International Law

International Law 

Members of Drystone Chambers work on cases both in the UK and overseas. Our International work comprises international public law, dispute resolution and criminal cases with an international dimension. Members of Chambers have been called to the Caymanian Bar and the Bar of Turks and Caicos. We are proud to be the first Barristers’ Chambers to have forged an alliance with a Maltese law firm, DF Advocates, with whom we work closely on all aspects of our core practice areas. 

International Criminal Law and UN Tribunals

Drystone Chambers has acted in cases before international criminal courts and war crimes tribunals including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Court for Sierra Leone as well as advising in respect of investigations by the SCU in East Timor.

Members of Drystone Chambers have worked as General Counsel in the UN's East African projects and have been seconded to the Administrative Law section of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York. They have appeared regularly before the UN’s first instance tribunals in Nairobi and Geneva and have conducted appellate cases before the United Nations Appeals Tribunal in New York. In addition, working with Fair Trials International, we have brought challenges before the UN Human Rights Committee to protect clients from ill-treatment and continued detention overseas.

Seth Levine presently serves as the senior UN Legal Officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently the UN’s largest peace keeping commitment. Marcus Joyce is currently seconded to the ICC at the Hague.

Sanctions and export licensing

Sanctions regimes have proliferated and evolved over the last 20 years and, whilst the rate of adoption may have slowed, new, targeted, smart sanctions are still being imposed, particularly in relation to the Russian Federation and CIS states.

Despite the landmark deal struck between the G5+1 group and Iran, in Vienna on 14 July 2015, the UK guidance remains not to ‘do business with Iran’. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action requires Iran to take certain steps before any sanctions will be relaxed with a view to being phased out.

Members of Drystone Chambers have a long-standing reputation for advising on the implications for business of US, UN and EU Sanctions regimes as well as bringing public law challenges against the listing of persons affected.

UK companies and individuals, particularly those in exposed industry sectors and those working with partners in places that play a secondary role in facilitating sanctions-busting, are increasingly at risk of the attentions of the SFO, BIS (Office of Export Control), HMRC and the Security Service. Drystone has an experienced team of practitioners with the skills to assist businesses and individuals with:

  • Ensuring that they do not fall foul of international sanctions regimes and are compliant with their domestic export licensing requirements;
  • de-listing applications before the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Ombudsman dealing with applications related to United Nations Security Council measures; and,
  • bringing actions for judicial review in the High Court relating to Council of Europe and UN Security Council measures.

Our recent work has included:

Advising, in the context of alleged breaches of sanctions and expert licensing restrictions: a UK based manufacturing company in relation to the export of dual-use goods to Iran; and, a UK based software company in relation to the export of cryptographic software to Russia. As external counsel, we advised and supervised corporate internal investigations and designed and implemented compliance programmes to prevent any recurrence of the issues that brought the corporates to the attention of the Security Service and ultimately to HMRC and BIS (ECO). In addition, we have assisted with the negotiation of civil settlements, avoiding criminal liability for the corporate and/or its directors and officers;

  • Advising the SFO in relation to the Iraq ‘Oil for Food’ Programme Inquiry and on behalf of a third party concerning contempt of court / compliance with a freezing order related to the investigation;
  • Advising UAE based entities on sanctions and export licensing issues relating to the provision of services to oil and gas sector entities in Iran;
  • Advising a designated individual on the merits, and on forum, for a de-listing application relating to nuclear non-proliferation;
  • Representing a UK businessman in criminal proceedings, before the Central Criminal Court, arising from the export of materials that were capable of being deployed in a portable ‘dirty’ nuclear device. The case involved numerous mutual legal assistance requests from a number of European jurisdictions. The prosecution was abandoned after legal argument on the fourth attempt to try the defendant;
  • Representing individuals before a number of United Nations Tribunals.
  • Acting in extradition cases concerning the export of dual use goods to Iran (USA v Cheng concerning components for uranium enrichment) and USA (USA v Savage concerning the export of dual use components for assault weapons).

DF Advocates, Malta

The members of Drystone Chambers have a reciprocal alliance with DF advocates of Malta. DF Advocates deal with general and complex business transactions, assisting in disputes across a range of industries and sectors. They have established themselves as a leading law firm covering various practice areas including Funds and Investment Services, Banking, Corporate and Commercial, Gaming and Betting, Litigation and Arbitration, Public Procurement and Privatisation, Trust and Fiduciary Services, Real Estate, Maritime and Aviation, and Tax.

Drystone Chambers provides DF advocates with a London base in Chambers and reciprocal arrangements are in place for our members working in Malta. In addition to the significance of the business relationship of the alliance, there will be mutual training & professional development activities: Chambers will be collaborating closely with DF Advocates on legal matters arising from Malta which have a UK/International law dimension.