The full article as published by the legal magazine Juriste International can be found attached. The article explains why business and human rights are becoming increasingly relevant to lawyers.

As stated in the article the Law Society strongly believe that:

The ramifications of legal liability in relation to human rights violations are crystallising with new cases being brought every day. The need for law firms to advise clients on business and human rights is increasing. And law firms themselves need to look at their own obligations as businesses.

In 2014 the Law Society launched a report from its practitioners advisory group (attached) established to consult the legal sector on business and human rights.

In other sectors, industry bodies are playing a key role in supporting their members to promote the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the legal profession is no different. Industries are increasingly looking at developing specific guidance on what the guiding principles mean for their sector.

‘The Law Society believes very strongly that the promotion of business and respect for human rights are mutually reinforcing’

As the representative body for the solicitors’ profession in England and Wales, we take seriously the role we can play raising awareness of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and how they can and should be applied to solicitors.

The Law Society is now in the process of implementing the recommendations, between April and June we will be carrying out a consultation with members, leading to the development of a Practice Note, to be published in September providing policy and guidance on Business and Human Rights.

In the run-up to publication of the Practice Note, we will be delivering a profession-wide communications campaign throughout England & Wales to build awareness of lawyers’ ‘business and human rights’ responsibilities.

From October, we will be delivering a series of supporting practical workshops across England and Wales, on-line training resources, and supporting publications and toolkits.

For further information please contact Human Rights and Rule of Law Policy Adviser Sarah Smith