Sanctions and Public Law

Международное общественное право и санкции


Legal challenges

Corporations and the people who manage them are often unknowingly at risk of accusations of breaching international law. Overnight they can become targets of sanctions for reasons they are unaware of, paralysing both their business and income streams. Failing to get the right legal advice can have catastrophic results on both individual freedoms and the future of these businesses.  

For over a decade, we have worked with businesses and individuals who have been subject to various sanctions regimes, suffering from the corresponding travel bans, asset freezes and other methods of state sanction across the globe.  

Our experienced team offers the ability to work effectively and efficiently. Our immediate knowledge of the law means we know how best to deal with the relevant sanctioning institutions as well as quick access to the correct external advisors in the UK and abroad. 

Our leading success in this field was achieved for a private Iranian bank, which was sanctioned by the UK Treasury and the European Union in 2011 with devastating results on the Bank’s business. Our team took this case on from the Bank’s previous advisers, who had described it as ‘unwinnable’. We developed a new strategy to overturn the sanctions, based on unlawful infringement of our client’s rights, and eventually won in the highest courts in both England and the European Union. 

This case was followed up by a claim on behalf of our client for over US$4 billion in damages from the UK Treasury, which was positively settled in 2019.  


Our experience in dealing with sanctions disputes at the highest levels has meant that our team can advise clients on short notice regarding sanctions compliance and regulatory aspects of doing international business. We recognise that the best result for our client is never to become subject to sanctions in the first place, and we can help clients working in sensitive areas to secure this result. 


Judicial Review 

Some of our clients’ biggest challenges are not disputes with other businesses, but rather governments’ decisions, or even laws, which negatively affect their interests. Whether these government decisions relate to diplomacy, commerce, property, immigration or any other matter, Zaiwalla & Co have the knowledge and experience to overturn them if they are not legally justified. 

Because such different standards of legal oversight exist around the world, we have found that many international clients are not aware of the possibility of making an effective challenge against the decision of a UK public authority via the courts. In fact, we are very proud of the part we play in maintaining the full independence of the UK’s legal system, in which the Courts will review the legality of the government’s actions.  

We are currently acting on a significant matter relating to the control of US$2.1 billion held by the Bank of England for the Central Bank of Venezuela. 

We also brought successful Judicial Review applications for a Kenyan Businessmen who challenged the Home Office’s refusal to issue a British passport for 20 years and a decision of the HM Treasury to impose sanctions on the CEO of an Iranian international bank.    

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“I trust Zaiwalla & Co to fight my corner. They are creative in their approach and have managed to help us win cases I really didn’t expect to win.”
The Legal 500