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On 18 August 2023, the High Court handed down judgment in the first court review of a designation made under the post-Brexit Russia sanctions regime. The Claimant, Mr Shvidler, had been designated on the grounds of his association with Mr Roman Abramovich and his having carried on business in a sector of strategic significance to the Government of Russia. He alleged that his designation constituted a disproportionate interference with his rights under Article 8 and Article 1, Protocol 1 (“A1P1”) of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”), and that the Secretary of State had exercised his discretion in a discriminatory manner in breach of Article 14 read together with Article 8 and A1P1 of the ECHR.

The Court dismissed the claim, finding that: (1) it could not “properly be said that the Secretary of State has failed to strike a fair balance between the rights of Mr Shvidler and his family and the interests of the community”; and (2) there was “no evidence to suggest that […] the race, nationality or ethnicity” of the Claimant (or other individuals designated under the same regime) had played a part in the Secretary of State’s decision-making.

The judgment includes consideration of a number of significant issues of principle, including the extent to which sanctions decisions engage the institutional expertise and constitutional responsibility of the Secretary of State and are entitled to respect from the courts.

Sir James Eadie KC, Jason Pobjoy and Rayan Fakhoury acted for the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs.

The full judgment is available here.

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