Nicola Countouris

Nicola Countouris

Laurea (Bari, Italy), MSc (LSE), MJur (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

Chair of LLB Faculty Board of Examiners, Professor of Law, Coordinator: Labour Rights Institute

+44 (0)20 3108 8324


Nicola Countouris joined UCL Laws in 2009 and was promoted to a Professorship in 2015. Before joining UCL he had taught law at the Universities of Reading, LSE, and Oxford, where he also obtained his DPhil under the supervision of Professor Mark Freedland.

He has acted as an independent expert for the International Labour Office and on a number of European Commission projects, and has been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Bologna, Pompeu Fabra, Nantes, and Seinan Gakuin.

He is one of the co-ordinators and founding member of UCL’s Labour Rights Institute, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute of Employment Rights.

He is also a contributing editor for the International Labour Law Reports series, an editor of the European Labour Law Journal and for the Italian journal Giornale di Diritto del Lavoro e di Relazioni Industriali, a co-coordinator of the ILERA study group on Labour Law and Industrial Relations, and a founding member of the international ‘Labour Law Research Network’.



Nicola’s main research interests are in Labour Law, UK, international, and comparative EU Law, Social Security Law, and Public Law. He is currently working on a number of projects ranging from the impact of the ongoing economic crisis on (European and UK) labour and social law, to the relationship between free trade and labour standards, to the role of G. A. Cohen’s work in the analysis of labour relations. He is currently writing a monograph seeking to offer a novel and critical understanding of the integration and fragmentation dynamics affecting European Labour Law, and remains committed to the study and understanding of the law of the contract of employment.

View Nicola’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website




  • M. Freedland and N. Kountouris, The Legal Construction of Personal Work Relations (OUP, Oxford, 2011).
  • P. Craig, M. Freedland, C. Jacqueson, N. Kountouris, Public Employment Services and European Law (OUP, Oxford, 2007).
  • N. Countouris, The Changing Law of the Employment Relationship: Comparative Analyses in the European Context (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007).


Edited Books

  • M. Freedland, A. Bogg, D. Cabrelli, H. Collins, N. Countouris, A.C.L. Davies, S. Deakin, and J. Prassl (eds.), The Contract of Employment (OUP, Oxford, 2016)
  • N. Countouris and M. Freedland (eds.), Resocialising Europe in a Time of Crisis (CUP, Cambridge, 2013).
  • D. Ashiagbord, N. Countouris, I. Lianos (eds), The EU after Lisbon (CUP, Cambridge, 2012).


Chapters in Books

  • N. Countouris, ‘EU Law and the Regulation of ‘Atypical’ Work’, in A. Bogg, C. Costello, and ACL Davies (eds), Research Handbook on EU Labour Law (Edward Elgar, 2016),246.
  • S. Engblom, N. Kountouris and Å. Odin Ekman ‘Temporary Labour Migration and the Trade in Services: European and Global Perspectives in an Age of Economic Integration’ in J. Howe and R. Owens (eds.), Temporary Labour Migration in the Global Era – The Regulatory Challenges (Hart, Oxford, 2016), 65.
  • N. Countouris, ‘The Contract of Employment as an Expression of Continuing Obligations’, in M. Freedland, A. Bogg, D. Cabrelli, H. Collins, N. Countouris, A.C.L. Davies, S. Deakin, and J. Prassl (eds.), The Contract of Employment (OUP, Oxford, 2016), 362.
  • N. Countouris and S. Sanders, ‘Variation and Suspension of the Contract of Employment and its Terms’ in M. Freedland, A. Bogg, D. Cabrelli, H. Collins, N. Countouris, A.C.L. Davies, S. Deakin, and J. Prassl (eds.), The Contract of Employment (OUP, Oxford, 2016), 492.G.
  • G. Davidov, M. Freedland, and N. Kountouris, ‘The Subjects of Labor law: “Employees” and Other Workers’, in M. Finkin and G. Mundlak (eds.), Research Handbook In Comparative Labor Law (Edward Elgar, 2015), 115.
  • N. Countouris and S. Engblom, ‘Civilising the European Posted Workers Directive’, in M. Freedland and J. Prassl (eds), EU Law in the Member StatesViking, Laval, and Beyond (Hart, Oxford, 2015), 279.
  • M. Freedland and N. Kountouris, ‘The Right to (Decent) Work in a European Comparative Perspective’, in V. Mantouvalou (ed.), The Right to Work (Hart, Oxford, 2015), 123.
  • N. Countouris and W. Njoya, ‘The Acquired Rights Directive’ in M. Schlachter (ed) European Labour Law: A Commentary (Wolters Kluwer, 2014), 421.
  • N. Countouris, ‘Uses and Misuses of Mutuality of Obligations’ in A. Bogg, C. Costello, A. Davies, J. Prassl (eds), The Autonomy of Labour Law (Hart, Oxford, 2014), 169.
  • N. Countouris and M. Freedland, ‘Common Law and Voice’, in A. Bogg and T. Novitz (eds), Voices at Work – Continuity and Change in the Common Law World (OUP, Oxford, 2014).
  • N. Countouris and M. Freedland, ‘Labour Regulation and the Economic Crisis in Europe: Challenges, Responses and Prospects’, in J. Heyes and L. Rychly (eds), Labour Administration in Uncertain Times (Edward Elgar and ILO, 2013), 66-94.
  • M. Freedland and N. Kountouris, ‘The Legal Characterization of Personal Work Relations and the Idea of Labour Law’, in G. Davidov and B. Langille (eds), The Idea of Labour Law (OUP, Oxford, 2011), 190.
  • N. Countouris, ‘The Employment Relationship – A Comparative Analysis of National Judicial Approaches’, in G. Casale (ed) The employment relationship: A collection of essays (ILO, Geneva, 2011).
  • N. Countouris, ‘La Corte di Giustizia e il Vaso di Pandora del Diritto Sindacale Europeo – Un Punto di Vista Britannico’ in A. Vimercati (ed.), Libertà economiche e autonomia collettiva: un conflitto sbilanciato? (Cacucci, Bari, 2009).
  • M. Freedland and N. Kountouris ‘The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Work and Pensions – The Institutional Face at Ministerial Level – or ‘Not the Department of Employment” in L Dickens and A Neal (eds) The Changing Face of British Employment Relations (Kluwer, The Hague, 2006).


