Business and Human Rights - our experience

Policy commitments
  • advising a transport company on the updating of its human rights policy, taking into account particular sensitivities around freedom of association
  • advising an energy company embarking upon developing a human rights policy, including in relation to treatment of indigenous peoples
Due diligence and impact assessments
  • designing the methodology for and conducting a human rights impact assessment, with a focus on a proposed relationship with a defence sector customer
  • assisting an energy company on human rights due diligence for the purposes of M&A transactions
  • advising a FMCG company on human rights due diligence for the purposes of its joint venture arrangements and M&A activities
Compliance programmes
  • advising a major ICT company on the design and implementation of a human rights compliance programme incorporating the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • undertaking a gap analysis and benchmarking exercise for an extractives sector company to assess its position on key requirements under ‘soft laws’ on human rights
Supply chain risks
  • advising major corporations on US, EU and UK law and policy on modern slavery and human trafficking and their impacts on global supply chains
  • developing supplier codes of conduct for a number of multinational corporations, some with supply chains incorporating particular areas of human rights risk
Human rights reporting
  • advising a number of multinational companies on UK human rights reporting requirements, and the content of their strategic reports and sustainability reports
  • assisting companies in the extractives and logging sectors to apply EU and UK requirements to report payments to governments, and designing methodologies to gather data from group companies
Litigation and liability risks
  • advising a multinational corporation on emerging law and policy in a number of jurisdictions on the liability of parent companies for human rights abuses or complicity by their subsidiaries
  • reviewing the liability risk exposure of a mining company and its parent from claims that a subsidiary had been complicit in human rights abuses by security forces
  • advising on the litigation and legal obligations relevant to companies in respect of adverse human rights impacts
  • advising on the OECD National Contact Point complaints process and the "case law" this has created
Human rights in major transactions
  • advising on the application of social and human rights aspects of the Equator Principles, IFC Performance Standards and OECD Common Approaches on a range of market-leading project financings
  • advising an agri-commodities  corporation on legal risks associated with modern slavery allegations made against a target company and drafting relevant contractual protections in M&A documentation
  • advising companies on the potential human rights implications of stabilisation arrangements
  • advising on resettlement, land rights and processes for free prior informed consent of indigenous peoples 
Human rights as a defence tool

Our recent experience includes proceedings before civil, constitutional and criminal courts, the European Court of Human Rights, regulators, arbitral tribunals and the European Commission, invoking:

  • rights to property and non-discrimination rights, against legislation which has the direct or indirect effect of expropriation
  • the right to freedom of expression, where State intervention has limited media pluralism
  • general principles of EU law, such as free movement of services and capital and the prohibition of State aid, when national legislation discriminates between competitors from multiple EU Member States
  • the right to a fair trial, when limited protection of due process has been available under domestic legislation in the context of regulatory investigations
  • the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings, and in the context of parliamentary enquiries
  • the right to privacy, to protect business secrets and in relation to search and seizure warrants
Other human rights work
  • providing human rights training to the legal team at a multinational food & beverage company
  • advising the United Nations Global Compact on its Global Corporate Counsel Initiative on the role of in-house counsel in fostering sustainable business
  • advising on a range of human rights issues on a pro bono basis. For more information on our pro bono experience, please visit our Responsibility web page and view our brochure.