Intl. Bar Association’s global public consultation on draft guidance for lawyers on application of UN Guiding Principles

The International Bar Association (IBA) released its Draft Business and Human Rights Guidance for Bar Associations and Lawyers at the end of 2014.  It invited interested stakeholders to submit comments, and they are compiled below.  

For more details about the launch of the IBA Guidance, please click here.

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13 April 2015

NYU Stern Ctr. for Business & Human Rights says IBA draft guidelines for lawyers needs more "attention to substantive industry standards"

Author: Michael Posner & Sarah Labowitz, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights (USA)

Letter to Intl. Bar Association, 25 March 2015

We write to offer our comments to the International Bar Association (IBA)’s working draft, “Business and Human Rights Guidance for Bar Associations.” We wholeheartedly welcome the [IBA's] very timely attention... However, we are concerned that the IBA’s draft guidance devotes too much attention to a due diligence exercise focused of internal company processes and insufficient attention to substantive industry standards that are essential to measuring human rights outcomes... [The draft] proposes the Guiding Principles as the primary substantive tool for lawyers to advise their clients...The next phase of the [global] effort [to develop the field of business & human rights] is companies’ adoption and implementation of industry-specific human rights standards and metrics. The working draft fails to contemplate, much less advance, this essential next step... [I]ndividual assurances from some companies that they are applying internal due diligence processes simply don’t go far enough. The whether they are abiding by concrete standards for the specific human rights or environmental issues in their respective industries.

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6 March 2015

Intl. Bar Association’s draft guidance on business & human rights offers helpful details on lawyers’ duties, says academic

Author: Prof. Richard Moorhead, UCL Centre for Law & Ethics, on Lawyer Watch (UK)

“Some thoughts on how lawyers are responding to the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights,” 25 Feb 2015

The IBA has produced a working draft of  Business and  Human  Rights Guidance for Bar Associations...[which] provides an excellent introduction to the area…and teases out some of the very interesting issues that face lawyers…The IBA suggests Bar Associations…should adopt organisational structures for managing business and human rights activity; consider programmes of comprehensive  education; review  ethical  codes  of  conduct …and provide guidance  and  technical  assistance on how lawyers should implement the principles…[A]dvising or assisting clients may…constitute linkage, contribution or…cause…Advice to clients on the law…in any jurisdiction may not be enough to comply with the principles.  National law may be at odds with international human rights standards and the lawyer may need to help the client look at ways of meeting international standards in spite of such laws…There is also an expectation that, “firms  might  be  expected  to  exercise  leverage  in  order  to  influence  their  clients  to  respect  human  rights”…

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5 March 2015

Intl. Bar Association’s draft guidance on business & human rights lacks detail, says lawyer

Author: Jonathan Goldsmith, Council of Bars & Law Societies of Europe via Law Society Gazette (UK)

“Business, human rights – and meaning,” 3 Mar 2015

…[The International Bar Association] is holding a consultation, which is open until 15 March, on two separate draft works of IBA guidance: ‘Business and Human Rights Guidance for Bar Associations’ and ‘Guidance for Business Lawyers on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’. The IBA guidance closely follows the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN Principles, adopted in 2011, are high-level, and the IBA guidance does not drill down much into the important detail…[O]ne of the first doubts is whether it is useful for the IBA to publish something where so many of the difficult questions remain unresolved…It may be better to have a deeper discussion within the IBA, so that more detailed guidance can be given on these and other questions…

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29 December 2014

Intl. Bar Association launches public consultation on its draft business & human rights guidance

Author: International Bar Association

“IBA opens global public consultation on its draft business and human rights guidance”, 17 Dec 2014

The International Bar Association (IBA) Business and Human Rights Working Group has opened a global, public consultation on its recently published draft guidance for bar associations and business lawyers on the application of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). All interested stakeholders are invited to submit public comments via a form, which can be downloaded here. The closing date for comments is 1 March 2015…[B]ar associations and lawyers need to understand the UNGPs and address the implications they have for the practice of law…The Draft IBA Guidance…is divided into two working guidance documents: one for business lawyers, both in-house lawyers and external counsel in law firms; and the other for bar associations…Subsequent to any revisions following the results of the public consultation, formal approval and adoption by the IBA Council of the Final Guidance will be sought at the 2015 IBA Annual Conference…

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