Since Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine began in February 2022, the UK has introduced an extensive package of economic sanctions against Russia. By August 2022, over 1,270 people had been designated and, by October 2022, approximately GBP 18 billion of Russian assets had been reported as frozen.

While the sanctions regime is not explicitly confiscatory in nature, it has, at times, come close to trespassing beyond its scope. This is particularly evident in the context of legal proceedings which involve sanctioned Russian parties. The sanctions regime, and the asset-freezing provisions in particular, have severely impaired the ability of sanctioned Russian parties to enforce and protect their legal rights by restricting their ability to pay for legal advice, satisfy obligations which may arise during the course of proceedings (including court fees and amounts payable under court orders) and recover such sums awarded in their favour, without a licence.

There has been a clear – and, at times, stark – difference between the approach of the English judiciary and that of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in relation to the practical difficulties caused by the sanctions regimes in the context of litigation involving sanctioned Russian parties. In this article, BVI litigation associate Charles Goldblatt considers recent decisions from both jurisdictions where the judiciary has sought to navigate issues caused by the imposition of sanctions in civil proceedings.

Read the full article on the CDR website.

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