We have market-leading expertise in advising our clients on sanctions. We provide businesses impacted by sanctions with commercially focused advice and support, often in difficult circumstances.

We also represent major commercial companies and businessmen in challenging sanctions in national and EU courts.
  • Profile
  • Experience
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Financial and trade sanctions are an increasingly common and powerful foreign policy tool. Their implementation exposes businesses and individuals to huge financial, criminal, reputational, political and regulatory risk. Our sanctions team offers an international outlook on the legal and practical implications of sanctions.

As well as advising generally on sanctions interpretation and compliance, we advise on the licensing regimes and have dealt with competent authorities in a number of jurisdictions within EU member states and offshore jurisdictions.

We have also acted for sanctioned entities and individuals in more than 20 cases challenging sanctions in national and EU courts. These cases often involve novel issues of law in a fast-moving and politically charged environment. Several are cited by others in interpreting EU sanctions regimes.

Our experience acting for those targeted by sanctions as well as businesses otherwise impacted enables us to provide our clients with a complete legal and commercial picture when interpreting a sanctions regime.

"A terrific team involved in some of the most cutting-edge work in the public law arena. The level of service rivals the magic circle city firms, and expertise in this area is second-to-none."

The Legal 500 UK 2020

Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG

Representing our client in its legal challenge to sanctions in the General Court and Court of Justice of the EU, resulting in the UK Government changing its licensing policy.

Sanctions challenges in EU courts

Representing various other commercial companies (including National Iranian Tanker Company, Bank Saderat Iran and Persia International Bank Plc), related individuals and other businessmen challenging Iranian and Syrian sanctions in the General Court and Court of Justice.

EU subsidiary of an Iranian bank

Representing our client in a claim for compensation of more than €130 million in relation to EU sanctions against Iran.

Managing director and a former director of a British-Iranian bank

Advising these individuals on their legal challenges to sanctions in national and EU courts. As well as securing the swift lifting of the sanctions, we obtained formal apologies from the EU member state that proposed them.

Russian owned banks

Advising our clients on the effects of EU sanctions in relation to Ukraine.

Iranian, European and Asian banks

Advising our clients on the interpretation of EU and UK sanctions against Iran in relation to existing and proposed finance transactions, including restructuring and acceleration of loan facilities and enforcement.

Iranian, European and Asian shipping companies

Advising our clients on the effect of US, EU and UK sanctions against Iran on their ongoing business operations and sanctions policies and procedures.

International trade union

Advising our client on the potential impact of Iranian and Syrian sanctions on agreements and transactions entered into with various counterparties.

US equipment finance and leasing company

Advising in respect of the sanctions related wording to be contained in various commercial contracts within certain of their joint venture arrangements.

UK hedge fund and Libyan owned UK bank

Advising our clients on complex international issues involving UN, EU, UK, Dutch, Swiss and offshore sanctions against Libya.


Rovine Chandrasekera Partner

T:  +44 7825 943 076 +971 55 899 3951
M:  Email Rovine | Vcard Office:  Dubai, London


Sue Millar Partner

T:  + 44 20 7809 2329
M:  + 44 7825 625 898 Email Sue | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

16 Jun 2021

From Insights

Sanctions wave intensifies compliance headaches

In an article published by The Banker, Stephenson Harwood of counsel Stephen Ashley shares his insights on the difficulties faced by banks in complying with sanctions ..


14 May 2021

From Insights

Unpacking the EU Sanctions Blocking Regulation: Bank Melli v Telekom Deutschland

This week saw the first commentary from a member of the EU's highest Court on the EU Blocking Regulation since it was brought into renewed focus following the US withd..


04 May 2021

From Insights

Sanctions: deceptive practices and high-risk areas – Part 2

In the second of our two-part series, we explore the common deceptive practices currently used by sanctions evaders in the maritime industry.


12 Apr 2021

From Insights

Sanctions: deceptive practices and high-risk areas – Part 1

The maritime industry has transitioned to the front and centre of the global stage with increasing scrutiny on sanctions enforcement.


16 Mar 2021

From Insights

UK sanctions post-Brexit March 2021

In this article we focus on UK sanctions post-Brexit.


18 Dec 2020

From Insights

Webinar – Who’s afraid of sanctions? What will the international sanctions landscape look like in 2021?

On 8 December, Stephenson Harwood co-hosted a joint webinar with FTI Consulting. The webinar was moderated by Michael Imeson, senior content writer for the Financial T..


25 Nov 2020

From Insights

US sanctions - who do they apply to and what steps can you take?

Following the US presidential election on 3 November, members of Stephenson Harwood’s sanctions team explore the scope of the US sanctions regime and its applicability..


06 Apr 2020

From Insights

OFSI sharpens its teeth

As we explained in a previous briefing, in April 2017, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) was given powers to impose monetary penalties for brea..


14 Feb 2019

From Insights

UK sanctions post-Brexit

On 23 May 2018, the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (the "Sanctions Act") received Royal Assent. The Act is intended to give the UK the power to control its sa..


20 Dec 2018

From Insights

Economic sanctions: foreign policy tool or signal?

We have in recent years lived through a period of unprecedented growth in the use of economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool. Read our recent article for the 'A Wo..


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