Trade Union Immunities: The Heart of the Matter

  • Charles G. Hanson


Quite understandably the term ‘trade union immunities’ is not calculated to set the heart pounding or the pulse racing. On the contrary, because it is a technical, legal term it is likely to cause all those who do not have some legal expertise to switch off abruptly. But such a tendency must be resisted, because the existence of unconditional and practically unlimited legal immunities for trade unions and their officials from 1906 to 1980 lies at the heart of the British trade union problem and, some would say, at the heart of the economic problem too.


Trade Union Union Member Union Membership National Newspaper Strike Action 
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  1. 1.
    A. V. Dicey, Lectures on the Relation between Law and Public Opinion in England during the Nineteenth Century, Macmillan, 1963, p. 468.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid, p. xlvi.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. and B. Webb, The History of Trade Unionism, Authors’ Edition, 1920, p. 606.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. Whincup, Modern Employment Law, Heinemann, 6th Edition, 1988, p. 92.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    For a more extensive discussion of the relationship between legal reform and economic change, see Charles G. Hanson, ‘Economic Significance of British Labor Law Reform’, Cato Journal, Winter 1987, pp. 851–868.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    H. C. Simons, ‘Reflections on Syndicalism’, Journal of Political Economy, March 1944, p. 4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Charles G. Hanson 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles G. Hanson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Newcastle upon TyneUK

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