Thursday 23 October 2014
IBA publishes business and human rights guidance for bar associations and lawyers
The International Bar Association (IBA) Business and Human Rights Working Group has published guidance for bar associations and business lawyers on the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘Guiding Principles’) – the first guidance of its kind since the UN Human Rights Council endorsement of the Guiding Principles in 2011.
Released in draft form today, the IBA Guidance is divided into two working documents, one for bar associations (11 pages) and the other for business lawyers practising as in-house counsel and in law firms (60 pages).
The main aims of the Guidance for Bar Associations are to:
Encourage bar associations to improve the understanding of the relevance and applicability of business and human rights principles;
Urge bar associations to develop an overall strategy for integrating the Guiding Principles into the practice of law;
Provide information to heighten awareness of the implications of the Guiding Principles; and to
Serve as a training tool for current and future legal professionals.
For business lawyers the new Guidance:
Explores the ways in which the Guiding Principles may be relevant to the advice that business lawyers provide clients, consistent with their professional ethical responsibility as lawyers to uphold the law, to act in their clients’ best interests and to preserve client confidences;
Reviews potential implications of the Guiding Principles for law firms as business enterprises with their own responsibility to respect human rights, focusing on services rendered to clients; and
Will assist the representation of the legal profession in the design of business and human rights policies before policy makers, governments and legislatures.
The culmination of a six month consultation and drafting process, working in collaboration with the IBA Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee and facilitated by the IBA Legal Projects Team, the IBA Working Group Guidancereviews the implications of the Guiding Principles for the global legal profession and provides practical support for their implementation.
IBA President Michael Reynolds said, ‘In recognising the essential role that lawyers play in upholding the rule of law, and that they can provide advice on human rights in client business transactions in a manner that greatly enhances the value of their legal services, the IBA Guidance aims to support the development of a global strategy for the integration of the Principles into legal practice. The Guiding Principles recognise that the responsibility to respect human rights is a global standard of expected conduct for all businesses, and that measures are required to address the impact of human rights on commercial practices and enterprises. The promotion of integrity standards and the rule of law are at the core of the work of the IBA, and through our leadership we intend to mobilise the legal profession to take affirmative steps to integrate the Guiding Principles in the services they provide to their clients.’
The IBA Guidance was presented and discussed at the 2014 IBA Annual Conference in Tokyo, Japan, during the IBA Showcase We’re all human rights lawyers now – the convergence of business and human rights and what it means for you.
Over the next 12 months, the IBA Business and Human Rights Working Group will solicit feedback from several national bar associations, including the Spanish National Bar, the Law Society of Namibia, and the Costa Rican Bar Association.
John F Sherman III, Chair of the IBA Business and Human Rights Working Group commented, ‘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’
The members of the IBA Business and Human Rights Working Group are:
John F Sherman III General Counsel, Senior Advisor and Secretary of Shift
Horacio Bernardes-Neto Chair of the IBA Bar Issues Commission; Brazilian Bar Association
Stephane Brabant Co-Chair of the IBA CSR Committee
Gonzalo Guzman Head of the IBA Legal Projects
Umit Herguner American Bar Association and Turkish Bar Association
Robert Heslett Law Society of England and Wales
Isabel Jimenez Mancha Spanish National Bar
Tatsu Katayama Japan Federation of Bar Associations
Deidre Sauls Law Society of Namibia
Click here to download the IBA Guidance.
Notes to the Editor
On 18 June 2008, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously welcomed the framework proposed by John Ruggie, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights. This policy framework comprises three core pillars:
Pillar 1 - the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication;
Pillar 2 - the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to avoid infringing on the human rights of others and addressing adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved; and
Pillar 3 - the need for greater access by victims to effective remedy, judicial and non-judicial.
On 16 June 2011, the Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Guiding Priniples seek to provide concrete and practical guidance for implementation of the ?Protect, Respect and Remedy? framework.
The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.
The IBA’s administrative office is in London. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, US, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court Programme (IBA ICC) is managed from an office in The Hague.
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
For further information please contact:
Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association
4th Floor, 10 St Bride Street,
London EC4A 4AD
Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7842 0090
Fax: +44 (0)20 7842 0091
Related ArticlesB'Tselem Receives 2014 Stockholm Human Rights Award
News release: 27 November 2014 - The 2014 Stockholm Human Rights Award has been presented to B'Tselem – the Israeli human rights organisation – in recognition of its tireless work protecting and promoting the human rights of residents in the challenging environments of the Palestinian Territories and Israel.
Published: Thursday, 27 November 2014
Last Modified: Wednesday, 17 December 2014Money laundering prevention guide a global first for lawyers
News release: 5 November 2014 - A new guide aiming to provide lawyers across the world with practical guidance in detecting and preventing money laundering has been produced by the International Bar Association (IBA) in conjunction with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).
Published: Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Last Modified: Friday, 28 November 2014Bangladeshi lawyer Adilur Rahman Khan announced winner of IBA Human Rights Award 2014
News release: 24 October 2014 - Adilur Rahman Khan, advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and founder and Secretary of Bangladeshi human rights organisation Odikhar, was today named winner of the 2014 International Bar Association (IBA) Human Rights Award.
Published: Friday, 24 October 2014
Last Modified: Saturday, 25 October 2014Zambia to host inaugural IBA women business lawyers’ event in Africa
News Release: Thursday, 16 February 2015. Zambia is to host the first International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Practice Division (LPD) Women Business Lawyers Initiative programme to be held in Africa. Titled, ‘African women in law rising’ the event will take place in Livingstone from 21–22 April 2015, in partnership with the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ).
Published: Monday, 16 February 2015
Last Modified: Monday, 16 February 2015Cambodia: IBAHRI expresses deep concern over controversial judicial reform laws
News release: 15 July 2014 - Today the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) expresses deep concern over controversial judicial reforms which could provide an excessive transfer of power from the judiciary to the executive in the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia.
Published: Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Last Modified: Thursday, 31 July 2014