Dr Niall O'Connor

Senior Lecturer
Essex Law School
Dr Niall O'Connor
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 874108

  • Location

    5S.4.12, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    On research leave until January 2024



Niall O'Connor is a Senior Lecturer at Essex Law School Dr O'Connor's research explores the relationship between fundamental rights concepts and the employment relationship, with a particular emphasis on the interaction between European Union-derived fundamental social rights, and domestic employment law. His most recent research explores the consequences of Brexit for the ongoing relevance and influence of EU fundamental rights in the United Kingdom's domestic legal system, with a particular emphasis on the social rights dimensions of Brexit. More broadly, Dr O'Connor has an interest in the competing value granted to business freedoms and social rights within EU law. In particular, his work has examined the nature and legal value of the freedom to conduct a business as a fundamental right in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, including in that concept's relationship with potentially competing economic and social rights, particularly in the employment field. Dr O'Connor also has research interests in the area of EU citizenship, notably in its social dimension, and has previously explored the notion of 'social citizenship' as a potential normative counterweight to economic aspects of EU integration, both within the EU itself, but also in the new legal order governing the UK's withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the EU. Prior to joining Essex Law School, Dr O'Connor completed a PhD in EU Labour Law at the University of Cambridge, UK, where he also supervised undergraduate papers in EU law and Labour law and acted as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge International Law Journal. Dr O'Connor also holds an LLM in European Law from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium and an LLB in Law and French from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Dr O'Connor welcomes applications from potential PhD candidates in the broad fields of EU law, Brexit, employment and labour law, citizenship, and fundamental rights.


  • PhD Law University of Cambridge, (2018)

  • LLM European Law College of Europe, (2013)

  • LL.B (ling. franc.) Law and French Trinity College, Dublin, (2012)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Employment Law

Key words: Economic and Social Rights
Open to supervise

Fundamental Rights

Key words: Economic and Social Rights
Open to supervise

European Union Law

Key words: Brexit
Open to supervise

Brexit Law

Key words: Withdrawal Agreement
Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Employment Law and Practice (LW251)

  • Final Year Research Project (LW304)

  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Context (LW930)

  • Legal Research Skills (LW254)


Journal articles (8)

O'Connor, N. and Harvey, D., (2024). Freedom of Movement and the Normative Value of the Right to Work in the United Kingdom Post-Brexit. Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, 1-24

O'Connor, N., (2023). Quasi (Social) Citizenship, the Common Travel Area, and the Fragmented Protection of Employment Rights in the United Kingdom after Brexit. European Labour Law Journal. 15 (2), 319-345

O'Connor, N., (2021). ‘Unchartered’ waters: fundamental rights, Brexit and the (re)constitution of the employment law hierarchy of norms. European Labour Law Journal. Online (1), 52-82

O'Connor, N., (2020). Whose Autonomy is it Anyway? Freedom of Contract, the Right to Work and the General Principles of EU Law. Industrial Law Journal. 49 (3), 285-317

Barnard, C. and O'Connor, N., (2017). Runners and riders: the horsemeat scandal, EU law and multi-level enforcement. The Cambridge law journal. 76 (01), 116-144

O'Connor, N., (2017). Interpreting employment legislation through a fundamental rights lens: What's the purpose. European Labour Law Journal. 8 (3), 193-216

O'Connor, NM., (2015). The Impact of Positive Action on Private Law Freedoms – Proposed EU Directive on Gender Balance in the Boardroom. Trinity College Law Review. XVIII, 128-153

O'Connor, N. and Harvey, D., (2015). 'European Dimensions'. United Kingdom Supreme Court Annual Review. 3, 244-253

Book chapters (4)

O'Connor, N., Labour Law in The United Kingdom Supreme Court. In: The Impact of the Supreme Courts on the Development of Labour Law in Europe. Editors: García Murcia, J., Rodriguez Cordo, IA. and Álvarez Alonso, D., . KRK. 370- 404. 9788483677889

O'Connor, N., (2020). The Right to Work and Rights in Work during the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Response of the United Kingdom. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 137- 145. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Hoekstra, J., Lawrence, J., O'Connor, N. and Vaccari, E., (2020). The Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Regulation of the Economy: A Discussion. In: Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. Editors: Ferstman, C. and Fagan, A., . University of Essex. 103- 105. 978-1-5272-6632-2

Harvey, D. and O'Connor, N., (2016). 'European Dimensions'. In: The UK Supreme Court Yearbook Volume 6: 2014-2015. Editors: Clarry, D., . Appellate Press. 289- 310. 9781911250203

Other (1)

Karapapa, S., Karatzia, A., Konstadinides, T. and O'Connor, N., (2020).Response to the consultation by the Ministry of Justice on the departure from retained EU case law by UK courts and tribunals,University of Essex, School of Law

Grants and funding


EU-CIEMBLY: Creating an Inclusive European Citizens� Assembly

European Commission


The Meaning of Work: Employee Perceptions of Hybrid Working

University of Essex (ESRC IAA)


The Future of Human Rights at Work: Brexit and Beyond

Modern Law Review

+44 (0) 1206 874108


5S.4.12, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

On research leave until January 2024

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