High Court rules on question of Russian sanctions’ – Impact on commercial litigation in the English courts

Mrs Justice Cockerill has ruled that it is lawful for judgment to be entered on claims brought by a party subject to Russian sanctions.  Learn more about this case and what the ruling means.

Published on 10 February 2023
Written by Sam Williamson
Sam Williamson

The judgment in PJSC National Bank Trust and another v Mints and others

The judgment in PJSC National Bank Trust and another v Mints and others [2023] EWHC 118 (Comm) has been hailed by leading commercial barristers’ chambers as one of the most significant so far to emerge from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

The Court’s ruling has profound importance for the participation of sanctioned individuals and companies in English litigation and the case may be considered further by the Court of Appeal. 

What was the case about?

The case involved an underlying fraud claim brought by two Russian banks. The defendants sought a stay of the proceedings and release from undertakings given to the Court, on the grounds that the second claimant was a ‘designated person’ under the UK’s Russia sanctions regime. The defendants argued that entering judgment was a licensable activity under that regime and that there was no relevant licensing ground.  

Cockerill J disagreed, stating that judgment was not a licensable activity. Permission to appeal was granted. 

Who were the barristers on the case?

The case featured a number of London’s top commercial litigation barristers. The claimant Russian banks were represented by Essex Court Chambers silks Nathan Pillow KC and David Davies KC.

Leading counsel for the defence included Philip Edey KC of Twenty Essex, One Essex Court’s Laurence Rabinowitz KC, Victoria Windle KC from Blackstone Chambers and John Machell KC of Serle Court

These and other barristers involved in the case appear in Chambers UK Bar’s Commercial Dispute Resolution rankings. Chambers additionally recognises Sanctions experts at the UK Bar

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