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Business and human rights

Understanding the human angle.

Addressing human rights concerns is no longer just about corporate responsibility. Alongside anti-bribery and corruption issues, it’s now a core part of corporate compliance.

With the legal landscape in relation to business and human rights changing, global companies are having to evaluate, respond to and respect human rights as a legal obligation. 

As a major international law firm with a dedicated global business and human rights practice, the first international law firm to sign the United Nations Global Compact, and experience assisting with the research that led to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Freshfields can help.

We regularly advise large multinational companies and public authorities on the full suite of issues arising out of the UN Guiding Principles. 

Our focus is on helping companies respect international human rights and comply with the related ‘hard law’, ie new modern slavery and non-financial reporting regulations, particularly in Europe and the development of the OECD National Contacts Points complaint procedures. 

We also advise on operational human rights compliance issues, such as:

  • human rights policies and procedures;
  • internal and external capacity building and reporting requirements;
  • impact of national legislation such as the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the 2017 French Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law; and
  • grievance and remediation processes.

Our practice is global in scope. We have a dedicated, cross-disciplinary team of experienced lawyers advising our clients across the world. Part of this work involves monitoring international human rights law developments in real-time, and providing regular updates via our sustainability and human rights blog.