There is increasing pressure on businesses to take steps to ascertain, manage and account for their human rights impacts and explain how they are accomplishing 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.
“Global powerhouse with a notable presence in the business and human rights law space.” Chambers Global, 2020
Around the world, our lawyers 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.
In many regions, legislation has been enacted, aimed at improving corporate reporting on human rights issues and introducing mandatory human rights due diligence. The expectation on businesses to consider their environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts is already familiar to many companies, particularly those with a prominent public profile dependent on a strong reputation. Increasingly, these corporates are under scrutiny from regulators, investors and shareholders, customers, the public and other stakeholders to demonstrate respect for human rights, and we are able to help navigate the intricacies of necessary processes and reporting mechanisms to ensure human rights impact risks are identified and mitigated.
Besides our work for corporate clients, our South African team has a long history of social responsibility and human rights work, having had a human rights department since the 1980s and offering a full commitment to pro bono work, including human rights litigation. Our lawyers offer advice and legal representation to non-governmental, non-profit, community-based, public benefit, corporate or unincorporated bodies, trusts, foundations and charities working to secure or protect human rights and individuals or groups whose inability to afford legal fees means they are denied access to justice.
Our areas of work include
- Business ethics and anti-corruption
- Compliance with international and domestic laws
- Corporate governance
- Corporate reporting requirements
- Crisis management
- Dispute resolution and litigation
- Due diligence and impact assessments
- Environmental, social and governance (ESG)
- Human rights and supply chain due diligence
- Human rights-related complaints
- Human rights training
- Internal investigations
- Modern slavery reporting
- Official language and linguistics rights-related complaints
- Policy development
- Reputation and defamation protection
- Risk advisory
Awards and accolades
- Chambers Global, Global-wide: Business and Human Rights Law, Chambers and Partners, 2020