  • N. Countouris, S. Deakin, M. Freedland, A. Koukiadaki, and J. Prassl, Report on Temporary Employment Agencies and Temporary Agency Work and Report on Collective Dismissals (2014). Two reports produced for the ILO in the context of a technical assistance programme with Greece (unpublished)
  • N. Countouris and M. Freedland, The Personal Scope of the EU Sex Equality Directives (2012). A report produced for the European Commission by the European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality.


  • R. Dukes and N. Kountouris, ‘Pre-strike Ballots, Picketing and Protest: Banning Industrial Action by the Back Door?’ (2016) Industrial Law Journal, 337.
  • N. Countouris and S. Engblom, ‘‘Protection or protectionism?’: A Legal Deconstruction of the Emerging False Dilemma in European Integration’ (2015) European Labour Law Journal, 20.
  • N. Countouris, ‘The Spirit of Philadelphia – Book Review’ (2015) Comp. Labor Law and Policy Journal,159.
  • N. Countouris and M. Freedland, ‘’Work’, ‘Self-employment’, and Other Personal Work Relations: Who should be Protected Against Sex Discrimination in Europe’ (2013) European gender Equality Law Review, 15.
  • N. Kountouris, ‘The Legal Determinants of Precariousness in Personal Work Relations – A European Perspective’ (2012),Comp. Labor Law and Policy Journal, 101.
  • N. Countouris, ‘Remoulding the Scope of Application of Anti-discrimination Law’ (2012), CLJ, 47 (Case note).
  • M. Freedland and N. Kountouris, ‘Employment Equality and Personal Work Relations – a critique of Jivraj v Hashwani’ (2012), ILJ, 56.
  • N. Countouris and M. Freedland, ‘Injunctions, Cyanamid, and the Corrosion of the Right to Strike in the UK’ (2011),European Labour Law Journal, 489.
  • N. Countouris, ‘European Social Law as an Autonomous Legal Discipline’ (2010), Yearbook of European Law 2009, 95.
  • N. Countouris and R. Horton, ‘The Temporary Agency Work Directive: Another Broken Promise?’ (2009), ILJ, 329.
  • M. Freedland and N. Kountouris, ‘Towards a Comparative Theory of the Contractual Construction of Personal Work Relations in Europe‘, (2008), ILJ, 49-74 (also published in German as M Freedland and N Kountouris, ‘Eine vergleichende Theorie über die vertragliche Konstruktion persönlicher Arbeitsbeziehungen in Europa’, ZESAR  Heft 5/6 2008, 209-221)This article was selected by the ILJ editor Prof. Simon Deakin as one of the 12 most significant articles in the journal’s 40-year history.
  • M. Freedland e N. Countouris, ‘Politiche del mercato del lavoro e diritti e doveri in Europa’, (2005), Giornale di Diritto del Lavoro e Relazioni Industriali, 577-613.

