Solicitors are vital in helping UK businesses understand human rights, the Law Society said today, urging the profession to help shape its guidance and support.

The Society has established an engagement programme to enable practitioners to learn more about emerging developments in the area of business and human rights and changing expectations of law firms.

Business and human rights, it explained, is the concept that all businesses respect and adhere to international human rights protections.

For lawyers, this means using their advice and influence to assist large industry and small businesses where rights are at risk of being threatened or abused, such as factory working conditions, the use of child labour and individual employment rights.

President Jonathan Smithers (pictured) said the Society wanted to ‘encourage’ solicitors ‘to take active steps to implement provisions within their own place of work and ensure that they are fully equipped to advise on the business and human rights concerns of clients’.

The Society will hold interactive workshops which will include discussions on: key developments regarding business responsibilities to respect human rights; what these developments potentially mean for clients and their practice; and emerging expectations on how firms manage human rights risks associated with their client relationships, employees and supply chains.

Solicitors unable to attend a workshop can take part in an online survey to suggest ways in which the Society can support them in this area.