International Labour Standards

Regional workshop for judges promotes application of international labour law at national level

News | 26 September 2017
(ILO-Budapest) Supreme and higher court judges from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Ireland, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia participated in a workshop which aimed to enhance their knowledge and use of international labour standards. The workshop was jointly organised by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ITC-ILO) and the ILO Office for Central and Eastern Europe on 13-15 September, 2017 in Turin, Italy.

International labour law is a highly valuable resource for domestic judges and lawyers seeking to settle labour disputes. Depending on the country legal system, a national judge can apply a ratified ILO convention directly, or use it for the interpretation of domestic legislation or to reinforce a judicial decision. For instance, one of the case studies discussed in the workshop was a 2003 decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court which used ILO Convention no. 111 on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation to rule that a legal provision providing for the employer to partially finance maternity benefits was unconstitutional because it would have encouraged employment discrimination against women.

Participants in the workshop were exposed to examples of when and how judges can use international labour law; the work of the ILO’s supervisory bodies, which monitor the application of ILO conventions and recommendations and assess the compliance of domestic law and practice with international labour standards, and its relevance to judges; the content and judicial use of ILS on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation, and migrant workers. The workshop also facilitated sharing of experiences and good practices among peers.

Upon request of the participants, ILO will further explore possibilities of cooperation with national institutes/schools of magistrates with the view to organize similar workshops at the national level. Also, the creation of a community of practice of European labour judges on the sub-regional online platform “Employment and Social Affairs” (ESAP) will be considered.