The House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee said on Wednesday of this week (report here) that it is considering the UK Government’s proposals to re-list 3 people and 1 entity said to be associated with the Assad regime in Syria on the EU’s asset freeze / travel ban measures (which are on the ‘sanctions in force’ section of this blog).  All had their previous designations annulled by the EU General Court.

The Committee states that it supports “the principle that restrictive measures should be both targeted and legally robust” and comments that “it is not evident that this is the case with these proposals, particularly given the background, which includes the Council being unable to provide sufficient supporting evidence for the original restrictions using open sources when invited to do so in court hearings last June”.  The Committee asked the UK Minister for Europe “to confirm that he considers the reasons now given for the restrictive measures, and the underlying evidence, to be sufficiently robust to deter or withstanding further legal challenge” and noted that “similar issues are raised by the restrictive measures against Iran”.

This entry was posted in Iran, Syria by Maya Lester QC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.


  1. At last, some sensible persons concerned with the rule of law and the reputation of the EU are reacting to the miserable performance by the Council in imposing restrictive measures. Despite the clear messages from the General Court and the Court of Justice, the Council has in too many cases for a long time persisted in listing individuals and organisations without solid evidence, thus giving rise to serious doubts about the politicians’ respect for the rule of law. Let’s hope that the Committee’s reactions in these cases are followed by other Member States and cause an improvement in the Council’s decisions about restrictive measures.

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