Business and Human Rights

It has become a norm that organisations promote and protect human rights in all parts of their operations, at home and internationally, and across supply chains and partnerships. Such is now expected by civil society, consumers, regulators, shareholders and political life. The risk of litigation and adverse publicity, when organisations fall short, is ever-increasing.


The business and human rights landscape around the world is rapidly evolving. At Kingsley Napley, we have been at the forefront of developments. We founded the Business and Human Rights Practitioners’ Network, spoke alongside the Home Office to promote the Modern Slavery Act, intervened in the landmark Supreme Court case of Okpabi, and partnered with civil society on ground-breaking corporate responsibility projects. We are uniquely placed to ensure that clients comply, and get ahead, in business and human rights.

How we can help

We are experts in crisis management, with a deeply experienced and market-leading team in inquiries and investigations. When organisations are alleged to fall short of the standards, we help. We know that the right response can save reputations and mitigate risk. We recently advised an international organisation on a highly complex global investigation, following media allegations of human rights abuses. Our cross-practice service of multi-specialist investigations lawyers mean investigations are always comprehensively resourced, regardless of complexity and subject matter.

We also advise clients to ensure compliance and good governance, from our unique understanding of the standards. This understanding comes from our extensive work with civil society on the frontiers of corporate responsibility. We recently intervened at the Supreme Court for international human rights interveners in the landmark case of Okpabi, and led a pioneering report into the future of corporate responsibility regulation with a coalition of NGOs.   

Our lawyers have deep experience and expertise advising on human rights, corporate governance and investigations, organisational change and policy implementation.

Our experience

Our work includes:

  • Representing international human rights NGOs on the Supreme Court intervention in Okpabi v Shell; a major class action concerning oil pollution in the Niger Delta where thousands of claimants seek redress in the English courts;
  • Advising an international organisation on a highly complex global investigation, following media allegations of human rights abuses;
  • A major report on enforcement of business and human rights laws, commissioned by CORE, Traidcraft Exchange and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (see here and here for the report and related seminar);
  • Acting in modern slavery investigations brought by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority;
  • Acting in an advisory capacity – in particular to government, public bodies, and institutions – assessing operational compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998;
  • Internal investigations on behalf of corporate clients, including advice to companies caught up in criminal and regulatory investigations;
  • Acting in litigation involving a broad range of human rights issues including Human Rights Act damages claims;
  • Advising on compliance with Modern Slavery legislation, best practice and emerging norms;
  • Advice on slavery and human trafficking statements;
  • Advising ‘whistleblowers’ and organisations responding to whistleblower claims.

For more information, please contact a member of our business and human rights team.

Knowledgeable, responsive, thoughtful, professional, well networked and well connected, with a touch of elegance which goes beyond what one normally encounters in a legal firm.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

They are outstanding; they combine high-level legal skills with real human understanding."

Chambers UK 2021

The team is small but packs a punch well above its size: they are quick, flexible, continuously on the ball and efficient.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Legal advice is always given with an awareness and deep experience of the wider legal context (in our case, public inquiries) and a sensitivity to the client’s objectives.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Business and Human Rights Insights

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Blogs

The Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission: what’s to come?

‘World-leading’ Modern Slavery Act 2015: review confirms more to be done

Corporate and individual accountability for international crimes: Kingsley Napley hosts second International Criminal Law Conference

Modern Slavery Act 2015: Under Review

Blowing spies’ legal cover? Reprieve threatens judicial review of alleged government misuse of the ‘James Bond clause’

Guest blog: Corporate criminal liability under international law

Guest blog: Should companies have a duty to prevent human rights abuses?

Guest blog: How to get the attention of the board on human rights

Business and Human Rights: Magnitsky clause now in force

Opaque, unpredictable, diminished? Parliamentary committee commentary suggests the human rights consequences of #Brexit withdrawal legislation “appear to be contrary to the Government’s intent”

Legal update: Unlawful Discrimination in Personal Independence Payments

Legal Update: Revisiting trial in the absence of a defendant

Diplomatic and state immunity – landmark Supreme Court judgments

The Magnitsky Clause Part 2: Profiting from the suppression of those who seek to assert their human rights?

The Magnitsky Clause Part 1: Profiting from the suppression of whistleblowers – what does it mean for business?

Modern Slavery Act: Is your business ready?

The Modern Slavery Act 2015: What is it and how will it impact businesses?

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