On 12 October 2018, the UK government published guidance on sanctions implementation in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on 29 March 2019 (see guidance here). This is part of the government’s overall guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there is no deal (see overarching framing notice here).

The guidance states that the UK will look to implement UN sanctions and carry over all existing EU sanctions at the time of its departure from the EU. The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the “Act“) will provide the legal basis for the UK to “impose, update and lift sanctions after leaving the EU”, with sanctions regimes being implemented through new secondary legislation under the Act. The guidance states that the UK government proposes to put forward much of this secondary legislation before Parliament before March 2019. This statement appears to align with the statement provided in OFSI’s recent Annual Review that secondary legislation is now being written and that stakeholder guidance will be produced in due course (see our previous blog post here).

The guidance states that any sanctions regimes that are not addressed through regulations under the Act by March 2019 would continue as retained EU law under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, thereby avoiding any gaps in implementing existing sanctions regimes.

The guidance states that the UK government expects the sanctions regulations to include:

  • the purposes of the sanctions regime;
  • the criteria to be met before sanctions can be imposed;
  • details of sanctions, such as trade and financial sanctions;
  • details of exemptions;
  • how the measures will be enforced; and
  • circumstances in which information about sanctions may be shared.

Further guidance on sanctions will be published in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March 2019.