Modern Slavery Statement

Modern Slavery

This statement is made by Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (BLP) pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for the financial year ending 30 April 2016. It sets out the overall commitment and steps taken by BLP to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not present in our business or direct supply chain.

BLP Group Structure

BLP is a law firm and limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (England and Wales).

The Berwin Leighton Paisner Group, which provides legal and related services to corporates and individuals had a consolidated global turnover of £254m for the financial year ending 30 April 2016 and employs over 1200 staff. For the purposes of this statement, “BLP Group”  includes Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Berwin Leighton Paisner (Services), Berwin Leighton Paisner (Germany) LLP, Berwin Leighton Paisner (HK) LLP in association with Haley Ho & Partners, Goltsblat BLP LLP and Berwin Leighton Paisner (Myanmar) Limited. None of the entities within the BLP Group (other than BLP) fall within the reporting obligation at this time.

We are committed to carrying on our business in a responsible and ethical manner that respects the rights and dignity of individuals and the communities where we operate and provide our services.  We have a zero tolerance policy to modern slavery and expect the same high standards and commitment from those we do business with.

Our approach

As an international law firm our operations and suppliers are based all over the world. To properly and transparently address the risks of modern slavery we have developed a systematic, risk based approach to identifying and assessing the risk of modern slavery within our business and direct supply chain. Our initial focus has been on our operations in England which is the location of our largest office with the greatest number of staff and the significant proportion of our business and turnover. We have started this process by reviewing our core legal services business and direct supply chain.

In the last financial year ending 30 April 2016 we have:

  • established a dedicated project team to review procurement/external supplier management generally. Modern slavery and human trafficking forms a fundamental part of that remit and we are committed to working with suppliers to prevent slavery and human trafficking within their businesses and, specifically, where that is relevant to our business relationship with them. The team consists of representatives from our business services teams which has increased awareness of the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking across the firm and particularly amongst those staff dealing with our direct commercial external suppliers and key internal processes
  • reviewed policies and procedures surrounding the engagement and management of external suppliers
  • reviewed policies and procedures surrounding internal resourcing including employment and contracting practices
  • commenced awareness raising and a dialogue about this topic with other law firms throughout the world who we work with on a regular basis (our Preferred Firm network) by addressing the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking at the network’s annual partner conference in March 2016. We will be continuing this work through further various initiatives.

To date we have not discovered issues of concern. Moving forward, we are committed to assessing any instances of non-compliance regarding modern slavery and human trafficking on a case by case basis. Our Whistleblowing Policy provides a channel of communication for staff who have concerns and we have a Complaints Handling Policy in place should clients wish to make a complaint. BLP’s Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (a position which is mandatory under applicable regulation) is also a key point of contact both internally and externally and has a regulatory duty to ensure that BLP takes all reasonable steps to comply with its statutory obligations.

Next steps

During the course of the year to 30 April 2017 we aim to:

  • introduce new Ethical Business Principles
  • introduce a new Supplier Code of Conduct
  • risk assess new suppliers, and current suppliers as their contracts come up for renewal and raise awareness and engage with high risk suppliers
  • seek to introduce contractual rights to request compliance-related information and the right to audit in our high risk supplier contracts together with warranties and the right to terminate for breach of our Supplier Code
  • implement a modern slavery and human trafficking training programme for relevant members of staff and generally communicate and raise awareness about this topic throughout the firm. We will also continue our dialogue with our Preferred Firm network
  • continue to provide advice to and work with our clients on how to eradicate the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking in their businesses and supply chains.

Key Performance Indicators will be:

  • the number of high risk suppliers we have engaged with on the issue of modern slavery
  • training and education events and other awareness raising activities we have delivered – internally, with material suppliers and to clients
  • the number of high risk supplier contracts we have updated with additional modern slavery provisions.

22 November 2016

Lisa Mayhew's signature

Lisa Mayhew, Managing Partner

Designated member of Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP 

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