UK: Law Society of England & Wales launches report with recommendations on how to apply UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to legal sector

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Article
27 March 2014

Will “business and human rights” become part of legal training in England and Wales? [UK]

Author: Nadia Bernaz (Middlesex University), Rights as Usual

[The] Law Society (of England and Wales)…recommended that business and human rights become part of legal training requirements and continued professional development…While I do think it is a positive development I can see how this is not going to be unanimously welcomed…and it will be down to the business and human rights community to do our best to convince them otherwise…Documents such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Guide to Business and Human Rights addressed directly to businesses...are relevant for all businesses and therefore it is not unrealistic to expect solicitors to be able to advise clients on these issues.

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Article
25 March 2014

[PDF] Business and Human Rights Advisory Group Recommendations - Mar 2014 [UK]

Author: Law Society of England & Wales

In 2013, the Law Society set up the [Business and Human Rights Advisory Group (BHRAG)] to evaluate how the Law Society can best assist the profession to consider the implications of the UNGPs…While some discussion was engaged in…regarding the responsibility of lawyers in the context of access to remedy (particularly in litigation)…the BHRAG focused largely on the second pillar, the corporate responsibility to respect…[It] focused on…Establishing the business case...Regulation…Guidance, education and training…The Law Society should take the position that its law firm members have a responsibility to respect human rights…in accordance with the UNGPs, and that this should be reflected in firms' business operations, and…in advice that they provide to clients. This would include putting in place a human rights policy…The Law Society should encourage firms to develop policies and procedures to implement firms‘ responsibility to respect human rights…Initial guidance…should include a template human rights policy commitment...

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Article
19 March 2014

Law Society launches report on business and human rights [UK]

Author: Law Society of England & Wales

…[The] Law Society of England and Wales launched a report from its practitioners advisory group established to consult the legal sector on business and human rights. In other sectors, industry bodies are playing a key role in supporting their members to promote the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the legal profession is no different. Industries are increasingly looking at developing specific guidance on what the Guiding Principles mean for their sector…Deputy Vice President Jonathan Smithers said: "The Law Society believes very strongly that the promotion of business and respect for human rights are mutually reinforcing. As the representative body for the solicitors’ profession in England and Wales, we take seriously the role we can play raising awareness of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and how they can and should be applied to solicitors. This report is just the starting point…”…

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