The UK could be in line for early legal challenges from individuals and businesses it has banned for poor human rights records under a new sanctions regime modelled on the Magnitsky Act adopted by the US earlier this year, lawyers say.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner at Zaiwalla & Co, commented that with the UK poised to come out of the European Union, it is likely that there will be a substantial increase in the number of individuals and entities that the country designates.
He further commented:
"With the increase in the number of designations one could also expect an increase in the number of challenges brought by designated individuals and entities.
"The law laid down by the courts in the case of Bank Mellat v. HM Treasury … would pave the way for the court to deal with such challenges.”
Zaiwalla & Co represented an Iranian bank in its challenge against sanctions imposed on it by Britain that were later struck down. In that case, Bank Mellat alleged that the sanctions caused it to lose business and customers. The ten-year dispute was concluded in 2019 when the UK government agreed to settle the £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) lawsuit for an amount that was not disclosed.
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