A common law agenda for labour law

Barry Hough, A. Spowart-Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article assesses the purposes of a re-contractualisation of the employment relationship. It examines in particular the implied duty to act in good faith, and argues that in developing this and other implied terms the judiciary only extends employment protection to further wealth maximisation. It is argued that the common law sees its contribution to labour law as a device for maximising the efficiency of the enterprise and promoting the creation of wealth for the benefit of the national economy. The article examines this thesis by assessing the manner in which good faith has been employed to aid modernisation and competitiveness, to control conflict, to regulate the manner in which employees are treated by their employers, and how the law is more concerned with the substance rather than the form of agreement. It suggests that employment protection is likely to be extended in regard to what the authors have described as "the environment interest". In the context of industrial conflict terms have been consistently developed so as to enhance managerial prerogative. The article concludes that all facets of the duty of good faith, (and other implied terms) have been developed to promote the public interest in a successful economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalWeb Journal of Current Legal Issues
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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