Business Ethics, Human Rights and Product/Service Risk
Expectations around corporate behaviour are changing rapidly, with a shift towards ‘hard law’ requirements and court-imposed liability for corporate decision-making. Companies and senior executives are expected to navigate vague governmental policies, industry rules/practices and fluid social expectations and often, when things go wrong in a public way, to pay a retrospective price.
Our experience advising on sensitive, high-stakes investigations, criminal, regulatory and civil litigation and compliance and reputational risk means we give practical, realistic support to clients in this fast-changing area.
We advise on the full range of business ethics, human rights and product liability, whether related to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), governance, supply chain, manufacturing or consumer-based issues.
We advise on compliance programmes, carry out due diligence, deliver strategic advice and training, conduct internal investigations and defend active external disputes and investigations. We are regularly involved in the early stages following identification of an issue, managing dawn raids and whistleblowers, advising on self-disclosure, and managing crisis situations.
We are market leaders for anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, cartels, health & safety, trading standards, fraud and sanctions and export controls. Our team has experience with multi-jurisdictional regulations and frameworks such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UK and Australian Modern Slavery Acts, the GRI Standards, the Alien Tort Statute, the FAR Anti-Trafficking Rules for Government Contractors, the Californian Transparency in Supply Chains Act, the French Duty of Vigilance, the Netherlands’ Child Labour Due Diligence Act, ISO standards and the rules on conflict minerals. We regularly advise in global investigations and compliance matters by working with our trusted network of legal partners on international projects.
We can assist with:
- Reputational risk and crisis management;
- Criminal, regulatory and civil proceedings and enforcement action involving human rights, and complaints or cases involving National Contact Points for the OECD Guidelines;
- Human rights internal and external investigations;
- Criminal, civil and or regulatory litigation arising out of product / service liability – including trading standards, industry regulation breaches or health and safety concerns;
- Corporate travel risk issues arising out of ISO 31030;
- Compliance with enacted supply chain transparency and reporting requirements as well as pending and proposed regulatory requirements and ‘soft law’ instruments including industry and NGO standards, codes, guidance and frameworks;
- Slavery and supply chain policies, procedures and codes of conduct, including drafting, implementation, ensuring controls are embedded and monitoring ongoing compliance;
- Developing and managing operational level grievance mechanisms, procedures for whistleblowing and approach to remediation;
- Human rights and supply chain benchmarking, risk assessment and due diligence;
- Business ethics, including sanctions, financial crime and anti-corruption;
- Human security;
- Regulatory matters involving environmental, social and governance (ESG); and
- Bespoke training for all employees up to board level.
- Acting for the manufacturer of building products in a large-scale criminal investigation currently being undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Service.
- Advising a multi-national corporation operating in 120 countries worldwide on creating anti-bribery, corruption and sanctions compliance programmes This involved reviewing the company’s existing procedures, interviewing scores of employees to identify risks, devising global policies and protocols and training key individuals on their implementation and operation.
- Assisted a global public company to set up a whistleblowing hotline and investigation process, and advised on related matters involving conflicts of interest, ABC and regulatory compliance, remediation and corporate culture.
- Following the death of an employee, advising a multi-national company on any health & safety and corporate manslaughter risks, as well as on the lessons to be learned from this matter, in order to influence internal policies and procedures for the future.
- Applying to the European Court of Human Rights under Articles 5 and 8 and Article 2 of Protocol 4 on behalf of a highly respected European businessman subject to an arrest warrant, an EAW and an Interpol Red Notice on an allegation of corruption.
- Acting for Myanmar’s former ambassador to the UK to resist any attempt to secure possession or unlawful access to his property, which is a protected right under Article 1 ECHR.
- Acting on a human rights cases for a UK national convicted of murder in Kazakhstan (which is party to various international human rights agreements)
- Co-ordinating a global strategy to protect the human rights of two ultra-high net worth individuals.
- Acting for an individual who is the subject of one of the world’s most publicised politically motivated persecutions. We liaise with third parties to ensure that their accounts of these proceedings are fairly and accurately represented, in compliance with data subject rights under data protection legislation, in order to avoid perpetuating the multiple human rights violations recognised by law enforcement and judicial authorities worldwide.
- Successfully resisted extradition of an individual to the Russian Federation on the basis that it would be a breach of her human rights.
- Successfully challenged a Red Notice issued by the UAE on behalf of our client on the grounds that it was issued contrary to his human rights, which would also be violated if he was extradited.
- Acting in one of the highest profile INTERPOL and extradition matters globally.
- Successfully resisted extradition on behalf of a Russian businessman on the basis of Articles 3 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
- Secured our client’s discharge from an extradition request issued by the Indian Government, which made it one of the first Indian extradition cases to be discharged on Article 3 ECHR.