Dr Rebecca ZAHN

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

My main research interests and specialisation lie in European, national and comparative labour law. I teach EU law, labour law and Scots contract law, and have previously also taught commercial law and delict (tort).

I am currently working on an historical labour law project, funded by a British Academy Small Research Grant, which examines British influences on German codetermination by looking at the interactions between exiled German trade unionists and British trade unions during World War Two. In this context, I am interested in German and British labour movements' understandings of industrial democracy and codetermination during the 20th century.

I have published widely in the field of (European) labour law including a monograph entitled New Labour Laws in Old Member States (CUP, 2017) which compared Austrian, German, British, Irish and Swedish trade union responses to increased labour migration following the EU's Eastern Enlargements. The book was reviewed in the (2020) Edinburgh Law Review, the (2018) 47(2) Industrial Law Journal and (2018) 43(3) European Law Review where it described as ‘socio-legal EU scholarship of the very best sort […] a rich and theoretically informed novel account of the law in practice; and inspiration for future legal developments.’

My contribution to the field of labour and employment relations research was acknowledged in 2018 when I was a runner up of the International Labor and Employment Relations Associations’ (ILERA) Luis Aparicio Prize for emerging scholars.

I have also published doctrinal work on the contract of employment (with David Cabrelli, University of Edinburgh) which was cited with approval by Lords Hope, Wilson and Sumption in the Supreme Court decision Société Générale v Geys [2012] UKSC 63. I am currently (together with David Cabrelli) examining the relationship between domination-based conceptions of social justice and labour law.

I am a case and comment editor for the Juridical Review (the Law Journal of the Scottish Universities) and an editor of Green's Employment Law Bulletin. I am on the Research Committe of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the management board of the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE) and am one of the lead academics in the Civil Society Brexit Project, funded by the Legal Education Foundation until 2022, which helps civil society organisations in Scotland to prepare for Brexit consequences for themselves or their service users.

I joined the University of Strathclyde in 2015 from the University of Stirling where I held a lectureship in law. Prior to that, I was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence.

I received my Ph.D in Law from the University of Edinburgh. My PhD thesis was awarded the European Trade Union Confederation’s Brian Bercusson Award for the best PhD thesis to have been submitted in European Labour Law between 2006 and 2010.



The politics of European labour law
Zahn Rebecca
Research Handbook on the Politics of EU Law (2020) (2020)
Trade unions, the gig economy and the feminisation of work : lessons from the past?
Zahn Rebecca
Theorising Labour Law in a Changing World (2019) (2019)
Do employers need to record working time? The Court of Justice gives guidance in Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) v. Deutsche Bank SAE
Zahn Rebecca
European Papers, pp. 1-5 (2019)
The consequences of ‘Brexit’ for the UK and Scotland’s constitutional landscape
Zahn Rebecca
Ausstieg, Souveränität, Isolation (2019) (2019)
Scottish legal education after Brexit
Da Lomba Sylvie, Fletcher Maria, Zahn Rebecca
Law Teacher Vol 53, pp. 138-147 (2019)
Civic republican political theory and labour law
Cabrelli David, Zahn Rebecca
Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (2018) (2018)

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Professional activities

Industrial Law Society Annual Conference
Invited speaker
R. Zahn, ‘After the referendum and before Brexit… Where now for workers’ rights in the EU?’, European Law Blog, 28 June 2016 available at http://europeanlawblog.eu/?p=3248.
Invited talk to the Creation of Reality Group on 'The Origins of Codetermination: Tracing the British Influence'
Shaping Future Directions in EU Labour Law
Labour Law Research Network Conference
London Labour Law Discussion Group
Invited speaker

more professional activities


Empowering civil society in Scotland to engage in Brexit-related constitutional change
ZAHN, Rebecca (Co-investigator) Busby, Nicole (Co-investigator) Fletcher, Maria (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2022
Exiled influences on German codetermination
ZAHN, Rebecca (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2020
Civil Society and Brexit
Busby, Nicole (Principal Investigator) ZAHN, Rebecca (Principal Investigator)
This joint venture between Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS; a network of Scottish civil society organisations) and Scottish Universities Legal Network for Europe (SULNE) will deliver a programme of events, trainings, briefings, and information alerts tailored to the needs of civil society organisations in Scotland.
By bringing together the civil society contacts, networking, capacity building and collaborative approach of HRCS, with the legal and educational expertise of SULNE and its capacity for knowledge generation, this project will empower the Scottish third sector to engage with the process of the “EU (Withdrawal) Bill” at Westminster and in Scotland and the wider Brexit discussions. The advice generated will be politically neutral and unbiased. Findings from the project will be used to inform published research output. Impact of the project and related output on participating civil society organisations and on the third sector generally will be mapped and recorded as the project progresses.
03-Jan-2017 - 28-Jan-2019

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