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Human Rights Due Diligence in Law and Practice: Good Practices and Challenges for Business Enterprises §


This article considers the practices of companies worldwide in attempting to implement human rights due diligence (HRDD) as envisaged by the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Based on empirical research conducted through surveys and interviews, it analyses corporate practices in this area. It examines the responses of companies with reference to the core elements of implementing HRDD: identifying actual or potential human rights impacts; taking action to address these impacts; and tracking or monitoring the effectiveness of actions. In addition, the article places these practices in the context of the legal developments in the field of HRDD. The research shows the difference that dedicated HRDD – in comparison with non-human rights specific processes – can make in terms of identifying adverse human rights impacts of both the company as well as of those which are part of its business relationships.

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This article is an outcome of an applied research project on business and human rights due diligence conducted by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) and the Business Ethics & Anti-Corruption Group of the global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. The authors are particularly grateful for the valuable support of Business Ethics & Anti-Corruption Group members Milana Chamberlain, Sam Eastwood, Gal Levin and Dan Jarman. The authors also wish to thank BIICL volunteer researchers Freya Dinshaw, Ciara Dowd, Anneloes Hoff, Claire Jervis, Liliane Mouan, Marie Pillon and Norton Rose Fulbright’s Rachel Godfrey.


Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL), Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Nottingham, and a barrister at Brick Court Chambers in London.


Research Fellow in Business and Human Rights at BIICL.


Associate at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, based in London, and is a member of their Business Ethics & Anti-Corruption Group.


Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, based in London, and is a corporate finance and governance member of their Business Ethics & Anti-Corruption Group.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Hannes Hofmann , Martin Schleper and Constantin Blome , ‘Conflict Minerals and Supply Chain Due Diligence: An Exploratory Study of Multi-tier Supply Chains’ (2015) Journal of Business Ethics doi: 10.1007/s10551-015-2963-z

Ken McPhail and Carol Adams , ‘Corporate Respect for Human Rights: Meaning, Scope, and the Shifting Order of Discourse’ (2016) 29 Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 650

Doug Cassel , ‘Outlining the Case for a Common Law Duty of Care of Business to Exercise Human Rights Due Diligence’ (2016) 1 Business and Human Rights Journal 179

Bram Meyer , Tessa van Roomen and Eelke Sikkema , ‘Corporate Criminal Liability for Corruption Offences and the Due Diligence Defence: A Comparison of the Dutch and English Legal Frameworks’ (2014) 10 Utrecht Law Review 47

Liselotte Arni et al., ‘UBS and the Integration of Human Rights Due Diligence Under the United Nations (UN) Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework for Business and Human Rights’ in Karen Wendt (ed.), Responsible Investment Banking (Heidelberg: Springer, 2015) 205

Thomas Hemphill and George White , ‘The World Economic Forum and Nike: Emerging “Shared Responsibility” and Institutional Control Models for Achieving a Socially Responsible Global Supply Chain’ (2016) 1 Business and Human Rights Journal 307

Damiano de Felice , ‘Banks and Human Rights Due Diligence: A critical analysis of the Thun Group’s discussion paper on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ (2015) 19 International Journal of Human Rights 8

Ralph Hamman et al., ‘Business and Human Rights in South Africa: An Analysis of Antecedents of Human Rights Due Diligence’ (2009) 87 Journal of Business Ethics 453

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Business and Human Rights Journal
  • ISSN: 2057-0198
  • EISSN: 2057-0201
  • URL: /core/journals/business-and-human-rights-journal
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