14 March 2018

Human & business rights : a guide for lawyers

Freedom & human rights

Human rights now have a central place in business. In order to allow French lawyers to work with this new area of law, Conseil national des barreaux have published a dedicated guide.

Guide Business & Human Rights in English - CNB

A handy guide to understand the changes

The responsibilities of businesses in the area of human rights have long been governed by “soft legal” rules, which are now slowly creeping into french substantive legislation (the 2017 law on the duty of vigilance is one such example).

The Conseil national des barreaux (french association representing lawyers) have participated actively in this move to place human rights at the forefront of business concerns, and it is an area that offers a new scope of activity for lawyers.

This guide recaps the existing rules in terms of business & human rights. Far from being an exhaustive guide, this guide aims to be a practical tool to provide with the key basic concepts of Business and human rights regulations, and help understand the changes.

Contributions from William Bourdon, chairman of the SHERPA association, Xavier Hubert, Ethics & compliance director at Engie, Julie Vallat, head of the Ethics and human rights unit at Total SA, and Françoise Mathe, the chair of the national commission on human rights and freedoms at the Conseil national des barreaux (2015-2017), which are included in the appendix to this guide, provide the balance required to address this topic.

A participative approach

We have produced this accessible guide in a digital version and it has been designed using a “participatory” approach to reflect the evolving and changing nature of this field and should not be considered as the enactment of a doctrine. It will be updated regularly to add any new legal elements and allow a dialogue with colleagues who will be able to report on their experiences in this field during their professional practice

You can send your remarks or suggestions by writing to international@cnb.avocat.fr.

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