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14-15 April 2014

The New Frontiers in Empirical Labour Law Research symposium will be held at the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, on 14-15 April 2014.

Labour law scholars are increasingly recognising the need for empirical legal scholarship to better understand the practical effects of legal change and inform evidence-based policymaking. Interdisciplinary methodologies and new approaches to legal scholarship can provide radical insights into labour law problems. They can challenge existing assumptions about the effectiveness or impact of legal rules; something that seems particularly important in the current context of austerity driven, deregulatory responses to the Global Financial Crisis.

This symposium will bring together experts across a range of disciplines (including employment relations, industrial psychology, sociology, economics and political science) to consider these new frontiers in empirical labour law research. Case studies of innovative empirical research methods will be presented, alongside broader papers that will reflect upon the possibilities and challenges of exploring labour law problems using empirical methodologies. Acknowledging current general deficiencies in empirical capacity among lawyers in the UK, the symposium will particularly seek to cultivate confidence and competence among both established and young scholars, through intergenerational and interdisciplinary "lessons learned" dialogue.

Papers will focus upon the following four broad themes:

  1. The case for empiricism in labour law
  2. The potential for mixed methods
  3. Methodological possibilities and insights from other disciplines
  4. Practical challenges and words of caution for those conducting empirical research

A final programme is available to download:

The organisers are very grateful for the support of the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group (including by funding two bursaries for PhD/early career researchers to attend the seminar), the Centre for European Legal Studies (CELS) and the Centre for Business Research (CBR).

For queries relating to the symposium, please contact Amy Ludlow ( or Alysia Blackham ( Please note that registration for the symposium has now closed.