Last week’s Queen’s Speech promised that a new international sanctions Bill would be among the Government’s legislative priorities for the coming year. The Background Briefing to the Speech notes that the Bill will be necessary in order to “comply with our international obligations and to pursue our foreign policy and national security objectives after the UK’s exit from the EU”.

New legislation

The Bill will aim to provide a domestic legislative framework for the imposition of sanctions such as asset freezes, travel bans and trade and market restrictions in accordance with international law. The framework will provide a mechanism for organisations or individuals to apply for review of sanctions and for the Government to exempt certain activities from the effect of sanctions.

Sanctions in 2017

Currently the UK enforces 34 sanctions regimes globally targeting both countries, such as Russia and Iran, and suspected terrorist organisations, such as Islamic State and Al Qaeda. The UK, along with the US, spearheaded calls for fresh EU sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s government at the last G7 meeting in April. There will be keen interest in the continuing American position on further sanctions given that these have become inextricably linked to ongoing political investigations into Russian links with the Trump administration.