The Eurasian CIS Legal Professionals’ Forum, in association with The British Embassy in Armenia and The Bar Council of England & Wales, held « the English Law Day » conference in Yerevan on June 8, 2023.

In this forum numerous subjects were raised as matrimonial disputes, the use of English Law in financial transactions, international arbitration as well as the implementation of sanctions (sanctions against Russia) in our today world.

On the sanctions’ topic, our associate, Cassandra Gimbert, took part in the discussion next to other international attorneys as Alex Haines, Dan Gardener, Joshua Ray, Mikhail Bychikhin, Lidia Gorshkova, Matthew Walker and Maxim Kuleshov.

During this conversation, Cassandra Gimbert offered first a brief explanation of the delisting mechanism within the European Union, illustrating the advantages and disadvantages of this latter in comparison with the United Kingdom and the United States’ mechanisms (respectively presented by Alex Haines and Joshua Ray).

More specifically, she pointed out the particular strategy to implement in order to challenge a listing decision of the European Council. Indeed, the major arguments to be used today before the Luxembourg Court of Justice are the Council’s errors of assessment or the violation of the proportionality principle of restrictive measures with regard to the situation of individuals. The first one is particularly convincing in case of a change of situation in one individual’s life (argument which for example could not be used before UK Courts). The second one is quite more difficult to argue. However, there are some perspectives of evolution with the explosion in the number of cases over the last two years and the raising broadness of the European Council criteria of a sanctioned person, as it is again illustrating by the Regulation 2023/1089 date June 5, 2023, which extend the criteria of a “business person”. A change is expected and the litigations within the next few months will be determinative.

Further, Cassandra Gimbert addressed the effect of the sanctions against Russia on investors and other economic actors in European Union, through the disclosure obligations of Regulation UE n° 269/2014 and its Article 8. As to assure the effectiveness of the sanctions and limit their circumvention, the European Union promote cooperation and transparency to facilitate the implementation of this Regulation.

These obligations impact every kind of operators in Europe and covers a broad typology of information. In fact, the European Union imposes the transmission by European operators of any information they may have on assets and/or resources detained directly or indirectly by a sanctioned person; on assets and/or resources that are frozen or that should have been considered as frozen; or on assets and/or resources that could have been considered as detained by a sanctioned person or as frozen in the absence of any restructuring, transfer, or move preceding the listing decision of such person.

Finally, this topic highlights also the infringement of the European Union within some ‘historical’ rights, as the professional secrecy of attorneys which, as a reminder, is a basic principle implemented as a protection of our clients.

For further information on this last topic, we kindly invite you to read the article prepared by our partner, Jean-François Quievy and which is available on the link below [xxx].