Developments in globalization and industrialization continuously push governments, international organizations, and NGOs to reexamine the opportunities available to people at all levels of society to attain basic socioeconomic necessities and capacities.

Research into existing social justice initiatives shows a need for an institution that serves as a one-stop shop for individuals, businesses, NGOs and policymakers seeking advice and information or needing technical assistance relating to social justice; specifically pertaining to international labor rights and regulatory framework.

Therefore, The Hague Institute for Global Justice and Leiden University have established the Social Justice Expertise Center (SJEC), an institution whose programs are designed to detect these deficiencies and address them for relevant stakeholders.

The following are the aims and working methods of SJEC:

  • SJEC conducts research, publishes and develops policy advice on the application, implementation, and enforcement of existing labor right frameworks.
  • SJEC organizes and facilitates thematic formal and informal multi-stakeholder dialogues on relevant international labor issues.
  • SJEC undertakes tailor-made capacity-building projects which aim at equipping labor rights stakeholders with the necessary tools for maximizing the outputs of their professional endeavors.
  • SJEC aims to develop a well-recognized online platform for fundamental labor rights documentation.

Activities and Projects

Ensuring Coherence in Fundamental Labor Rights Case Law: Challenges and Opportunities

The Social Justice Expertise is pleased to share the booklet Ensuring Coherence in Fundamental Labor Rights Case Law: Challenges and Opportunities, a product of the first global conference for labor law judges and other adjudicator held on 22 April 2016 in Leiden, the Netherlands. The conference brought together an international group of members of (quasi-) judicial bodies to discuss the ever-growing number of bodies currently in charge of monitoring the implementation and enforcement of fundamental labor rights. Participants and speakers at the conference discussed the options for and implications of ensuring coherence in the interpretation of fundamental labor rights.

The booklet contains contributions from Judge Dean Spielmann, Professor Monika Schlachter, Professor Titia Loenen, Professor Niklas Bruun, Dr. Claire La Hovary, Professor Brian Langille and Judge François Biltgen.

International Labor Rights Case Law (ILaRC)

SJEC is currently collaborating with BRILL Publishers to produce the International Labor Rights Case Law (ILaRC) Journal. ILaRC focuses primarily on international developments relating to case law on fundamental rights at the workplace. The Journal provides access to the relevant texts of key international cases, drawing upon the decisions of regional and international mechanisms. This includes (quasi)judicial decisions from the ILO Committees, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as well as key national courts such as the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of India. ILaRC also contains commentaries on selected decisions from leading international labor law academics from around the world. The first triannual ILaRC issue was published in April 2015.

Training Seminars for Labor Practitioners (ILaRC Seminars)

The Social Justice Expertise Center shall organize regular stakeholders’ workshops on fundamental labor rights case-law. These seminars will be used to highlight the most relevant recent fundamental labor right decisions and their importance for future of global labor rights application. The ILaRC seminars shall welcome legal practitioners, civil society representatives and scholars active in the field of labor rights. Special training sessions will also be organized for judges working within international labor rights decision-making and who have an interest in keeping up to date on developments in other (quasi-)judicial bodies.

Each seminar shall be delivered by a highly esteemed scholar in the field of international labor rights. For attorneys in the Netherlands, the training can be used as a means to acquire the study credits as required by the Netherlands Bar Association (NOvA). The inaugural training session will take place in November 2015.

Online Database for Fundamental Labor Rights

As part of achieving its ambitions of becoming a well-recognized online hub for fundamental labor rights documentation, SJEC will develop an online database containing a sophisticated search engine that will allow labor rights stakeholders access to structured documentation relating to the subject. The content of the website will specifically focus on fundamental labor rights documentation. The documentation will comprise of international legal frameworks, links to relevant organization that deal with fundamental labor rights organizations and publications on the subject and so on. The interactive web-portal shall also serve as a means to subscribe to and access issues of the International Labor Rights Case Law (ILaRC) Journal. The construction of the database will commence in Spring 2015.