IBA publishes human rights guidance for business lawyers

New guidance for business lawyers on how the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (Guiding Principles) could impact on the advice they provide clients, has been published by the International Bar Association (IBA).

The guidance – which was presented at the IBA´s 2014 annual conference in Tokyo – also reviews the potential implications of the Guiding Principles for law firms as business enterprises with a responsibility to respect human rights.

Published by the IBA´s Business and Human Rights Working Group,  the guidance also aims to encourage bar associations to “improve their understanding of the relevance and applicability” of business and human rights principles, as well as develop a strategy for integrating the Guiding Principles into the practice of law.

Released in draft form, the guidance is divided into two working documents, one for bar associations (11 pages) and the other for business lawyers working as in-house counsel or in private practice (60 pages). 

John F Sherman, chair of the IBA Business and Human Rights Working Group, said: “Since the endorsement of the Guiding Principles, businesses are increasingly turning to their legal advisors for assistance on their implementation.

“This guidance is designed to support those bar associations and business lawyers to understand the implications of the Guiding Principles to effectively counsel their clients and ultimately help business enterprises to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights.”

To download the guidance, click here

Ben Cook