Following a long and somewhat sleepy existence on the margins of contractual interpretation case law, force majeure clauses (“FMCs”)  found themselves subject to a rude awakening with the global onset of COVID in 2020, and consequent interruptions to all manner of contracts relating to global supply chains, major sporting events, and many other facets of business. The judicial analysis of how and when FMCs are engaged in international commerce has continued post-COVID, with the introduction of wide-ranging Sanctions against Russia.Continue Reading Sanctions, Certainty and Pragmatism – the Contemporary Context for Analysing Force Majeure clauses

On May 23, 2024, Russian Presidential Decree No. 442 (the “Decree”), which establishes the framework that will allow the Russian government to seize any U.S. assets in Russia, was signed. This comes just weeks after the U.S. Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians (REPO) Act, which authorizes the President of the United States to confiscate any sovereign assets of the Russian Federation that are in the U.S. territory, entered into force on April 24, 2024.[1]Continue Reading Potential Seizure of U.S. Assets in Russia

On April 24, 2024, President Biden signed into law H.R. 815, a foreign aid bill containing a provision that doubles the statute of limitations (SoL) for civil and criminal violations of U.S. sanctions and other national security programs from five years to ten years.Continue Reading Statute of Limitations for U.S. Sanctions Violations Extended from Five to Ten years

As the second anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine approaches, the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom continue to focus on and tighten sanctions against Russia, with a particular emphasis on preventing circumvention and evasion of sanctions.  For example, 2023 ended with several significant regulatory developments, including the EU 12th package of sanctions against Russia, discussed in our earlier alert, and new U.S. sanctions-related authority targeting foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) supporting Russia’s military-industrial base.  This update focuses on the latter development, which is a significant development for FFIs that remain engaged in business involving Russia, even if such business is undertaken outside of U.S. jurisdiction.Continue Reading Impact of Recent U.S. Secondary Sanctions Authority Targeting Foreign Financial Institutions Supporting Russia’s Military-Industrial Base

The English court took a mixed approach to judicial intervention in a number of cross-jurisdictional cases last year, although some further (welcome) clarity has recently been provided by the Court of Appeal. Perhaps the most salient and recent example of this has been the Court’s perceived willingness to grant Anti-Suit Injunctions (“ASIs”) to restrain foreign proceedings brought in breach of a foreign-seated arbitration clause. These recent cases have largely arisen following Russia’s 2020 amendment to Article 248 of the Arbitrazh (Commercial) Procedure Code (“2020 Amendment”), which itself was a direct policy response to Western sanctions against Russian companies and individuals following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.Continue Reading Mixed-Interventionist Approach to Cross-Jurisdictional Issues arising from Sanctions

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Continued volatility in geopolitical events this past year and corresponding responses in sanctions policies highlight the importance of integrating economic sanctions considerations in board agendas for 2024. In particular, boards of directors should be aware of the increasing global collaboration among sanctions authorities as well as the continuing expansion and application of sanctions in new domains such as digital assets. Sanctions developments can be expected to be particularly fluid in 2024 with respect to China, Russia and Venezuela.Continue Reading Economic Sanctions: Developments and Lessons for Boards in 2024

A key feature of the UK’s financial sanctions framework is that not only designated persons (listed on the UK’s Consolidated List) are subject to sanctions, but also entities that are ‘owned or controlled’ by designated persons, even if not themselves listed.Continue Reading The Control Test in the UK’s Sanctions Framework: Recent Developments

On October 23, 2023, the European Commission (the “Commission”) updated its non-binding Frequently-Asked-Questions guidance relating to the EU’s Russia-related sanctions regime (the “FAQs”).[1] Specifically, the Commission provided guidance on the meaning of ‘acting on behalf or at the direction of’ an entity in the context of sanctions targeting state-owned enterprises.Continue Reading European Commission Publishes New Guidance on Scope of Sanctions Prohibitions