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Vice president draws on UN special status at Business and Human Rights Conference

Law Society | Law Society

2 min read Partner content

Under the Law Society's newly appointed special consultative status at the UN, vice president Jonathan Smithers is speaking at the American Bar Association's (ABA) 'Business and the Bar' business and human rights conference this week.

The two-day event will see legal and human rights professionals come together in Geneva to increase the global legal profession's awareness of, and engagement in the growing business and human rights movement.

Just like the UK government at the time, the Law Society was the first bar association in the world to look at how the legal services sector translates the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) into a practical standard.

The Society is committed to furthering the business and human rights agenda within the legal profession. Having set up a Business and Human Rights Advisory Group, which produced a set of recommendations, the Law Society is now taking these forward. The project will begin with the launch of a profession-wide consultation and awareness raising campaign later this month, and the production of a practice note providing guidance on business and human rights policy and practice for solicitors, the first of its kind.

Jonathan Smithers said:

"We believe very strongly that the promotion of business and respect for human rights are mutually reinforcing. As the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales we take seriously the role we, and other bar associations around the world, can play in raising awareness of the UNGPs, and how they can and should be applied to solicitors.

"It is vital that the legal sector should lead by example, not least because our profession plays a key role in upholding the rule of law at home and internationally. The Law Society of England Wales is proud to be leading the field in providing positive and practical support and guidance to our members on this issue."

Further information about the conference can be found here.


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