Human rights concerns about UK Sanctions Bill

Houses of Parliament 1The UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights (the JCHR, which scrutinises draft legislation on human rights points) has published its report (link here) on the Sanctions Bill. Generally the Committee’s view is that “The UK’s withdrawal from the EU should not result in lower safeguards and unjustified restrictions on rights to due process and remedies; indeed it offers an opportunity to ensure rights are properly protected”. Key concerns expressed in the report:

  • Threshold for designations: The JCHR has asked the Government to explain why a lower threshold for designation (reasonable grounds to suspect) than currently under the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act 2010 (TAFA) (reasonable grounds to believe + necessary) is justified.
  • Annual reviews of designations: The report recommends annual reviews of designations rather than reviews every three years, having seen no evidence that annual reviews are unsustainable.
  • Appeal rights: The JCHR recommends full rights of appeal for designated persons, rather than judicial review.
  • Damages: The report considers that the Government had not justified limiting damages awards to cases of bad faith or negligence.
  • Closed hearings: The report recommends that the standard of disclosure (requiring at least the gist of allegations to be given to listed people) be made expressly clear in the context of closed hearings.
  • Independent Review: The report notes that the Bill removes independent review of terrorism designations currently enshrined in TAFA and recommends its retention.
  • Licensing guidance: The JCHR recommends that the publication of guidance on licensing and exemptions should be expedited.
  • Magnitsky sanctions: The report supports the Magnitsky amendments to enable sanctions for gross human rights violations.
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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