In March 2015, David Anderson Q.C., the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, published his fourth report on the operation of the UK’s Terrorist Asset Freezing etc. Act 2010 (“TAFA 2010”) (for more information, please see the Sanctions Alert issue 36). The report recommended that during discussions concerning potential sanctions designations at meetings of the Asset Freezing Review Group (“AFRG”), a “devil’s advocate” approach should be adopted. This requires one member of the AFRG to advance arguments against designation, which would assist in identifying possible weaknesses of the case in favour of designation.

On 16 July 2015, the UK government published its response to Anderson’s report. The UK government stated that it recognised the importance of review group meetings being as rigorous as possible, in order to ensure that designations under TAFA were fair, proportionate and legally robust. The response agreed that nominating a member to perform the devil’s advocate role could further increase the level of challenge that already takes place during the AFRG meetings.