The High Court has handed down an important judgment in the field of sanctions law. In R (Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London & Ors) v HM Treasury  EWHC 2189 (Admin), Mr Justice Kerr held that the proper construction of Article 29 of Consolidated Regulation (EU) No. 36/2012 which delimits the use of information provided or received under the sanctions regime ‘for the purposes for which it was received for provided’ and ‘to facilitate compliance with the Regulation’, permits the release of information about assets frozen under Article 14 to the Claimants judgment debtors.
The Claimants obtained a judgment in the USA in 2011 for some USD 51.5 million against the Syrian state and its agents found responsible for the hijacking and almost complete destruction of an EgyptAir aircraft in 1985 and obtained an order from the High Court that the US judgment was enforceable in the UK in 2018. The Claimants understand that assets belonging to certain of the Syrian agents are frozen under Article 14 of the Consolidated Regulation and accordingly that HM Treasury knows the location of those assets but HM Treasury had refused to divulge any information about those assets in reliance on Article 29 of the Consolidated Regulation. Mr Justice Kerr held that the Claimants are entitled to the information because facilitating compliance with the Consolidated Regulation includes facilitating a request for authorisation from HM Treasury to release frozen funds to satisfy a judgment under Article 18(1)(a) of the Consolidated Regulation.
The Consolidated Regulation is one of many such instruments in the EU sanctions regime containing similar wording. The judgment therefore has important consequences for the ability of judgment debtors to enforce judgments where the judgment creditors have assets frozen under a sanctions regime to trace and recover monies owed to them.
The judgment is available here.
Shaheed Fatima QC and Naina Patel acted for the Claimants instructed by Clyde LLP.
Tony Peto QC and Tim Parker acted for the Claimants in a related private law action ordering a bank suspected to hold frozen assets to disclose information relating to them. A summary of this judgment is available here.
Tim Otty QC and Naina Patel acted for the Claimants in the prior action to enforce the US judgment in England and Wales. A summary of this judgment is available here.