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Lords to question Foreign and Commonwealth Office on legality of EU sanctions

In a one-off evidence session on Tuesday 11 October, the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee will investigate the legality of the EU sanctions listing process and will question witnesses from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Council of the EU in Brussels, as well as legal expert Maya Lester QC.

Serious concerns have been raised by the EU Justice Sub Committee regarding the fairness of the EU sanctions listing process which can target individuals, companies and Governments most often by imposing asset freezes and travel bans. Scrutiny by the Committee into a number of proposals has found that individuals have been immediately relisted, despite their original listing having been quashed by the EU courts.

This evidence session will give the Committee the opportunity to examine in detail issues such as the lack of an agreed standard of evidence to be met before a sanctions listing is adopted; the fairness of the EU Council's process for listing and re-listing sanctions and future UK alignment with EU sanctions post Brexit.

At 10.15am the Committee will hear evidence from:

  • Paul Williams, Director Multilateral Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Andrew Murdoch, FCO Legal Adviser, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Matthew Findlay, Deputy Head of Multilateral Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

At 11.00am the Committee will hear evidence from:

  • Maya Lester QC, Brick Court Chambers
  • Mr Michael Bishop, Senior Legal Adviser, EU Council Legal Service

The Committee is likely to question the witnesses on:

  • Does the number of listings being annulled have a wider bearing on the credibility, or effectiveness, of EU sanctions?
  • What has the Council done to improve the fairness of the listing and relisting process over the last two to three years?
  • What are the recommendations to make the process fairer, and what is the likelihood of these recommendations being implemented?

The evidence session will take place on Tuesday 11 October, at 10:15am in Committee Room 3 of the House of Lords.

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