Skip to content


UNGPs in Legal Practice Roundtable Series: Human Rights Due Diligence as a Legal Standard and Defence

Event Details

Time: 14:00-16:00 (Registration open from 13:30)

Venue: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5JP

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) expect companies to carry out a human rights due diligence (HRDD) process "to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their impacts on human rights". HRDD as envisaged by the UNGPs is an ongoing, comprehensive and context-specific process, able to be tailored to the particular circumstances faced by a company. In this way, it is similar to the understanding of due diligence as a legal standard in other areas of law, such as anti-corruption and bribery, environmental protections and food and consumer safety. Recently, there has been a rise in general and sector-specific guidance assisting companies to comply with their HRDD obligations, as well as actual or proposed legislative measures which adopt the concept of HRDD as an obligation or as a defence.

Our third Roundtable of the BIICL UNGPs in Legal Practice Roundtable Series will focus on how HRDD can be applied as a legal standard and defence. In doing so we will examine actual or proposed legal measures which utilise the concept of HRDD, and consider how the concept of HRDD as described by the UNGPs may be applied in legal claims.

Possible questions for discussion include:

* How the concept of HRDD is used as a legal standard in current legal and regulatory measures, in particular:

* How measures such as the Swiss Parliament's counter-proposal to the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative utilises HRDD as a defence, and how this is likely to be applied in Swiss courts;

* The recommendation by the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights' recommendation with respect to the introduction of a "failure to prevent" mechanism for adverse human rights impacts, and how HRDD may operate as a defence in that context.

* How HRDD as a legal standard or defence may be used meaningfully by claimants, including:

* What elements HRDD as a legal standard or defence would need to require companies to do, to assist claimants both substantively and procedurally;

* What are some of the obstacles which claimants face to demonstrate that a company failed to exercise effective HRDD.


  • Ingrid Gubbay, Hausfeld
  • Peter Hood, Hogan Lovells
  • Julianne Hughes-Jennet, Hogan Lovells
  • Urs Rybi, Public Eye


This is a a closed event, open to members of the BIICL UNGPs in Legal Practice Roundtable Series only.


If you have any queries, please contact the Events team.

Donate Now Keep In Touch
Save and continue