Business & Human Rights and Modern Slavery: Does your client know the cost of not knowing?

Doughty Street Chambers, Mazars, and the Council of Europe invite you to an event designed to equip lawyers in private practice and in industry with some of the tools they may find useful when advising clients on business and human rights issues.

As trade and investment become increasingly global, multi-national corporations are having a much greater impact on the lives of those communities located where they operate. The impacts of international supply chains are also becoming increasingly visible and controversial.  As a result, a worldwide debate is gathering pace on the accountability of businesses for their many impacts on the human rights of others; you will find some examples outlined below.

Lawyers, however, can play a key role in making businesses aware of the importance and substantial cost benefits that can be derived from considering these potential human rights impacts at the early stages of developing projects.  And as courts around the world are increasingly exercised by claims on behalf of communities affected by business operations, it is in the interests of those lawyers to ensure their clients are aware of these new areas of potential risk.


Thursday 29th September at the offices of Mazars (Tower Bridge House, St Katharine’s Way, London, E1W 1DD).


Registration at 5.30pm, talks at 6pm followed by Q&A, with drinks, food and networking to follow at 7.30pm.  The Agenda for the event is:

  1. Welcome and Introduction by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, leading human rights lawyer and leader of the project to open the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights in the University of Oxford's Faculty of Law
  2. “What clients want from their legal advisers when it comes to integrating business and human rights” - Peter Herbel, a leading authority on business and human rights, and former General Counsel of Total
  3. A Business and Human Rights online course for lawyers – Wayne Jordash QC, Doughty Street Chambers, in conjunction with the Council of Europe
  4. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Reporting Framework – Richard Karmel, Mazars
  5. Panel Discussion Chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, and Q&A. Joining the speakers' panel will be Elise Groulx Diggs, Principal of BI for Business Integrity, providing legal and advisory services on corporate social and environmental responsibility. 
  6. Drinks Reception

The event is accredited for 1.5 CPD points (Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board).


This event will set out why lawyers need to be aware of this important emerging field, by:

  • Outlining some of the key “hard” and “soft” law such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UK’s Modern Slavery Act (the importance of which was underlined by the Prime Minister on 30th July), the forthcoming EU non-financial reporting directive, and other legislation such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the US Dodd-Frank Act, and the proposed French “Duty of Vigilance” law;
  • Explaining the common areas where businesses may come in to conflict with human rights (such as labour, people trafficking, property and resource rights, security issues, conflict commodities and minerals and so on);
  • Setting out what businesses want from their legal advisers in relation to business and human rights issues.  We are delighted to welcome Peter Herbel, former General Counsel of oil giant Total, and a pioneer in this field, who will speak on why companies would do well to make human rights and CSR more central to their strategy;
  • Guiding private practice and in-house lawyers to sources of further help.  The event will be the UK launch of a new online learning course on Business and Human Rights, developed by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals programme.  In addition, Mazars will introduce the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, which they co-designed with Shift, the organisation Chaired by Professor John Ruggie, author of the UN Guiding Principles and former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights.  By using the Reporting Framework, companies are able to report meaningfully to their stakeholders that they are meeting their responsibility to respect human rights in practice and improve their operational and risk management systems.  And barristers from Doughty Street Chambers, one of the largest specialist human rights sets in the world, will highlight a range of advisory, training and litigation services designed to support corporate clients.  


To reserve a place please e-mail or for any enquiries please contact Maurice MacSweeney on 020 7400 8906 or by e-mail.

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