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Category Archives: Business and Human Rights

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UN Working Group publishes revised draft of business and human rights treaty: commentary on scope, prevention and legal liability

On 16 July, a UN working group published a revised draft of its business and human rights treaty (following the “Zero” Draft published in July last year). Our post looks at some of the key developments, with a particular focus on its scope and the provisions on prevention and legal liability. We conclude by asking

Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Law

The Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence bill (the “Law“) was passed in both houses of parliament and is due to be implemented by royal ratification after 1 January 2020. The aim of the Law is to put more responsibility on companies to prevent goods and services which have come into existence through child labour to

The French “PACTE” Law: Growing Space for Social and Environmental Topics in Corporate Management of French Companies

Under the new law on Business Growth and Transformation (the so-called “PACTE Law”), the management of French companies must take into consideration social and environmental issues. Companies are also encouraged to incorporate social objectives into their corporate purpose. This blog looks at the new law and what it means for businesses. On 11 April 2019,

New Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence

On 8 April 2019, the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI (“HLEG AI“) published its ethics guidelines for trustworthy artificial intelligence (the “Guidelines“). The Guidelines follow an earlier first draft in December 2018 and implement more than 500 comments received through an open consultation. The Guidelines aim to provide a framework for achieving “Trustworthy

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise – Lingering Questions on the Role’s Mandate and Powers

Earlier this month, the Canadian government announced the appointment of Sheri Meyerhoffer as the first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (“CORE”). The position has been lauded as being the first of its kind in the world. This blog post considers a number of the key issues which are still to be ironed out before Ombudsperson

Vedanta: UK Supreme Court takes the “straitjacket” off claims against parent companies in the English Courts

On 10 April 2019, the UK Supreme Court handed down its judgment in Vedanta Resources PLC and anor. v Lungowe and others [2019] UKSC 20; a long awaited decision on parent company liability and the jurisdiction of English courts over transnational torts. This blog sets out the key findings and practical implications of the judgment,

Jabir and others v. KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH – Dortmund court dismisses lawsuit

Yesterday, the Regional Court (Landgericht) of Dortmund dismissed the claims in Jabir and others v. KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH (Case No. 7 O 95/15) based on the statute of limitations.  The case concerned claims for personal injury and death brought by four Pakistani nationals against German retailer KiK Textilien and Non-Food GmbH (“KiK”) in

Supply chain liability under the law of negligence: What does Jabir and Others v KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH mean for European companies with supply chains in the sub-continent and other common law countries?

Last month a court in Dortmund heard arguments in Jabir and others v. KiK Textilien und Non-Food GmbH.  It is a case brought against a German retailer, under English law principles of tort in relation to a fire at the factory of a supplier in Pakistan.  This post explains what the case is about and

The Australian Modern Slavery Bill: the next frontier in corporate accountability for adverse human rights impacts

Last week, the Australian Parliament approved the Modern Slavery Bill and it is set to come into force early in 2019.  This post looks at the requirements of the Act, how it compares to the UK Modern Slavery Act and what it tells us about the changing legal landscape for business and human rights.

“Specific Instances” under OECD Guidelines – What can financial institutions learn from the recent ANZ case on providing finance to a company engaged in human rights abuses

The Australian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (“AusNCP”), which handles “specific instances” relating to alleged non-observance of the Guidelines, has released its final statement (https://cdn.tspace.gov.au/uploads/sites/112/2018/10/11_AusNCP_Final_Statement.pdf) on a case concerning the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s (“ANZ”) financing of a Cambodian company engaged in human rights abuses. In 2011, ANZ

Working up from Zero: Initial Negotiations on the “Zero Draft” treaty on Business and Human Rights

The UN intergovernmental working group tasked with developing a binding international treaty on business and human rights recently concluded its fourth round of negotiations in Geneva (15-19 October 2018). In contrast to the third session, where the “Elements” of the proposed treaty were published only three weeks before the working session began, delegations were provided

Blockchain: A new frontier in supply chain management

The concept of human rights due diligence is at the heart of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“UNGPs“) and is finding its way into a growing body of legislation around the world: see the French Duty of Vigilance Law, the supply chain transparency provisions of the UK Modern Slavery Act (and

Parent company liability – Court of Appeal upholds decision rejecting jurisdiction over claims brought against Unilever by victims of post-election violence in Kenya

On 4 July 2018, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in AAA & Ors. v Unilever PLC and Unilever Tea Kenya Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1532, dismissing an appeal by victims of the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya.  It is the latest in a series of recent judgments on jurisdiction over parent company liability

Australia set to join the global fight against modern slavery

The world is slowly taking action against modern slavery. Since the UK introduced the Modern Slavery Act (“the UK Act“) in 2015, a number of countries have followed suit with their own legislative initiatives. The latest country poised to do so is Australia. In 2017, the joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Hogan Lovells launches Practical Guide on Respecting Human Rights in the Energy and Natural Resources Sector at industry event in Johannesburg

How does the responsibility to respect human rights apply to companies operating in the Energy and Natural Resources Sector?  How does this relate to hard legal risk at a domestic and international level and, what practical steps should a business take to fulfil this responsibility and reduce its legal risk? This morning, we had the

BHR News Flash: Swiss proposal to impose human rights due diligence requirements reaches the next stage of the legislative process

In December 2017, our blog post discussed how a coalition of Swiss civil society organisations launched the Responsible Business Initiative (“RBI”), i.e. a proposal to amend the Swiss constitution to require mandatory human rights due diligence for companies based in Switzerland. While the RBI is still currently going through the Swiss legislative process, it seems

Hogan Lovells leads conversation with roundtable on the French duty of vigilance and corporate civil liability for human rights

On 17 May 2018, an unprecedented round table took place to discuss the “French duty of vigilance and civil liability in human rights matters” at our Paris office. Alongside Julianne Hughes-Jennett, London Partner and Head of our Business and Human Rights group, this event gathered Horatia Muir Watt – Professor of international private law and

Amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act and the new Sanctions and Anti-money Laundering Bill: the UK’s answer to the Global Magnitsky Act?

Following the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury earlier this year, there were calls for the UK to adopt a British equivalent to the US Global Magnitsky Act, enabling the state to sanction gross human rights violations wherever or by whomever they are committed.  This post considers the extent to which so-called “Magnitsky amendments”

Parent company liability and human rights – new claims against mining company filed in the English courts

On 16 April, proceedings were issued in the English courts against Gemfields Limited, a London-based mining company, in relation to allegations of human rights abuses in connection with the activities of its subsidiary in the vicinity of the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique. This case comes hot on the heels of the English Court of

Can environmental damage be prosecuted as a crime under international law?

At last week’s IBA War and Justice Conference, ICC judge Howard Morrison said that international criminal law must develop to accommodate the changing nature of atrocities and the changing nature of conflict.  One example is to prosecute the perpetrators of massive environmental damage, including damage connected to business activity.  This is consistent with the ICC

Foreign corporations cannot be sued under the Alien Tort Statute – Jesner v Arab Bank: the verdict

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled in the case of Jesner v Arab Bank. On a 5:4 majority, the court ruled that foreign corporations are excluded from the scope of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). This highly-anticipated decision means that foreign corporations can no longer be sued under the ATS, but