The UK sanctions regime takes centre stage in $850m appeal
On 30 January 2023, Mrs Justice Cockerill handed down judgment in PJSC National Bank Trust & Anor v Boris Mints & Ors  EWHC 118 (Comm) in the Commercial Court; the judgment was one of the first in the English Courts to offer a comprehensive overview of the Russia-related financial sanctions regime and their impact on a sanctioned party’s ability to pursue litigation.
Cockerill J rejected the arguments of the defendants that the claims could not be brought due to the sanctions against Russia, and subsequently gave permission for the defendants to appeal. Cockerill J noted, inter alia, that any funds awarded to sanctioned persons in a judgment would be frozen for the period of the sanctions regardless.
The Court of Appeal is now considering a renewed bid by Mr Mints and his sons to halt the $850m fraud case brought against him in a trial which began Monday 3 July 2023.
Associate Francis Bond previously provided commentary on the case and, ahead of the appeal, has given further analysis to Law360 explaining the difficulty Boris Mints and his sons will face in attempting to overturn Cockerill J's decision. See below the comment in full.
"On the fundamentals, I can't see an alternative finding that could have been made. If a judge finds that sanctioned persons cannot bring cases or functionally engage in litigation, that has a significant unintended consequence for the entire sanctions regime which is contrary to public policy and the functioning of the rule of law," he said. "It could essentially rope off a vast array of business, individuals and even states form recourse to the courts."