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Trade Sanctions

Lawyers helping clients overcome the impact of trade regulations

HFW's international trade regulation practice advises clients on, and resolves issues related to, the impact of regulations mandated by the European Union and World Trade Organization. Our primary objective is to help clients overcome commercial obstacles related to market access and import and export-related difficulties that result from government intervention and market regulations worldwide

What we do in Trade Sanctions

We regularly advise on the sanctions regimes introduced internationally against countries such as Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Ivory Coast. Our advice focuses on sanctions adopted at UN, EU, UK, UAE, French and Australian levels, and we regularly co-ordinate advice from other jurisdictions such as the United States, South Korea, Bermuda, Singapore and Switzerland.

We also advise on payment issues with respect to sanctions and appropriate contractual protection. We prepare bespoke clauses and/or advise on the effect of clauses prepared by others or industry standard clauses. We have also advised clients on disputes involving sanctions, including recent litigation in the UK Court of Appeal on the prohibition of insurance provisions of the EU sanctions against Iran.

We have excellent contacts within the key regulators, including HM Treasury (responsible for financial sanctions) and the Department of Business Innovation & Skills (responsible for export controls and product-related sanctions) in the UK. We also have contacts with the US State Department, who invited us to host a round-table consultative discussion with senior US Government officials in London, following enactment of US extra-territorial sanctions.

Our experience in Trade Sanctions

Our trade sanctions practice is very active, and this has particularly been the case in the last 2 years. We provide below some examples of our work in this area.
  • Advising in UK High Court proceedings on the validity of insurance cover provided by a UK P&I Club for liabilities for bunker oil pollution, in the context of EU sanctions against Iran.
  • Representing a policyholder in UK Court of Appeal proceedings on the prohibition of insurance provisions of the EU sanctions against Iran.
  • Representing a Singaporean company on submissions to the European Council and European Court of Justice following listing as an asset freeze target under the EU sanctions against Iran.
  • Advice "hotlines" for P&I clubs (and their members) on the impact of sanctions against Iran, Syria, Libya (and other countries) on operations, cover, policy wording, etc.
  • Advice "hotline" for insurance broker on the impact of sanctions against Iran, Syria, Libya (and other countries) on cover, policy wording, etc.
  • Advising various commodity traders and banks on the effect of sanctions on commercial transactions and investments, in a wide range of regimes, including on payment issues and payments into frozen accounts.
  • Making applications for authorisation for payments to and from Iranian persons under the EU sanctions against Iran.
  • Advising a major Middle Eastern shipowner on the impact of US, EU, UK and Australian sanctions against Iran, on a project for purchasing and chartering Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).
  • Preparing sanctions clauses for contracts of a major Australian commodity exporter.
  • Advising a major oil company on sanctions against Iran and Syria.

Our Trade Sanctions Briefings

Our lawyers have written a number of Briefings on the issues arising from the imposition of various sanctions regimes, including against Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cote d'Ivoire:


  • Ukraine-related sanctions: what comes next? March 2014
  • Ukraine: the latest on sanctions, March 2014
  • Ukraine: what sanctions might be imposed? March 2014
  • Iran



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