UK government outlines post Brexit sanctions legal regime

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the White Paper setting out the proposed legal framework for imposing sanctions in the UK post-Brexit (see previous blog). The White Paper is here. The key points in the Government’s response are as follows:

  1. The Government considers that “reasonable grounds to suspect” is the correct threshold to adopt for UK sanctions designations, which will “only be met if there is sufficiently solid evidence to enable the government to form a reasonable suspicion”.
  2. The Sanctions Bill will include separate provision for UN sanctions which the UK is obliged to implement under international law, and for terrorist sanctions.
  3. The Sanctions Bill will set out how sanctions will apply where there is a link with the UK; there will be “clear guidance” on the meaning of “UK nexus”.
  4. The Government will review future UK autonomous sanctions regimes every year, and every individual listing at least every 3 years.
  5. Designations will be subject to judicial review and requests for “administrative reassessment”.
  6. The Bill will enable the use of closed material procedures, plus unclassified statements of reasons for designation.
  7. There will not be provision for an independent reviewer or Ombudsperson, but the Government does “see a case for improving the way designations are agreed and reviewed at the UN level, building on the good work of the UN Ombudsperson for the ISIL / AQ Sanctions Committee”.
  8. The Bill will broaden the licensing powers available to OFSI, and create a power enabling general licences, for example, “to facilitate humanitarian aid to regions affected by sanctions”.
  9. The Government will issue guidance on “the content and implementation of sanctions”.
  10. The Government believes that obligations to report to ensure sanctions compliance should apply to all sectors in relation to financial sanctions. (See separate regulations and blog in relation to enhanced UK reporting obligations here).
  11. There will be new powers to seize and detain as well as freeze assets subject to an asset freeze which go beyond powers existing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Criminal Finances Act 2017.
  12. The Government will “put limits” on the ability of designated persons to seek compensation for unlawful sanctions designations “in a way that is consistent with the Human Rights Act 1998”.
This entry was posted in United Kingdom 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.

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