In recent communications between HM Treasury and Peters & Peters LLP, HM Treasury confirmed that it is updating its sanctions policy in respect of the information required from law firms seeking a licence to be paid by a designated party. Previous practice required law firms to complete a template application form that requested information on the reason for the licence being sought, the legal basis for doing so, the transactions concerned, and details about the firm and the designated party.
The new practice will require law firms to outline each task that they envisage undertaking in respect of a sanctioned client in advance of a licence being granted for transactions with them. The Treasury has stated that this is to allow them to assess the reasonableness of the licence request from an early stage. EU sanctions regimes contain a derogation to allow for unfreezing of funds “intended exclusively for the payment of reasonable professional fees”.