Business and human rights

There is increasing pressure on businesses to take steps to ascertain, manage and account for their human rights impacts and explain how they are doing this. This pressure is taking on a more obvious legal dimension, as notions of moral and ethical responsibility begin to transform into harder edged legal duties, predominantly through legislative and regulatory developments, and litigation.

At national level, legislation has been enacted or is being considered in major jurisdictions aimed at improving corporate reporting on human rights issues and at introducing mandatory human rights due diligence. Examples include the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act mandating public disclosures on company websites detailing efforts to prevent human rights violations in the supply chain, the 2013 amendments to the 2006 UK Companies Act requiring directors to include information on human rights in their strategic reports, the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the EU Directive 2014/95 regarding the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups.

We advise clients on compliance with human rights laws, as well as the principal international frameworks containing human rights requirements for businesses, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, IFC Performance Standards, and the Equator Principles.

Our areas of work

  • Compliance with international and domestic law
  • Corporate reporting requirements
  • Due diligence and impact assessments
  • Human rights related complaints
  • Human rights training
  • Internal investigations
  • Policy development



<em>Lungowe v Vedanta</em> appeal highlights important points regarding parent company liability