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15 October 2015

ETUC Brian Bercusson Award on European labour law

Brian Bercusson was a leading expert on European labour law who significantly inspired and influenced the European trade union movement.

It was he who, in the late 1990s, set up NETLEX, the ETUC trade union legal expert network, and the ETUI Transnational Trade Union Rights experts network (TTUR).Brian Bercusson was professor of EU Labour Law at the European University Institute (Florence) in the 1980s and 90s, after which he held professorships in the UK. In the adamant belief that national and EU labour law should not be regarded as two separate legal systems, his constant concern was to stress the interaction and symbiosis between the two.The academic vision presented by Bercusson in several vital contributions has exerted a tremendous impact and will continue to influence future generations of legal experts.To maintain his legacy and encourage the development of EU labour law, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) have instituted a special Award to honour Brian Bercusson’s outstanding and dynamic scientific contribution and its deep relevance for the European trade union movement.The specific aim of the ETUC – Brian Bercusson Award, created in 2011 and awarded every four years on the occasion of the ETUC Congress, is to reward young academics for outstanding, innovative and forward-looking PhD research on the promotion of transnational workers’ rights in Europe.By thus encouraging scientific, legal and political work and activity to promote the further development, full recognition and better implementation of trade union and workers’ rights, the Award seeks to build bridges between young academics and the trade union movement in Europe.

The 2015 laureate

The 2015 laureate is Raphaël Callsen for his PhD research titled 'Overriding mandatory rules and public policy exception in international labour law – A German-French comparison.

Abstract:The thesis investigates the protection offered to transnational workers by choice of law rules. It develops a new approach of interpreting and applying the Rome I regulation in the light of social rights enshrined especially in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. It is argued that these fundamental rights oblige national courts to ensure a minimal protection, for example against dismissal, by applying overriding mandatory rules or the public policy exception. According to the division of competences between the EU and the Member States, the material content of this protection, however, depends on the substantive labour law of the forum State. This approach offers a differentiated model to guarantee a minimal protection in cross-border employment relationships without sacrificing the predictability of solutions.

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Overriding mandatory rules and public policy exception in international labour law – A German-French comparison Original titles:Eingriffsnormen und Ordre public-Vorbehalt im Internationalen Arbeitsrecht – Ein deutsch-französischer VergleichLois de police et exception d’ordre public en droit du travail international Une comparaison franco-allemande Thesis directors: Prof. Dr. Antoine Lyon-Caen (Nanterre) and Prof. Dr. Olaf Deinert (Göttingen)

Raphaël Callsen

Born 1983 in Wuppertal

  • 2002 Final school exam (Abitur) in Wipperfürth, North-Rhine Westphalia
  • 2002-2004 Alternative civil service in La Paz working with street children
  • 2004-2011 Studies of law in Potsdam and Nanterre
  • 2007 Licence en Droit, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • 2008 Maîtrise en Droit, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • 2009 Master en Droit, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • 2011 First State Examination in Law, Potsdam
  • 2011-2013 Binational doctorate in law, University of Göttingen and University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
  • 2011-2012 Research assistant at the University of Göttingen
  • 2013-2014 Research assistant at the Cluster of Excellence "Normative Orders" University of Frankfurt/Main
  • 2013-2015 Trainee lawyer in Berlin2015 Second State Examination in Law, Berlin
  • Since August 2015 Lawyer admitted to the Berlin bar, specializing in labour and employment law at the lawyers’ office dka Rechtsanwälte Fachanwälte, PhD thesis

The 2011 laureate

The 2011 laureate was Rebecca Zahn, the first winner of the Brian Bercusson award for her PhD: German and British labour law in a European context following European union enlargement.
Souvenirs from the 12th ETUC Congress in Athens in 2011

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