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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Expertise & Experience

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Clifford Chance has a long-established specialist practice in business and human rights, having been at the forefront of developments in the field for more than a decade.

Human rights risk management is a key element of responsible business practice for all business enterprises, regardless of size, sector, geographic location or reach. Clifford Chance has a long-established specialist practice in business and human rights, including lawyers who have been at the forefront of developments for more than a decade. We work closely with clients to navigate the legal and 'soft' law standards that apply, taking an integrated, cross-practice approach to what are often cross-jurisdictional challenges.

We have extensive experience of advising multinational corporations across the spectrum of governance, advisory, transactional, risk management, compliance and dispute resolution issues that businesses face in this area and frequently advise on these issues in the context of relevant internationally recognised standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

We understand the strategic importance of effective human rights risk management to support responsible and sustainable business models.

We assist our clients as they identify, manage and address their salient human rights risks within their business relationships and supply chains across the life cycle of investments and other business activity. This work spans investment planning, policy development and implementation, due diligence (risk and impact assessment, analysis and integration of outcomes) and the design and implementation of grievance mechanisms. We are increasingly called upon to assist clients to help formalise human rights considerations within business relationships and assist clients to develop contractual frameworks that promote respect for human rights, whilst also encouraging counterparties to act appropriately. In all contexts, we work collaboratively with clients to find solutions that are both commercially pragmatic and aligned with a respect for human rights.

As scrutiny of business practice intensifies, with ever-increasing demands for transparency and accountability, we advise clients on their corporate communications and reporting and on stakeholder engagement.  

Through appropriate processes and risk identification, we help clients create strategies to anticipate and avoid being involved in or linked to adverse human rights impacts. But when adverse impacts occur or when criticisms or claims of corporate complicity or legal liability are levied, we apply our extensive resources and expertise to investigate and support the development of an appropriate response. Our expertise and awareness of broader expectations in this area equip us to help clients evaluate and manage both the legal and reputational implications of such challenges. Where necessary and appropriate, we employ our extensive experience to represent our clients in response to complaints or litigation raised in courts or through non-judicial mechanisms.

Directory listings and client comments

  • A client enthuses: "The firm excels in business and human rights, an area in which it has long been one of the pioneers. Having such an extensive experience of the sector, they are able to grasp its complexity unlike any other firms."
    Chambers Global 2022: Business and Human Rights Law - Band 1
  • Another client maintains that the lawyers "are outstanding in this space."
    Chambers Global 2022: Business and Human Rights Law - Band 1
  • Others hail the "fabulous team" for its efforts "to make this field understandable to corporate clients."
    Chambers Global 2022: Business and Human Rights Law - Band 1