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Intl. Bar Association launches handbook for lawyers on business & human rights

Handbook for lawyers on business and human rights, Photo Credit International Bar Association

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1 September 2017

Commentary: Overview of Intl. Bar Association business & human rights handbook for lawyers & its domestic implementation

Author: Stéphane Brabant & Elsa Savourey, Herbert Smith Freehills, on Business and Human Rights Journal

"From Global Toolbox to Local Implementation: The IBA Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers", 17 Apr 2017

In-house counsel and lawyers who advise businesses are increasingly required to integrate human rights into their practice of law. This integration is the result of enhanced international standards, domestic laws, evolving best practices, and increasing clients’ requests. The Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers...is the latest testament to this integration and to the new role of lawyers in the twenty-first century.

Human rights are everywhere, both inside and outside companies....As a result, the legal practices connected to human rights are...diverse...However, only a few lawyers advising businesses know what human rights mean in practice for them...

The Practical Guide is to date the most advanced initiative to help bridge the gap between the fact that lawyers feel disconnected from human rights when advising businesses, and the contribution these lawyers could actually make...This piece first explains...what it means in practice for lawyers and law firms to advise businesses on human rights and what the related risks and opportunities are. The piece then goes on to address the challenges associated with ensuring that the Practical Guide reaches the legal profession through implementation at the domestic level...

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19 July 2017

New guidance for lawyers advising businesses on human rights risks

Author: DLA Piper

…[T]he International Bar Association…released a Handbook for Lawyers on Business and Human Rights to provide guidance for business lawyers and their corporate clients on how to address human rights risks in corporate and commercial transactions.

The Handbook…contains precedents and substantive guidance on how to address human rights risks in relation to specific legal practice areas: corporate mergers, acquisitions and restructuring; and commercial contracts, including supply, distribution and franchise agreements.

[An IBA spokesperson] stated, "…Through context, case scenarios, discussion exercises, sample checklists and further reading and resources we aim to assist lawyers to understand the importance of human rights due diligence["]…

[According to an] International Business and Human Rights lawyer… "To properly serve their clients' interests, business lawyers must not only understand that the promotion of business and respect for human rights are mutually reinforcing, but be able to counsel their clients on what this means in practice."

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18 July 2017

IBA Handbook for lawyers on business and human rights

Author: International Bar Association

This handbook brings together in one place a diverse collection of educational resources relating to the roles and responsibilities of [primairly corporate mergers and acquisitions transactions as well as commercial transactions] legal practitioners with respect to business and human rights, including background context and explanation, case scenarios, discussion exercises, frequently asked questions (FAQs), sample checklists and further reading and resources.

It is designed to encourage reflection and discussion about:

  • the various ways in which human rights risks can be relevant to different areas of legal practice;
  • how lawyers can respond to those risks, in the context of a lawyer-client relationship, through the provision of legal advice and services that are aligned with broader risk management and human rights perspectives...

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