Close adherence to the UN Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Right (VPSHR) enables corporates to build and maintain an effective SLO in complex environments.

The VPHSRs state that risk assessments are vital to the promotion and protection of human rights. These risk assessments must consider the available human rights records of public security forces, paramilitaries, local and national law enforcement, as well as the reputation of private security. Awareness of past abuses and allegations will help corporates to avoid recurrences, as well as to promote accountability in the future.

Corporates should take care to ensure that their contractors and partners are familiar with VPHSRs.

General Principles of Ethical Conduct

  • Regular consultation between corporates, their partners and contractors, and government representatives and local communities, about the impact of security arrangements on those communities, and clear communication between all stakeholders about the need for ethical conduct and respect for human rights by public service providers.
  • The primary role of public security agencies should be to maintain the rule of law, including the safeguarding of human rights, and deterrence of acts which might threaten personnel and facilities.
  • Individuals credibly implicated in human rights abuses must not be allowed to provide security services, and force should only be used when strictly necessary and to an extent proportional to the threat.
  • The rights of the individual should not be violated while exercising the right to exercise freedom of association and peaceful assembly, the right to engage in collective bargaining or other related rights of Barrick employees – as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
  • Corporates should ensure the holding of structured meetings with public security on a regular basis, to discuss security, human rights and related workplace safety issues. Support should be given to host nation governments to provide human rights training and education for public security, as well as their efforts to strengthen state institutions to ensure accountability and respect for human rights.
  • In respect of recent allegations of human rights abuses, corporates should actively monitor the status of any ongoing investigation and press for proper resolution of these issues, in consultation with the host nation Government and relevant NGOs. The security and safety of sources must be protected and additional or more accurate information that may alter previous allegations must be made available, as appropriate, to concerned parties.

Private Security Companies

  • Corporates must ensure that private security companies observe correct policies with regard to ethical conduct and human rights, the law and professional standards of the host nation, emerging best practice developed by the industry, civil society and governments and the promotion of the observance of international humanitarian law.
  • In particular, private security contractors must act in a lawful manner, exercising caution and restraint in a manner consistent with international guidelines on the use of force, including the UN Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by law enforcement officials and the UN Coode of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, as well as emerging best practice.
  • Furthermore, private security companies must have policies regarding appropriate conduct and the use of force, which are open to monitoring.
  • Such monitoring should encompass detailed investigations into allegations of abusive or unlawful acts and the availability of disciplinary measures sufficient to prevent and deter, as well as procedures for reporting allegations to relevant local law enforcement authorities when appropriate.
  • All allegations of human rights abuses by private security must be recorded, and credible allegations investigated. Once those allegations have been forwarded to the relevant law enforcement authorities, corporates should actively monitor the status of investigations and press for their proper resolution.

The Importance of Effective Grievance Procedures

An essential component in any plan to build relationships with stakeholders is the existence of a clear set of procedures for handling grievances. Effective grievance procedures provide an indispensable took for communities and companies to address difficulties in a non-confrontational manner.

Confrontation occurs when stakeholders feel they have no mechanism for addressing problems in a peaceful manner. The key principle to be applied when handling grievances is Respect. The manner in which grievances are heard is often as important to the complainant as the outcome.

A respectful grievance procedure will be characterized by six principles:

  • Clarity and transparency – Feedback needs to be available throughout the process.
  • Accessibility – Arrangements for the submission of grievances must be public and available to all.
  • Safety – No complainant should face any danger as a result of making a report.
  • Predictability/timeliness – A grievance procedure needs to be guided by clear timelines and processes, with a clear documented outcome.
  • Compliance – The process identified for handling a grievance must be strictly adhered to.
  • Existence of a recourse mechanism – A committee must be established as a fall back, in the event of disagreements.

About the Author

Mark Jenkins advises clients on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), security and risk management issues affecting the viability of on and off-shore energy, mining and infrastructure sector projects in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mark’s experience has been focussed on creating reliable community support for projects through the development of a Social License to Operate (SLO) based on effective CSR initiatives. The success of these initiatives has been based on a thorough understanding of local environmental, commercial, and cultural dynamics, especially Islamic ones.

Prospect Law is a multi-disciplinary practice with specialist expertise in the energy and environmental sectors with particular experience in the low carbon energy sector. The firm is made up of lawyers, engineers, surveyors and finance experts.

This article remains the copyright property of Prospect Law Ltd and Prospect Advisory Ltd and neither the article nor any part of it may be published or copied without the prior written permission of the directors of Prospect Law and Prospect Advisory.

This article is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and it should not be relied on in any way.

For more information or assistance with a particular query, please in the first instance contact Adam Mikula on 020 7947 5354 or by email on



We are pleased to announce that we are hosting a seminar on the management of risk in nuclear related contracts. The seminar will address the contractual and insurance protections which a party can bring to bear to minimise risk and liability when entering into a contract. The session will be jointly given by one of our insurance advisors (Mark Tetley) and one of our nuclear lawyers (Rupert Cowen), and will be followed by a networking session.

Places are strictly limited but if you are interested in attending please contact Victoria Thompstone on to enquire about the availability of spaces. Priority will be given to nuclear operators and those in the supply chain.

