A failed attempt by a billionaire tycoon to overturn UK sanctions has emphasised the government's wide discretion to target beneficiaries of Russia's regime — and underlined judicial deference to foreign policy, lawyers say.
The High Court rejected Eugene Shvidler's attempt to have the sanctions against him declared unlawful with its 18 August decision. The ruling ends the first legal challenge to test whether restrictions imposed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine would withstand judicial scrutiny.
With the bar set that low, it seems unlikely anyone will be able to challenge designation, Leigh Crestohl of Zaiwalla & Co. said.
"Although lip service is given to the impact on the individual in the judgment, it doesn't seem to carry through to the judge's analysis of whether the sanctions are proportionate and rational, other than it being a severe restriction on their life," Crestohl said.
"Although each case turns on its own facts, one wonders if this claimant didn’t succeed, will any."
"Ultimately, there’s going to be actual harm caused to the more than 2,000 sanctioned individuals and companies. There will be a pricetag associated with all this. It’s convenient to say there’s a licensing regime available to temper the effect of the restrictions-- without actually considering the genuine complaints about the efficacy of the licensing regime."
Read the full article featuring Leigh's comments published in Law360, 22 August 2023, here.