Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof David Cabrelli

Personal Chair of Labour Law

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Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

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

Education/Academic qualification

1992Bachelor of Laws, Univ Dundee

Professional Qualifications

1998Solicitor (Scotland)

Area of Expertise

Research expertiseEmployment Law, Labour Law, Company Law, Business Law


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 commercial law, labour law/employment  law, company law and private law. David Cabrelli has published papers in a number of academic and practitioner journals in the field of commercial law, together with a book on the Scots law of commercial agreements and student textbooks on employment law (now in its second 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; and

(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.

In the field of company law, in conjunction with Prof. Mathias Siems of the University of Durham, David is in the process of publishing a second edition of a book with Hart Publishing, namely Comparative Company Law: A Case-Based Approach. The project involves the co-ordination of company law scholars from various jurisdictions. An examination of specific hypothetical cases in company law will be 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 will be analysed in order to understand how hypothetical cases would be solved in different countries. The general aim of the project is to identify whether conceptual differences between countries exist and whether formal or functional convergence in the field of company law is likely or unlikely to materialize. The project also has 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.

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 http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/pg/taught/llmcommerciallaw.aspx Moreover, David is an Associate Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law, on which, please see http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/centreforcommerciallaw/

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 - http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/visitors/



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.

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'

Katarzyna Chalaczkiewicz-Ladna - 'The relevance of the long-term interests in the decision making processes of company directors in the UK, Delaware and Germany: a critical evaluation'

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

Lorna MacFarlane - 'Exceptions to the privity doctrine in Scots contract 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

Ekrem Solak - Evaluation of Shareholder Activism and Engagement in the UK and USA.


Research outputs

  1. The role of standards of review in Labour Law

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Civic Republican Political Theory and Labour Law

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  3. A rule-based analysis and comparison of the case Studies

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

View all (114) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Visiting Scholar: Professor Hun Mok Lee

    Activity: Other activity typesTypes of External academic engagement - Hosting an academic visitor

  2. Labour2030: The Future of Work

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. Labour Law Research Network 3

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

View all (40) »

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