The Law Society Business and Human Rights Programme
Law firms are under increasing pressure to recognise human rights, not only due to corporate responsibility obligations, but also the needs of their clients. The Law Society is currently delivering a programme to support its members to address issues surrounding business and human rights both within their own businesses and in their role as adviser to their clients.
How does business and human rights affect your practice?
In 2015 the Law Society initiated a process of engagement and consultation with its membership which identified three key areas in which developments in the area of business and human rights are likely to have implications for lawyers and law firms in the UK. These include:
- Advisory and other legal services provided by lawyers and law firms to clients: Clients’ awareness of their human rights responsibilities may drive an increase in requests for legal advice as part of their efforts to manage these risks. Where clients are not driving the increase in requests for legal advice, there may be a role for lawyers to play in raising awareness among clients of such risk exposure. Law firms can also provide support to clients seeking to proactively manage human rights issues.
- Management of law firms as business enterprises: As business enterprises, law firms also have a responsibility to respect human rights. Accordingly, they should take steps to avoid adversely impacting human rights through their operations and business (including client) relationships, and to address impacts with which they are involved.
- The professional responsibilities of lawyers and law firms: It is critical that lawyers and law firms working to meet their responsibility to respect human rights do so in a manner that complies with all applicable codes of professional conduct for the legal profession in the UK and in any other jurisdiction in which they practice.
Find out more
The Law Society’s Business and Human Rights programme will be running a series of events and activities throughout 2015 across England & Wales including:
- One-to-one consultations: We’d like to talk to you about your business and how human rights can be impacting on your firm or clients. Our Business and Human Rights programme team will be travelling around England & Wales to meet and talk to you in person to discuss your business needs and how we can support you in developing effective policies and procedures within your practices.
- Business and Human Rights seminars and consultative forums in London, Cambridge, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff
- Opportunities for members to become more familiar with recent developments in the area of business and human rights and the implications of these for their practices
- Opportunities to share your views through our online survey and written submissions
For more information on events in your area, an opportunity to meet with one of our expert consultancy team or more information on the programme please contact Sarah Smith at BHR@lawsociety.org.uk