Mr Youssef, listed on the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaida & Taliban sanctions list, challenged one part of the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (SAMLA) as being incompatible with the right of access to a Court guaranteed by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the right to private and family life protected by Article 8 ECHR. Under SAMLA, a person designated pursuant to a UN sanctions listing can request that the UK Government seek their removal from the list. If the Government declines to do so, the individual may appeal to the High Court. If the High Court, applying judicial review principles, concludes that the Government’s refusal was unlawful, it may order the UK to use its best endeavours to have the person de-listed by the UN Security Council, but cannot order the listing to be quashed. The Claimant’s case was that this was inadequate, and that the ECHR required that a UK court should be able to order the disapplication or quashing of sanctions imposed in the UK pursuant to a resolution of the UN Security Council.
In a judgment handed down this morning, Mr Justice Garnham held that the SAMLA scheme is not incompatible with the ECHR because Article 6 and 8 require that the court should be able to review a UN-derived sanctions listing to see if it is arbitrary (Al-Dulimi v Switzerland), for which SAMLA provides, and that the ECHR does not require that a domestic court should be able to order that a UN listing be quashed. The “best endeavours” remedy “complies with international law and meets the requirements under the ECHR of a remedy against arbitrariness”. The Judge also said that in any event he would not have granted judicial review as a matter of discretion given the factual background to Mr Youssef’s challenge.
The judgment is here.
Maya Lester QC and Malcolm Birdling acted (with Sir James Eadie QC) for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, instructed by the Government Legal Department