide the intellectual space and opportunity to undertake the project of securing our accomplishments thus far and exploring these new frontiers. To this end, we aim to promote discussion on the themes and issues listed in section IV, and to pursue our discussion in a variety of novel and innovative formats, including those set out in section V.


We are confident that the conference will attract scholars and exciting scholarship on a wide range of issues and expect to structure panels and presentations on a wide variety of topics related to the law of work broadly conceived. As we take the cartography of the law of work to be open we do not propose strict tracks or categories. Nonetheless, we encourage and particularly invite interventions that address the following themes which track our description of our ambition for LLRN3.


It is well-recognized that much work lies ‘beyond’ the standard employment relationship and now takes a wide variety of forms. In Toronto, we particularly encourage reflection on the specific forms of work relations and work associations creating challenges in developing countries and emerging markets. These include (but are not limited to) small entrepreneurship; subsistence and non-market labour; informal markets; and novel forms of worker and community associations.

Institutional and regulatory:

Policies and legal institutions at many levels now have a profound impact on work and its regulation. This includes ‘traditional’ labour and employment law but extends well beyond it to encompass, for example, migration and citizenship law; family law; tax law; industrial policy; intellectual property law; macro-economic context and macro-economic decision-making (including monetary policy such as QE and negative interest rates; fiscal policy, including externally mandated reforms and fiscal austerity measures; trade and investment agreements such as TTIP, TPP and regional trade agreements; development and land reform policies; financial regulation and financial crisis intervention), and so on.

The list is not closed; to the contrary. Scholars in all regions are encouraged to present their own analysis of why and how other rules and policy decisions may be important to the legal regulation of work. We also encourage research and reflection on transnational law and regulatory issues that traverse developing and industrialized states, including the regulation of networked production and value chains. Interdisciplinary studies: In times of change as in the past, labour scholars have drawn on insights from scholarship in various social science fields.

We encourage contributions that push the boundaries by enlisting insights from other disciplines that are yet to be explored by labour law scholars. We also invite other interdisciplinary analyses that offer new normative or descriptive analysis.


The regulatory climate and regulatory challenges around work are informed, directly and indirectly, by the world of ideas, including ideas about law. We encourage excavation and exploration of how ideas from diverse fields now affect the possibilities for regulating work.

Empirical: Research in labour law has always demanded that we understand the real world of work and the law. Some of the most interesting research in the field today is empirical and socio-legal and in Toronto we seek to offer the opportunity to both deepen and globally broaden this dimension of our discipline.

Other: The conference is open for any other labour law (as always, broadly conceived) contribution as well, and any methodology. We are also interested in opening a global conversation about labour law research and labour law pedagogy in different contexts and parts of the world. Please note, however, that descriptive articles focusing on one legal system will not be accepted unless they appear to be of interest to scholars from other jurisdictions.


LLRN3Toronto aims to maintain but also diversify the formats of workshop presentation and discussion. To this end, although we very much encourage submission of papers for presentation in sessions, as well as proposals for full sessions or book presentations, we also encourage proposals for innovative modes of participation that depart from these modes of interaction. We invite submissions as follows. All proposals will be subject to peer-review by the organising committees.

Paper abstract: scholars interested in presenting papers at the conference are invited to submit an abstract of up to 500 words. Please include a title, your name and affiliation, and contact information. Also include a “key word” line.

Panel session: scholars are also welcome to submit proposals for full panel sessions, which include 4 papers or 3 papers and a discussant. Please try to avoid panels in which all the participants come from the same country. Proposals should be submitted by the convener of the panel (who can also serve as the chair), and include abstracts of all proposed papers as well as a short integrative statement explaining the theme of the panel (all in one document).

Book presentation: scholars who recently published a book around an important labour law issue, or otherwise wish to raise a discussion around a recent book, are invited to propose a panel with 4 speakers (authors, discussants or any combination thereof). Proposals for a book presentation do not require abstracts, just a short explanation of the book’s importance and brief biographies of the participants. Please note that these sessions (if accepted) might be allocated less time than regular paper sessions.

Alternative formats: We also invite people to signal their interest in other forms of presentation and participation. Here are a number of formats that might be considered: roundtables or ‘fishbowls’ in which people make short interventions addressing themes or issues from the standpoint of their research; ‘TED’–style short talks on specific topics of interest, both inside and at the edges of the law of work; moderated or ‘hot seat’ encounters with an invited guest; films – plus discussion; art exhibits and music. Presenters who wish to innovate in these or other formats need not worry that their written work will not be available or disseminated; the conference organizers will ensure that papers of presenters in alternative formats are available on the conference website. Information regarding the technical method of submission will be published later on. In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions please contact us at


Participants are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation; however, as at previous conferences there will be no conference fees (other than for costs for coffee/tea breaks, lunches and dinner). The fee will be announced in due course but we anticipate it to be not remarkably higher than the level at LLRN2Amsterdam. Information about recommended hotels and other lodging options, including University accommodation, as well as special rates for conference participants, will also be provided later on. VII. Scholars from developing countries It is the ambition of LLRN3Toronto to build on the successes of LLRN1Barcelona and LLRN2Amsterdam in establishing the LLRN as the most important global forum for academic labour law. To this end we intend to raise the resources to provide financial assistance to as many participants as possible from developing countries who cannot otherwise attend the conference. While we are not now in a position to guarantee such funding, it is vital to the LLRN’s ambitions and scholars from developing countries are encouraged to submit abstracts or panel proposals, and clearly note their need of financial support.

Key dates

Oct. 15, 2016 Last day to submit abstracts/panel proposals

Dec. 15, 2016 Decisions on acceptance of papers/panel proposals

May 25, 2017 Last day to submit full papers

June 25-27, 2017 Conference


All questions and suggestions should be addressed to If you prefer, you can also feel free to contact any of the organizing committee members. The website for the conference is under construction at

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