You are here:
  1. Home
  2. Support services
  3. Advice
  4. Practice notes
  5. Modern Slavery Act and Section 54

Modern Slavery Act and Section 54

6 December 2016

What is the issue?

'Modern slavery' is a term which encapsulates slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. These criminal offences are set out in section 1 and section 2 of the act, making a person liable if they ought to know another person is held in slavery, servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

This practice note is intended to help solicitors comply with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 by providing practical advice and highlighting examples of good practice.

Legal status

This practice note is intended to help solicitors comply with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 by providing practical advice and highlighting examples of good practice.

Solicitors should also refer to the government's guidance on transparency in supply chains, and other documents listed in Section 4.

The UK was the first to produce a national action plan to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Businesspublished on 4 September 2013 in the belief that the promotion of business and human rights go hand in hand and that responsible action by the private sector on human rights is good for business and communities. It helps create jobs, attracts customers and creates a sense of fairness: it contributes to a market's sustainability and therefore its potential for long-term growth.

The plan is now in its second iteration, in which specific note is made of hard law on different aspects of good corporate behaviour and respect for human rights including the Bribery Acts 2010/12, the Companies Act 2006 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The latter supplants existing legislation (see Note 1), toughens penalties for certain acts, and provides safeguards for victims.

Commercial organisations covered by the act are required to produce a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year, setting out what steps they have taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their business and supply chains.

The relationship between business and human rights is constantly evolving. This practice note will be updated to reflect changes in the legal framework and other developments as and when they arise.

 

Note 1:
The act repeals and replaces offences of human trafficking arising under section 59A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (inserted by section 109 of the Protection of Freedoms act 2012) and section 4 Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. The act also repeals and replaces the offence of holding another person in slavery or servitude or requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour arising under section 71 Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
 

Terminology

Commercial organisation - For the purpose of the Modern Slavery Act, and this practice note, a commercial organisation is:

(a) a body corporate (wherever incorporated) which carries on a business, or part of a business, in any part of the United Kingdom, or
(b) a partnership (wherever formed) which carries on a business, or part of a business, in any part of the United Kingdom, and
(c) which has a turnover of £36m or above.

This includes law firms.

Statement - This refers to a modern slavery and human trafficking statement as defined in Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act.

Sign In or Register

This is premium content

To access premium content login to My Law Society.

Not registered? My Law Society is free and open to all users. Register below.

Not registered?

Registration is free and will only take a couple of minutes.

If you are a member of The Law Society you can use your MySRA account details to register.

Register
Update your contact preferences

Update your details in My Law Society and tell us how you want to hear from us.

Practice Advice Service

The Practice Advice Service provides a dedicated support line for Law Society members and employees of law firms. Call us on 020 7320 5675.

> Contact the Practice Advice Service

Recommended

Law Management Community
Law Management - Your partner in practice

Our community for partners, leaders and practice managers in legal businesses provides advice, information and the support you need.

Law Management - Your partner in practice > More
group of professionals
Law Management Section finance and business forum 2019

Join this conference to gain insights on improving profitability and setting your firm's direction in uncertain times.

Law Management Section finance and business forum 2019 > More
Lexcel
Lexcel conference 2019

An unmissable day of topical conference sessions for Lexcel-accredited private practices and in-house legal departments.

Lexcel conference 2019 > More
glasses in front of coding screen on laptop
Should we invest in AI? Priorities and threats to the high street firm

Joe Reevy offers his personal perspective on why law firms need to avoid getting distracted by the next big thing.

Should we invest in AI? Priorities and threats to the high street firm > More
Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accreditation
Conveyancing Quality Scheme

Awarded to law firms that meet the required standards of technical expertise and client service in conveyancing with its CQS accreditation. Look out for it on Find a Solicitor search results.

Conveyancing Quality Scheme > More