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PhD projects

Corporate Law, Comparative Corporate Law, Labour Law, Employment Law, Comparative Labour Law, EU Labour Law, UK Equality Law, EU Equality Law

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Personal profile


David Cabrelli joined the School of Law in June 2007 having lectured at the University of Dundee for four years. Prior to being appointed a lecturer, David practised commercial law and corporate law for six years. David's teaching and research interests lie in the fields of labour law/employment  law, company law, commercial law and private law. He has published papers in numerous academic and practitioner journals in the field of labour/employment law, corporate law, commercial law and private law, together with a book on the Scots law of commercial agreements and student textbooks on employment law (now in its fourth edition) and Scots commercial law.

One of David’s employment law articles was cited with approval by Lords Hope, Wilson and Sumption in the UK Supreme Court in Société Générale (London Branch) v Geys [2012] UKSC 63; [2013] 1 AC 523 and various other articles published by David have been cited by the Federal Court of Australia, The Supreme Court of South Australia, the Hong Kong High Court, the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission.

Research Interests

David's research interests in the field of labour and employment law include:

(1)    An analysis of the method by which UK Labour law applies differing behavioural standards in the workplace and explanations and justifications for such diverse standards. In addition, David is interested in the role played by standards of review in the field of labour law;

(2) An analysis of the existence and role of implied terms in law in the context of contracts for the personal performance of work that are not employment contracts;

(3)    A series of joint research papers on the significance of the concept of ‘domination’ within contemporary political and social philosophy to the area of labour law. There is a compelling argument that the civic republican political philosophy of ‘non-domination as social justice’ espoused by scholars such as Pettit and Lovett can be applied to justify and explain a great number of labour laws. As such, the purpose of this research is to evaluate whether this concept of ‘domination’ is descriptively and normatively useful from a labour/employment law perspective and whether it can act as a general justificatory foundation for labour law or as a basis on which specific labour laws can be premised; and

(4) An analysis of the contribution that developments in the rules of labour and employment law have made towards the phenomenon of rising income and wealth inequality over the past fifty years, including examination of the relationship between deregulatory initiatives in labour law and the falling labour share of GDP.

In the field of company law, in conjunction with Prof. Mathias Siems of the University of Durham, David has published a second edition of a book with Hart Publishing, namely Comparative Company Law: A Case-Based Approach. The project involved the co-ordination of company law scholars from various jurisdictions. An examination of specific hypothetical cases in company law was conducted, together with an assessment of how 12 different jurisdictions would treat each of these cases. For example, topics related to directors’ liability and shareholder duties were analysed in order to understand how hypothetical cases would be solved in different countries. The general aim of the project was to identify whether conceptual differences between countries exist and whether formal or functional convergence in the field of company law was likely or unlikely to materialize. The project also had a public policy dimension since the existence or absence of differences between jurisdictions matters for the question of whether formal harmonisation of company law in the EU, or further afield, is necessary.

Another research project that David is jointly undertaking with academic colleagues from Sheffield, Glasgow, Durham and Maastricht Universities, relates to the internal governance of corporate group structures and how they respond to recent modifications in the scope for companies in groups to be made externally liable to third parties, or in relation to increased pan-group disclosure and reporting obligations.

David retains links with the legal profession and is heavily involved in the provision of training and continuing professional development seminars, mainly through the Edinburgh Law Review Update Series.

David is also an assistant editor of the Edinburgh Law Review.

David is a key member of the team which delivers courses under the auspices of Commercial Law LLM at the University of Edinburgh. He is a former Programme Director for the Commercial Law LLM at the University of Edinburgh. The Commercial Law LLM offers a number of specialised Commercial Law courses and further details are available at Moreover, David is an Associate Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law, on which, please see

David is very happy to receive enquiries from potential PhD students, or other academic visitors, working broadly within the fields in which he has expertise. In particular, David would draw the following pages to the attention of visiting scholars -



LLB, DiP LP, Solicitor (Scotland & Non-practising)

Current Research Interests

At present, David is currently involved in a number of research projects:

First, David is researching in the field of employment law and in particular, the common law of the contract of employment. His principal research in labour law involves a detailed examination of the differing behavioural standards and expectations which the common law and the legislature imposes upon employers, and which impinge on the employment contract. Furthermore, as part of an editorial team, and as a contributor of two chapters, he is involved in the preparation of a multi-authored treatise on the Law of the Contract of Employment to be published by OUP.

Secondly, David is also researching into the relationship between domination-based conceptions of social justice and labour law. The fundamental question here is whether these domination-based conceptions rooted in the civic republication strand of political philosophy can act as a justification for labour laws.

Thirdly, David is undertaking research on the relationship between labour law/employment law and the rising levels of income and wealth inequality as evidenced by the drop in the labour share of GDP in the vast majority of developed economies. In particular, David is interested in the question as to whether the movement away from collective labour laws to individual employment rights over the past fifity years is in some way responsible for the phenomenon of wealth concentration and capital shallowing.

Finally, in the field of corporate law, alongside academic colleagues from Maastricht, Glasgow, Durham and Sheffield Universities, David is researching the law regulating corporate groups. In particular, the focus of this book project is on how companies in groups are responding to adjust their internal governance arrangements to developments in external liability rules (of parent companies and other companies in groups as responsible for the behaviour of other companies in the group) and increased pan-Group disclosure, reporting and transparency obligations.

Research Interests

Labour Law, Employment Law, Common Law and Statutory Regulation of the Contract of Employment, from Formation to Termination.

Research students

Tom Rigg - 'Enlightened Shareholder Vlaue in the Face of the Theory of the Firm: An Analysis of Board-Focused Models and the UK's Approach to Corporate Governance from a Contractarian Perspective'

Clare McDairmant - 'In the Workplace in Great Britain: Do the Religious Exceptions contained in Schedule 9 to the Equality Act 2010 go far enough, are they too wide, or should they exist at all?'

Anindita Jaiswal - 'Female Directors on the Board: Viability from an Indian Perspective'

Aziz Ozturk - 'Board Neutrality Rule: A Comparative Analysis of US and EU (German and UK) Takeover Law for the Purposes of Modifying Turkish Takeover Law

Yvonne Enoch - Evaluation of Imputation of Knowledge of Intermediaries such Insurance Agents such as Brokers to an Insured in the Law of Insurance for the Purposes of the Insured's Duty of Disclosure

Shunyu Chi - 'Augmenting Employee Protection During Hostile Takeovers of Private Sector Companies in China: Lessons from the German Co-Determination Model'


Education/Academic qualification

Law, Bachelor of Laws, Law, University of Dundee

8 Oct 199213 Jul 1996

Award Date: 13 Jul 1996

External positions

Summer Research Fellowship, University of Oxford

30 Jun 200620 Aug 2006


  • K Law (General)
  • Labour Law
  • Employment Law
  • Comparative Labour Law
  • Company Law
  • Comparative Corporate Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Comparative Company Law
  • Comparative Employemnt Law
  • International Labour Law
  • Labor Law
  • Discrimination Law
  • Equality Law
  • Comparative Discrimination Law
  • Comparative Equality Law
  • Private Law
  • Contract Law
  • Law of the Contract of Employment
  • Statutory Employment Protection
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Trade Unions
  • Trade Union law
  • Industrial Action
  • Law of Industrial Action
  • Right to Strike


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