Economic Sanctions

Navigating the complex body of international economic rules

Sanctions for violating international trade and conduct rules have become a powerful tool for state governments and international organisations to deal with conduct by other actors on the international stage.

Economic sanctions are restrictions implemented by governments against countries, groups and individuals. They can take the form of asset freezes on designated individuals and nationwide restrictions on the receipt and transfer of funds to a sanctioned country. Economic sanctions restrict financial transactions to and from the target and thus affect all interactions between them and their assets. They can be put in place by UN, EU, UK or US systems with the aim of achieving a specific foreign policy or national security objective, such as regime change. Sanction breaches occur whenever an individual or entity engages with the targeted assets or funds. This includes making funds available for the benefit of the target, dealing with designated funds or knowingly participating in activities which have the effect of circumventing the sanctions. Each of these breaches are a criminal offence.

It is the duty of organisations to ensure their transactions are aligned with up-to-date sanctions information and to report any information which would help governmental compliance. Both of these duties are monitored by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) within HM Treasury.

Navigating the rules on international trade and economic sanctions requires specialist advice. The existence of a sanctions regime does not mean an end to a particular project. In terms of UK sanctions, OFSI will consider the issuing of licenses that enable companies and individuals to continue working. Individuals seeking to engage with parties, or in states, that are subject to sanctions should seek clear legal guidance on whether restrictions are in place and how to navigate the system. Violation of a sanctions framework can have significant financial and reputational consequences for states and businesses.

Economic Sanctions Advice
Jonathan Fisher QC at Bright Line Law has a specialist practice of advising clients accused of having breached economic rules and has experience assisting both State governments and corporate entities navigating the complex body of international economic rules. He uses his in-depth subject knowledge, strategic thinking and advocacy experience to deliver the best results for clients and accepts instructions on all economic sanctions matters.

A recent case undertaken by Bright Line Law involved advising on a sanctions question arising from the grant of a sub-lease. This is an example of the wide commercial reach of sanction designations.

If you have questions about how sanctions operate in the commercial context, or are in need of specialist advice or representation, please contact Jonathan Fisher QC at Bright Line Law by telephone on +44 (0)20 3709 9470.Email
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