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Leigh Day welcomes Joint Committee report on Human Rights and Business

Two partners from law firm Leigh Day, who gave evidence at the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), have welcomed the committee's report on Human Rights and Business 2017

Posted on 07 April 2017

Shanta Martin and Richard Meeran, of the firm’s International team, spoke at the Joint Committee in October 2016 on a range of issues including access to remedy, duty of care and modern slavery.
The JCHR, which is made up equally of members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, this week published its report titled ‘Humans Rights and Business in 2017: Promoting responsibility and ensuring accountability’.
The three main recommendations of the report are stronger legislation, stronger enforcement and clearer routes to justice. The report states that all these elements are needed to protect workers’ human rights.
Chair of the JCHR, Harriet Harman MP, said:
“The UK must build on work already done and create human rights protections that demand high standards of businesses. Businesses must be required by law to demonstrate how they are ensuring human rights are respected in their operations – if they do not then public bodies must exclude them from procurement opportunities.
“Access to justice must be improved and companies must feel the effects of their actions. We would like to see laws enacted to allow victims to bring claims against companies where they have failed to prevent human rights harms from occurring.”
Ms Martin said:
“The Committee’s recommendations provide a clear path for the government to act on its promise to improve access to justice for victims of corporate human rights abuses.

"We welcome the report and urge the Government to implement the recommendations, which would help ensure the protection of human rights of workers and members of communities impacted by the operations of British business whether in the UK or abroad.”

Mr Meeran added: "Over the past 20 years considerable progress has been made in developing UK law so as to make business accountable legally for human rights violations. At the same time however we have seen backwards steps instigated by government that have significantly increased obstacles to justice.

“I hope that this report and its recommendations can propel the UK Government and businesses in the direction of positive progress once more.”