Conference Papers and Public Presentations (selected)

  • November 2016, Luxembourg, ‘Enhancing the European Social Model – The EU concept of ‘worker’
  • September 2016, Athens, ‘European Labour Law as a Safety Net: The Case of Collective Redundancies’ (with A. Koukiadaki) – 75th anniversary conference by the Greek labour law journal ‘Epitheorissis Ergatikou Dikaiou
  • September 2016. Brussels. ‘Practical Approaches to Tackling Bogus Self-Employment – a European Perspective’ (FIA International Conference on The Future of Work in the Arts, Media & Entertainment Sector – Meeting the Challenge of Atypical Working.
  • December 2016, Brussels, ETUC, ‘Who is a worker in EU Labour Law’
  • October 2015, Sofia, ILO/ACTRAV Conference, ‘The Precarisation of Work Relations in Europe’s Public Sector’June 2015, Onati, ‘Temporary Labour Migration and the Trade in Services Angle – European and Global Perspectives in an Age of Economic Integration’ (with S. Engblom)
  • May 2015, European Parliament, GUE-NGL, ‘’The Legacy of the Economic Crisis and Europe’s Social Deficit’ (with Aristea Koukiadaki)
  • March 2015, Chuo University, Tokyo, ‘The Posting of Workers in the EU – A Regional Tale of Free Trade in Services v Workers Rights’
  • July 2014, Zagreb, ILO/ACTRAV Conference, ‘Precarious Work Relationships in Europe’
  • October 2013, ERA, Thessaloniki, ‘EU Gender Equality Law – Seminar for Members of the Judiciary’.
  • October 2013, London, IER, ‘The Changing Face of Collective Labour Law.
  • July 2013, Oxford, Oxford Labour Law, ‘Labour Law as Comparative Law – Uses and Misuses of Mutuality of Obligations’.
  • June 2013, Barcelona, LLRN Inaugural Conference, ‘Protection or Protectionism: The Emerging False Dilemma in European Integration’ (with S. Engblom).
  • March 2013, Industrial Law Society, London, ‘Who is a workers in European labour law? And who should be’.
  • September 2012, Bristol, SLS Conference, ‘Labour Law and the Rise of the Consumer – From the “Binary Divide” to the New “False Quadrilemma’ (advanced draft).
  • July 2012, Philadelphia, ILERA World Congress 2012, ‘Labour Law and the Rise of the Consumer – From the “Binary Divide” to the New “False Quadrilemma”’ (early draft).
  • November 2011, SOAS LLLdg, ‘Employee status and the scope of application of equality law after Jivraj v Hashwani(Supreme Court)’ (with Mark-Freedland).
  • June 2011, Stockholm, ‘UK labour and social legislation during the current economic recession’.
  • May 2011, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘The Legal Determinants of Precariousness in Personal Work Relations – a European perspective’ (paper to be published in 2012).
  • May 2009, King’s College London, ‘Contractual Structure and Termination of Personal Work Contracts in European Law’ (co-presented with Mark Freedland).
  • February 2009, University of Cambridge, ‘Good Faith and Fair Dealing in Personal Work Contracts’ (co-presented with Mark Freedland).
  • October 2008, University of Cyprus, ‘ Harmonisation in Practice: the Case of European Social and Labour Law’.
  • June 2008, University of Bari, ‘The ECJ and the Pandora’s Box of European Collective Labour Law – A British Viewpoint’.
  • July 2007, University of Beijing, ‘The status of professionals in European Law’ (co-presented with Mark Freedland).
  • May 2007, University of Bologna, ‘The Regulation of Fixed-term Work in the United Kingdom’.
  • March 2007, University of Cambridge, ‘Flexibility, Security & Personal Work Arrangements: Beyond the Contract of Employment: The Case of the UK’ (co-presented with Mark Freedland).
  • Jan 2007, LSE (London), ‘EU Commission Green Paper ‘Modernising labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century’ – Analysis of Subsection 4.b and replies to questions 7 and 8 of the Green Paper Questionnaire’.


Current Teaching

Employment Law
EU Law
Public Law I

European Employment and Equality Law
International Labour Rights in the Global Economy


PhD Supervision
June Namgoon