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Business and Human Rights Training for Law Firms

A 3-hour workshop for lawyers in all practice areas delivered within law firm offices.

What are the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)?

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘UNGPs’) provide a global standard for action and accountability against which the conduct of both states and business entities should be assessed. The UNGPs are based on the three pillar UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework under which all business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights and to address any negative impact. This approach differs significantly from concepts of corporate social responsibility (‘CSR’), clearly outlining responsibility and accountability.

The UNGPs represent a significant development toward the universal upholding of human rights. International legal instruments and initiatives will contribute to the evolution of this agenda, with lawyers playing a vital role in helping businesses avoid involvement in human rights violations. Lawyers are required to understand international human rights principles and how they relate to businesses’ operations. They also need to know how these principles relate to their advice to business clients and to internal operations.

What is A4ID doing in this field?

  • Compiled and published A Guide for the Legal Profession on the UNGPs
  • Provides training on Business & Human Rights in our annual Law & Development Training Programme.
  •  Holds thematic Knowledge Groups to discuss specific Business and Human Rights issues.
  • Conducts Business & Human Rights Workshops for law firms in Europe.
  • Conducts Business & Human Rights training courses for lawyers in Kenya and India, strengthened by ongoing peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing networks.
  • Have joined the UN Global Compact and committed to their 10 Principles.

Why attend this workshop?

Law firms are increasingly finding that their business clients seek and require legal advice on the human rights aspects of their transactions and activities, to identify and mitigate risks, comply with international and national regulations, and to promote their visibility as ethical businesses. This situation presents a challenge to business lawyers; they are required understand and integrate human rights into their current representation and advisory services. It also presents an opportunity to expand the scope of advice and develop new services in light of the growing expectation that businesses respect human rights throughout their operations.

This growing expectation, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, is evident in governmental procurement processes, financial institutions’ lending requirements, such as the Equator Principles, measurement indicators of businesses performance, and additional reporting requirements on social and environmental matters, like those introduced with the 2013 revisions to the UK Companies Act.

Finally, businesses, as part of their supply chain management and procurement practices are requiring law firms to express their commitment to respect human rights.

This workshop will facilitate lawyers’ incorporation of human rights into their services and the implementation of a human rights-based approach within the firm.

  • Part I: International human rights principles applicable to businesses
  • Part II: Advising business clients on human rights
  • Part III: Implementing human rights within the law firm

Training Method:

Utilising interactive exercises and real case studies, the course actively engages participants in acquiring familiarity with key principles in the rapidly developing area of Business and Human Rights and practical experience in applying these principles to client matters.

Our expert trainer, Dr. Corinne Lewis, brings to her work both a corporate law background, as in-house counsel for nearly a decade with a major Japanese multinational company, and two decades of international human rights law experience. She served as a legal officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and has taught public international law at the London School of Economics and public international law and human rights law courses at the University of Houston.

Dr. Corinne has provided counsel and training on Business & Human Rights to businesses, NATO forces, governments and international organisations like the World Bank. She worked on A4ID’s guide on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

“A4IDs course on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provides an excellent insight on the practical importance of this subject to all businesses, whether local or multinational.

The participative format engaged the attention of our busy deal lawyers and showed them how this can be relevant to their day to day practice. As we are asked by clients to consider these issues more and more, we expect to use this course as part of our training programme.”

Peter King, Corporate Partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

“A4ID was the first major international organisation to identify the relevance of the application of the Guiding Principles to the practice of law beyond pro bono work.”

International Bar Association (IBA), Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers (2016), Reference Annex

Please contact our Head of Learning, Laurene Veale, for more information and a quote.

E: laurene.veale@a4id.org

T: +44 (0) 20 7250 8358

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