Skip to content

The rise of Sanctions

In the Chambers UK 2023 Guide, we have included several new tables. One of those, Sanctions, has been created to reflect the intense focus on sanctions in 2022. Learn more about this area of UK law and how Chambers is recognising those law firms working across the sector.

Published on 18 October 2022
Written by Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson

The backdrop

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 turned the established world order on its head. The spectre of war in Europe materialised after having been largely unthinkable for 75 years. The global community quickly coordinated to retaliate and hurt Russia financially. 

What are Sanctions?

Sanctions are penalties imposed by one country (or group of countries) on another. They are restrictive measures that address violations of international law, human rights and other forms of state-sponsored crime. Economic sanctions include a range of financial restrictions, including asset freezes and trade and investment prohibitions. 

Discover market trends and analysis with Chambers UK

webinar icon
Chambers UK Guide 2023 | Virtual Launch Event
Join the Chambers UK team to discover the key findings from research into the 2023 guide and UK legal market.
Register now

The rise of Sanctions in 2022

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, countries across the world began imposing sanctions against Russia. These were widespread and targeted Russia’s finances, oil and gas, and HNW individuals. The US, EU and UK, among others, have sanctioned more than 1,000 Russian individuals and businesses. The UK will phase out the use of Russian oil by the end of 2022.

What effect have Sanctions had on the legal industry?

The effect of imposed sanctions on individuals and businesses is absolute, and means that law firms are unable to receive payment from or make payment to sanctioned entities. Many UK firms have specialised practices in the Russia/CIS region, including Baker McKenzie, which was long considered a ‘go-to’ firm for Russian clients. As a result, sanctions imposed against major clients such as VTB Bank, Gazprom and Rosneft has caused huge flux in legal practice. International law firms with Russian offices, including Dentons, scrambled to extricate themselves from their offices from Russia.

How is this reflected in the UK 2023 Guide?

In response to the increase in Sanctions-related work, we have created a Sanctions table within the Public International Law section. This table aims to recognise firms and individuals that have notable Sanctions practices, such as those advising clients on the legal impact of sanctions on their operations. This year, we have recognised firms such as Baker Botts, Carter-Ruck and Peters & Peters, as well as individuals including Christopher Caulfield, Guy Martin and Charles Claypoole. Although the table does not currently have separate bands, we expect that it will in the future as it grows and firms adapt to the evolving legal landscape.


Chambers UK

With the most comprehensive view of the UK legal market and the top law firms and lawyers working, the Chambers UK guide is the market leading resource for those looking to buy legal services.