Click here to see the flyer

  • Seminar Title:          Nuclear Risk: Minding the Gap                       
  • Location:                  The Centre, Birchwood Park, Warrington WA3 6YN
  • Date:                         Tuesday 30 April 2019

The schedule will be as follows:

4.30 p.m:         Registration                                                                                                                                          5.00 p.m:         Talk / Q & A                                                                                                                                              6:00 p.m          Drinks & Canapés                                       

For a PDF of this notice click here             



How will your business be affected by the major changes in environmental law and regulation that are taking place, many flowing from Brexit?

Prospect Law’s William Wilson, Senior Environmental and Regulatory Lawyer, has developed short, focussed briefings on some of the key areas, designed to help your business map a way through a rapidly changing legislative landscape.

We can tailor these briefings to your specific business, or deliver them in short interactive lunchtime sessions aimed at senior management or groups of staff with particular interests.

Defra’s Resources and Waste Strategy

This Strategy takes forward, in England, the Circular Economy elements of Defra’s 25 year plan. This briefing considers coverage of product lifecycle (on the circular economy model); topical areas (such as waste crime and food waste) and the bigger picture (for example marine plastics, research and innovation, and data monitoring), and key commitments including those on producer responsibility for packaging.

REACH Chemicals Regulation, and UK REACH

Disengagement from the EU REACH chemicals regulation, and from related regulations such as Biocidal Products, has been one of the most vexed aspects of Brexit for businesses affected by environmental laws. This Briefing considers relations with ECHA post-Brexit, the position of Downstream Users and Only Representatives, issues with UK REACH, the waste/chemicals interface and implications for firms undertaking cross-border trade.

Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill

On leaving the EU, the UK will cease to apply EU Treaty provisions supporting environmental protection and will no longer have environmental laws applied by the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union. This Briefing considers the arrangements that the government is proposing for England to replace these structures with a new Office for Environmental Protection, and what has been learned from pre-legislative scrutiny by the EFRA Committee, including Michael Gove’s evidence of 6 March 2019.

Environment Bill

The wider Environment Bill, promised for the next session of Parliament, is supposed to include the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill; air quality protection; enhancement of landscapes; wildlife and habitat; more effective handling of resources and waste; better management of surface, ground and waste water. This will be the most important Environment Bill for over 20 years, and this Briefing considers the ways in which it will affect the environment and businesses.

Illegal waste sites issues

Illegal waste sites are a massive issue for many parts of the UK, happening on a much greater scale than is generally realised and resulting in millions of pounds of avoided Landfill Tax for government and regulators, as well as unfair competition for legitimate businesses. This Briefing considers some of the latest technological options for locating and identifying illegal waste sites, and bringing them to the attention of regulatory authorities.

Air Quality Strategy, Clean Air Zones, Air Quality Legislation

Air quality legislation is undergoing a major overhaul, with big implications for the economy, the environment and human health. This Briefing considers Clean Air Zones, the ClientEarth litigation, the Government’s new Air Quality Strategy, air quality in the Environment Bill, and some of the effects that this legislation is already having, for example on the car market.

Pesticide policy, law and Brexit

In the short term, pesticide policy review seems to have fallen victim to the “Brexit first” approach within government. In the medium term it is likely to be subject to major review. This Briefing considers the trends from recent European judgments, and the way in which their influence may continue to be felt, despite Brexit and divergence from EU law.

Devolution, Environmental Law and Brexit

The development of distinctly different environmental laws and regulations, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is going to result in an increasingly challenging environment for compliance for businesses working across these jurisdictions. This Briefing gives a very brief overview of the main differences, and considers both the possible problems and potential solutions for an integrated approach to environmental regulation.

Labour Party policy, the environment and energy

Is your business up-to-date on Labour Party policies on the environment and energy, and how it may be affected by them in the event that the Labour Party wins a future election? This Briefing reviews the party’s policies in these key areas, and considers how they may affect businesses.

Environmental Law and trade

Alignment of environmental regulations with either the EU, the USA or any other jurisdiction is clearly going to be a major factor in any future trade talks undertaken by the UK. This Briefing considers what to expect, and what is at stake.

About the Author

William Wilson is a specialist environmental, regulatory and nuclear lawyer with over 25 years experience in government, private practice and consultancy. He worked as a senior lawyer at the UK Department of the Environment/DETR/DEFRA, and helped to build up the environmental and nuclear practices at another major law firm, as well as running his own environmental policy consultancies. William has experience of all aspects of environmental law, including water, waste, air quality and industrial emissions, REACH and chemicals regulation, environmental protection, environmental permitting, litigation, legislative drafting, managing primary legislation, negotiating EU Directives and drafting secondary legislation.

Prospect Law is a multi-disciplinary practice with specialist expertise in the energy and environmental  sectors with particular experience in the low carbon energy sector. The firm is made up of lawyers, engineers, surveyors and finance experts.

This article remains the copyright property of Prospect Law Ltd and Prospect Advisory Ltd and neither the article nor any part of it may be published or copied without the prior written permission of the directors of Prospect Law and Prospect Advisory.

This article is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and it should not be relied on in any way.

To discuss which of these Briefings may be relevant to your business, and how to arrange a session to deliver them in-house, or to follow up advice required on any of the issues covered, please contact William Wilson at or on +44 (0)7885 551 405.