Elise Groulx Diggs practices international human rights law and international criminal law, with wide experience advising public and private sector clients. She is also an accredited mediator since 2010 and certified in France (2016) and by IMI (The International Mediation Institute) in The Hague, since January 2017. She created two international NGOs, one which she led for 15 years. She advises corporations on human rights risks in their strategic and big footprint projects and supply chains. Elise is a recognized expert in business and human rights where she has focused amongst others in assessing the legal risks of operating in fragile states and conflict zones. She advises corporations, law firms, organisations and international NGOs in the United States, Canada, France and the United Kingdom with a focus on the UNGPs, the OECD guidelines for Multinational, the Equator principles and the SDGs.
Elise is a thought leader and a convener of the international legal profession and has been recognized and ranked internationally among the top 10 lawyers in the field of Business and Human Rights (Chambers & Partners Global Guide, London,) 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and in February 2021 when she was ranked at the very top (Band One) and received the title “Global Market Elite Leader”
background and expertise
For the past seven years Elise was an Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers in London. She is a member the Paris Bar and is Of Counsel at Alkine et Associés, a French law in Paris. She is “Of Counsel” at Fall Legal in Dakar, Senegal. And to Endo et Associés, in Montréal Québec (Canada). She is also Principal of the international consulting group, BI for Business Integrity & Partners LLC, based in Washington. D.C. (USA).
Elise offers legal advisory and training services to corporations, corporate lawyers, international organisations, and sustainability experts in conducting human rights due diligence, human rights impact assessment and social risk assessments. She is an expert at coaching business, financial institutions and other relevant actors assessing their legal exposures related to business operations and supply chains in conflict-affected areas. She has advised multinational corporations and a variety of clients on a wide range of issues including: due diligence assessments for investments in conflict-prone countries; business complicity in war crimes; corporate criminal liability; inclusive governance and stakeholders and remediation programs for victims of grave human rights violations occurring near mining and big footprint projects.
Elise is currently involved in an international multi-stakeholder’s mediation between workers and employers in South East Asia to resolve dispute around freedom of association, working conditions, unpaid wages and severance package.
Recently, Elise served as mediator in a complex dispute involving workers laid off during the COVID pandemic in a southeast Asian country, their plant management, a Chinese parent corporation, a branded multinational in the EU and an international labour union. Elise's current mediation mandate came to a successful resolution. This complex dispute tested the limits of traditional commercial and labour-management dispute resolution, raising sensitive issues of equity, due process and respect for human rights. This challenging and complex dispute tested Elise to employ methods acquired in years of practice in the field of criminal justice as well as her knowledge and experience in the field of Access to Remedy for victims of alleged human rights abuse. This of course is a key pillar of the both of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the NCP processes of the OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct.
- French: Native
- English: Fully bilingual spoken and written English
- Spanish: Working proficiency
Current Professional Activities
- Chair of the Initiative on Business and Human Rights at the American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights, Washington DC.
- Affiliated to Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington, DC, where she is the Co-Director of a Programme for Lawyers in Business and Human Rights at the Centre on Ethics and the Legal Profession.
- Was chair of the IBA Committee on Business and Human Rights (London) until January 2022
- Founding Member of a think tank on issues of security and development Cercle K2 (2014) in Paris, France
- She helped launched a new initiative in the field of Business and Human Rights, the development of an Access to Remedy Institute (ARI), to address human rights and environmental harms from business activities. This new initiative is fostered by the ABA Center for Human Rights.
Supply Chain School with Helen Carter and Elise Groulx
Episode 17 - Part 1/4 (10 July)
Elise Groulx explains the evolution of the legal frameworks for human rights
Elise describes the evolution of human rights law from the publication of the guiding principles on business and human rights by John Ruggie in 2011. She goes on to describe the 5 rings of law in this area … hard law, reporting, norms of conduct, contracts and standards, international soft law and norms. Elise describes how soft law does transition through these rings to become hard law. Elise provides examples from France, USA, Japan, India and the UK.
Episode 17 - Part 2/4 (11 July)
The evolution of procurement practice around human rights
Helen Carter describes her role in developing the British standard for Modern Slavery and her up coming role leading the UK delegation to develop an ISO standard. She describes the challenge for purchases to comply with the “galaxy of legislation” that is being developed around the world.
Episode 17 - Part 3/4 (12 July)
Best practice in addressing human rights through supply chains
In this episode Elise and Helen focus on supply chains. They discuss the role of the UN guiding principles on business and human rights (UNGP’s) and changes in legislation around the world that makes organisations at the top of the supply chain as well as their subsidiaries and suppliers accountable for abuses of human rights. Organisations need to identify, map, prevent, mitigate and remediate human rights abuses. Helen describes the role of ISO standard to provide a framework for organisations to work toward this objective.
Episode 17 - Part 4/4 (13 July)
Elise Groulx and Helen Carter discuss "Just Transition"
Elise and Helen share their thinking about just transition. They highlight the potential problems and the immense benefits just transition could bring to people and how just transition should be framed and focused. They make the link between low carbon technology, responsible consumption, human rights, environmental justice and bio diversity and the need for everyone to come together to deliver holistic solutions.
Episode 17 - Full Episode (14 July)
Elise and Helen… The full conversation!
This episode is a recording of the entire conversation of Elise Groulx and Helen Carter as covered in previous episodes 1 – 4
PROFILE: Elise Groulx
Chair of the Initiative on Business and Human Rights at the American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights, Washington DC.
Affiliated to Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington, DC, where she is the Co-Director of a Programme for Lawyers in Business and Human Rights at the Centre on Ethics and the Legal Profession.
Was chair of the IBA Committee on Business and Human Rights (London) until January 2022