Business Obligations

Globalisation has meant that many businesses operate in jurisdictions that present a high risk from a legal, political and commercial perspective. This has been accompanied by an increased 'internationalisation' of the law relating to these risks. Consequently, companies operating multi-nationally are now required to meet certain new legal obligations.

Allens' International Business Obligations team has the experience and expertise to advise you on how to manage these legal obligations and risks. Our team of experts will work with you to minimise the legal, and related commercial and reputational, risks that may arise from operating in these high-risk jurisdictions. We also assist clients to establish and maintain their commercial and social licences to operate in these markets.

More detail on the issues on which we can advise and assist our clients are set out below:

Anti bribery and anti-money laundering
  • Design and implementation of global anti-bribery and anti-money laundering policy and compliance programs, including due diligence tools, face-to-face training and tailored online training programs.
  • Conduct of independent investigations into suspected or actual incidents of bribery or money laundering.
  • Regulatory investigations and litigation commenced in Australia and other jurisdictions; in particular, in Asia, the US and the UK.
  • Design and implementation of global policies and compliance programs to ensure compliance with United Nations and unilateral domestic sanctions laws.
  • The legal compliance with these sanctions laws on an individual transaction basis.
  • Regulatory investigations and litigation commenced in Australia and other jurisdictions in connection with alleged or proven breaches of sanctions laws.
Disaster management
  • Minimising and managing legal and litigation risk, as well as reputational risk, associated with unexpected natural or man-made events.
  • Advising on stakeholder communication strategies.
  • Regulatory inquiries in Australia or overseas concerning disasters involving our clients.
  • Litigation in connection with these events.
International trade and investment laws
  • The application of international trade laws to the activities of businesses from various sectors operating in various jurisdictions. This includes advice on World Trade Organisation laws; investor protection agreements, including bilateral investment treaties; and the energy charter treaty.
  • Dealing with home and host governments on potential breaches of these laws.
  • Taking formal legal action under the dispute resolution procedures provided for in international trade law.
  • Legal challenges in connection with anti-dumping.
  • Conduct of international arbitration.
Legal/litigation risk minimisation for large-scale projects or investments in high-risk jurisdictions
  • International and domestic hard and soft law issues related to:
    • environmental and social feasibility, and managing impacts of large-scale projects;
    • community, indigenous peoples, and stakeholder engagement and benefit-sharing agreements;
    • land acquisition and resettlement;
    • host-government relations;
    • engagement with public and private security forces; and
    • socially responsible investment.
  • Operational alignment and implementation of industry or international standards relevant to the legal aspects of the above issues, such as the IFC Performance Standards, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.
  • References or complaints filed with non-judicial bodies, such as OECD National Contact Points, the Equator Principles Secretariat, the Voluntary Principles Secretariat, the UN Global Compact or UN special procedures mandates.
Business human rights obligations
  • Establishment of global human rights policies and compliance programs that align with international and domestic law standards.
  • Addressing issues related to labour standards and rights, including forced and child labour, across business operations and in supply chains.
  • Conduct of human rights impact assessments across a business or for a particular project.
  • Conduct of external investigations under privilege into alleged human rights violations.
  • Investigations/audits under privilege of operational alignment with human rights standards relevant to corporate conduct, including the UN 'Protect, Respect, Remedy' Framework, and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
  • Design and implementation of company-wide or project-level grievance mechanisms that align with relevant international and domestic law standards.
  • Advice on structuring of project contractual arrangements to meet the requirements of potential project lenders (including export credit agencies, multi-lateral lending agencies, developmental financing institutions and various commercial lenders) so as to maximise project and other financing opportunities.
  • Advice on various options for political risk coverage, including via financing structures and direct PRI cover, and how compliance with international business obligations may impact on, or otherwise require consideration within the context of, such coverage.