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Special Topics

From updates on policies and regulations to human rights primers to guidance for lawyers, this section features resources on special topics related to business and human rights.

Special Topics



When Counseling Clients on Risk, Lawyers Need to Take a Proactive Approach on Human Rights

February 2018

Developments in the legal profession in regards to providing counsel to corporate clients on preventing human rights impacts continue to advance, most recently in Europe.

Handbook for Lawyers on Business and Human Rights

July 2017 | International Bar Assocation

This handbook, published by the International Bar Association, aims to assist lawyers who seek to integrate business and human rights considerations into the advice they provide to clients in relation to M&A and commercial transactions.

Forging the Path as Wise Counselors

September 2016 | David W. Rivkin, President

International Bar Association President David. W. Rivkin writes about the far-reaching implications of the IBA's new Practical Guide for business lawyers on human rights.

IBA Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers

June 2016 | International Bar Association

This foundational guidance, issued by the International Bar Association, is designed to help bar associations and business lawyers everywhere understand the Guiding Principles.

Webinar: Integrating Human Rights Considerations Into Mergers and Acquisitions

April 2016 | Shift, UN Global Compact

This webinar, hosted by the UN Global Compact, provides an overview and discussion of how human rights can and should be considered in mergers and acquisitions processes. It features speakers from Shift, Total and Ericsson.

What Do Human Rights Have to Do With Mergers and Acquisitions?

January 2016 | Anna Triponel, Shift

This resource provides guidance on how companies can identify and address human rights risks when structuring mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions.

Adding Human Rights Punch to the New Lex Mercatoria

October 2015 | John G. Ruggie and John F. Sherman III; Oxford Journal of International Dispute Settlement

This article argues that the Guiding Principles add significant “punch” to the private law of contracts when major international businesses require their partners and suppliers to comply with the Guiding Principles.

Six Reasons Why Lawyers Should Practice Law with Respect for Human Rights

November 2014

The International Bar Association has issued draft guidance for legal professionals on the Guiding Principles.

The UN Guiding Principles for the Business Lawyer

February 2014 | John F. Sherman III, Shift; Juriste International

This short article lays out why business lawyers need to understand the Guiding Principles and consider human rights as part of due diligence they perform for clients and companies.

Corporate Lawyers and the Guiding Principles

November 2013 | John G. Ruggie

Shift Chair and Guiding Principles author John Ruggie reflects on the implications of the Guiding Principles for lawyers.

The UN Guiding Principles: Practical Implications for Business Lawyers

January 2013 | John F. Sherman III; In-House Defense Quarterly

This resource focuses on the significance and implications of the Guiding Principles for corporate lawyers and the role of lawyers in meeting client business goals while respecting human rights.

Are There Risks in Knowing and Showing?

October 2012 | John S. Sherman III; Shift

Former corporate lawyer and Shift General Counsel John Sherman argues that potential concerns about conducting human rights due diligence are more than offset by the benefits of doing it.

Lawyers as Leaders: Training Videos on Business and Human Rights

August 2012 | International Bar Association, UN Global Compact

This instructional video series shares insights from leading experts and practitioners about the important role of lawyers in the design and management of corporate policies and practices on human rights.

Professional Responsibility of Lawyers under the Guiding Principles

April 2012

Hard and soft law developments with implications for lawyers as they advise corporate clients on human rights.

Law Firms' Implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

November 2011 | Advocates for International Development

This discussion paper, produced just after the endorsement of the Guiding Principles, addresses legal professionals key responsibilities when it comes to human rights, and identifies leading practices.

Principles for Responsible Contracts: Integrating the Management of Human Rights Risks Into State-Investor Contract Negotiations: Guidance for Negotiators

June 2011 | John G. Ruggie; UN Human Rights Council, UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights

This resource, issued as an addendum to Ruggie’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council, outlines 10 principles designed to help guide the integration of human rights risk management into contract negotiations.

Human Rights and Corporate Law: Trends and Observations From a Cross-National Study Conducted by the Special Representative

May 2011 | John G. Ruggie; UN Human Rights Council

This report summarizes the findings based on extensive research and consultation with corporate law experts in multiple jurisdictions regarding the links between corporate and securities law and human rights.