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UK: Law firms’ role in supporting clients on business & human rights issues is crucial, says Law Society

Author: Sarah Smith, Law Society of England and Wales (UK), Published on: 13 August 2015

"Better business with human rights", 28 Jul 2015

The promotion of business and the protection of human rights are mutually beneficial for solicitors, both in terms of corporate conscience and economically…As the guardians of the rule of law, the international legal profession has an obligation to encourage its members not only to protect human rights through the law, but also to ensure that firms operate to the highest of standards as businesses…While the UNGPs do not create new law, they have done much to increase the number and type of binding commitments that companies must satisfy regarding managing human rights risks…These binding commitments have a number of important implications for law firms, as well as for the legal profession more broadly. These include questions around how lawyers' advisory work will need to evolve to assist clients with business and human rights matters; the management of firms as business enterprises themselves; and how lawyers' professional responsibilities should be understood given the newly recognised role for business…[Also refers to Barclays, Coca-Cola, HP (Hewlett-Packard), General Electric, Motorola, Shell, UBS]

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Related companies: Barclays Coca-Cola General Electric HP (Hewlett-Packard) Motorola Shell