Dr Rebecca Zahn



Personal statement

My main research interests and specialisation lie in European, national and comparative labour and employment law. I am currently working on the relationship between historical studies and labour law in order to understand the development of labour/employment laws and their role in society. I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2021 for a project entitled ‘Revealing the Importance of Ideas: The Intellectual History of Labour Law’. The project compares the different debates taking place on worker representation on company boards in German and British intellectual circles at a critical historical juncture in the 1940s. It uses these debates as a case study to trace the movement of legal ideas across national boundaries, and to explore alternative narratives which have escaped legal attention. The eventual aim of the project is to provide a better understanding of the intellectual history of labour laws which should facilitate a deeper and more nuanced understanding of labour laws’ origins and their distinctiveness. I teach EU law, labour law, commercial law and Scots contract law, and have previously also taught delict (tort). I am the book review editor for the Industrial Law Journal, 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.

Prizes and awards

Visiting Professorship Sciences Po Grenoble
International Researcher Scholarship, Max Planck Institute for comparative and international private law
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Runner-up of the International Labor and Employment Relations Associations' Luis Aparicio Prize
Convenor of the Labour Law Section of the Society of Legal Scholars
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Non-stipendiary Fellow

More prizes and awards


Less than zero? The fragmentation of worker protection in UK employment law
Busby Nicole, Zahn Rebecca
Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal (2022)
Migrant Labour and the Reshaping of Employment Law
Ryan Bernard, Zahn Rebecca
Trade unions, women's labour and the gig economy
Zahn Rebecca, Busby Nicole
The Routledge Handbook of the Gig Economy (2022) (2022)
Industrial democracy in the UK : precursors to the Bullock Report
Zahn Rebecca
Rechtsgeschichte - Legal History Vol Rg 30, pp. 161-171 (2022)
Introducing the EUFutures research network : inter-disciplinary approaches to connecting EU law, policy and politics
Zahn Rebecca, Fahey Elaine, Terpan Fabien
New labour laws in old member states : the impact of the EU enlargements on national labour law systems in Europe
Zahn Rebecca
Migrant Labour and the Reshaping of Employment Law (2022) (2022)

More publications

Professional activities

Human Rights Consortium Scotland (External organisation)
PhD Thesis External Examiner
UACES Annual Conference
Modern Law Review (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Republicanism and Labor Justice
Invited speaker
Culture and Work

More professional activities


Revealing the Importance of Ideas: The Intellectual History of Labour Law
Zahn, Rebecca (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2024
Future-Mapping EU Integration: Inter-disciplinary approaches to connecting EU Law, policy & politics
Zahn, Rebecca (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2025
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
The Future of Teaching EU Law in Scottish Law Schools post-Brexit
Zahn, Rebecca (Principal Investigator)
This one-day workshop, funded by the Society of Legal Scholars, discusses the impact of Brexit on the Scots Law curriculum and, in particular, on the future of EU law teaching in Scottish Law Schools. The workshop has a strong regional focus and involvement. It brings together academics from all seven Scottish Law Schools involved in teaching core EU law classes; legal practitioners from the largest Scottish law firms; the Law Society of Scotland; Universities Scotland; and, representatives from publishers in order to consider curriculum reform after Brexit. The workshop is organised by Professor Nicole Busby and Dr Rebecca Zahn in collaboration with the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE). SULNE was formed following the UK’s EU referendum to provide a one-stop shop for legal advice, opinion and education for all stakeholders who are engaged in difficult policy choices concerning Brexit. SULNE is led by a team from the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh consisting of: Prof. Jo Shaw, Prof. Noreen Burrows, Prof. Nicole Busby, Ms Maria Fletcher, Dr Rebecca Zahn and Dr Tobias Lock. Representatives from Scotland’s law schools are represented on a steering committee.
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2017

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