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The Common Law Constitution at Work: R (on the application of UNISON) v lord chancellor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-538
Number of pages30
JournalModern Law Review
Issue number3
Early online date1 May 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 15 Dec 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 May 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2018


This note considers the radical significance of Supreme Court’s judgment in R (on the Application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor (UNISON) on the unlawfulness of tribunal fees. It argues that the decision marks the coming of age of the ‘common law constitution at work’. The radical potential of UNISON lies in its generation of horizontal legal effects in disputes between private parties. Recent litigation on employment status in the ‘gig economy’ is analysed through the lens of UNISON and common law fundamental rights. The note identifies the various ways in which the common law tests of employment status might be ‘constitutionalised’ in the light of UNISON.

    Research areas

  • employment status, worker, Gig Economy, fundamental rights, access to a court

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