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Belgravia Law June 2024 Insights and Updates: Firm News, Legal Trends, and Beyond

June 2024
Dear all,

The Belgravia Law June Newsletter recaps updates and recent activities from our firm, legal news and trends, a case law digest, and beyond-law insights.

We hope you enjoy reading our latest updates and legal news from all around the world.

Best wishes,
BELGRAVIA LAW NEWSLETTER EDITORIAL TEAM
Firm News

English Law Day in Belgrade

We are thrilled to announce that the English Law Day took place in Belgrade on 12 June 2024. Organised by the Eurasian Legal Professionals’ Forum, in collaboration with the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Bar Council of England and Wales, this landmark event brought together a diverse array of legal professionals from across the globe.
Dominic Otway, Petar Orlic, Samuel Townend KC, and Shantanu Majumdar KC's opening remarks provided an insightful introduction to the flexibility of English common law, the expertise of the judiciary of England and Wales, and the opportunities for investment and cross-border cooperation with Serbia.
A strong contingent of Belgravia Law team members, including Shantanu Majumdar KC, Aleks Sekulic, Ceyda Ilgen, and Benjamin Wells, attended the conference.
Throughout the conference, the collaborative and interactive atmosphere fostered meaningful networking by speakers and participants, allowing attendees to expand their knowledge and make valuable new connections within the international legal community.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made English Law Day in Belgrade a resounding success - our co-organisers, speakers, sponsors, staff, volunteers, and all the engaged participants.

As we reflect on the continued success of the English Law Day conference, we look forward to building on its momentum and continuing to facilitate important dialogues about the role of English law in the global legal arena. Stay tuned for updates on future English Law Day events.
Legal News
On May 28, 2024, new amendments to the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2024 came into force, expanding the designation criteria for sanctions and further restricting the transport of certain goods to and from Russia. The regulations now allow for designating individuals who own, control or work for entities already subject to sanctions and those providing financial services or resources to sanctioned parties. Belgravia Law provides an overview and analysis of these regulatory changes in the June 2024 newsletter.

Changes in UK Sanctions Regulations

U.S. Government Announces New Sanctions and Expands Export Controls on Russia and Belarus

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On June 12, 2024, the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce announced new sanctions and export controls in relation to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. This update highlights key aspects of these updated and expanded measures.

I. Newly Implemented Sanctions
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has introduced new measures.
  • Prohibition of specific IT services: a new ban on providing certain IT services to Russia.
  • Enhanced secondary sanctions: broadened sanctions targeting foreign financial institutions.
  • New SDN designations: Addition of over 300 individuals and entities to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.

Additionally, OFAC:
  • issued three new general licenses (GLs) (98, 99, and 100)
  • revised three existing GLs (6D, 8J, and 25D)
  • introduced eight new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (FAQs 1181-1188); and
  • Updated ten existing FAQs (976, 1040, 1068, 1122, 1128, 1146, 1147, 1148, 1151, and 1152).

For the complete OFAC press release on these new sanctions, click here.

II. Prohibitions on IT and software-related services
Under Executive Order (EO) 14071, OFAC has issued a new determination that forbids the export, re-export, sale, or supply—either directly or indirectly—by U.S. persons or from the U.S. of specific IT services to any individual in Russia, including:
  • IT consultancy and design services: advisory and planning services in the IT sector.
  • IT support and cloud-based services: services related to enterprise management and design/manufacturing software.

Certain transactions are exempt from these prohibitions, such as services provided to entities in Russia that are U.S. owned or controlled, services related to winding down or divestiture of non-Russian-owned entities, and services for software covered under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or otherwise authorized by the Department of Commerce.

These IT and software-related prohibitions will come into effect on 12 September 2024.

OFAC has also released five new FAQs (1184-1188) to provide clarity on these prohibitions.

New SDN Designations
Over 300 individuals and entities have been added to the SDN List under EO 14024. These new designations include entities in and outside Russia, spanning various industries such as oil and gas, financial services, semiconductor manufacturing, military equipment production (including drones), and others. Those entities are registered in Russia, Belarus, the British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, China, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, and the UAE.

U.S. persons are now generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving these designated parties, including entities owned 50% or more by them. All assets of these designated parties within the U.S. or controlled by U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

Expanded Secondary Sanctions
OFAC expanded the scope of the secondary sanctions to include all individuals and entities designated under Executive Order (EO) 14024. As a result, foreign financial institutions may face secondary sanctions for conducting significant transactions with or providing services to any entity sanctioned under EO 14024. OFAC issued a sanctions advisory note to provide further guidance on these measures.

Export Controls
The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has introduced new export control measures targeting Russia and Belarus.
  • Entity list additions: five entities added and eight amendments made to the BIS Entity List.
  • New licensing requirements: imposed on certain EAR99 software.
  • Narrowed scope of license exception: further restrictions on items eligible for export to Russia and Belarus.
  • Expanded industry sanctions: additional items added to industry sector sanctions lists.
  • Consolidated sanctions: Russian and Belarusian sanctions merged into a single section for clarity.

License Exception’s Scope Narrowed
The scope of items eligible under License Exception for export to Russia and Belarus has been narrowed, with specific eligible items now listed separately for Russia, Belarus and Cuba.

Consolidation of Sanctions
The final rule consolidates Russian and Belarusian sanctions into a single section of the EAR, simplifying the requirements and making it easier to understand the controls.

Additions to the Entity List
The BIS final rule adds five entities to the Entity List for activities deemed contrary to U.S. national security (including registered in Russia, China and Hong Kong), restricting their ability to export, reexport, or transfer items subject to the EAR.

If you need any additional information, please contact:
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Of Counsel

George Benaur

Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Senior Solicitor

Izabella Prusskaya

Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Portrait of Gulnara Kuanysheva, Partner in 'Belgravia Law', London.
Partner

Benjamin Wells

Legal Insights from Different Jurisdictions

The Evolution of China's Civil Code and Its Impact on Arbitration

China's legal landscape has undergone significant transformations, particularly with the introduction and evolution of its Civil Code since 1 January 2021. This unification of previously fragmented laws has created a more predictable and stable legal environment, crucial for arbitration proceedings.

I. Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
The effectiveness of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism heavily depends on the enforceability of arbitral awards. Historically, the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in China faced challenges, with a 2016 study indicating an enforcement rate of just under 70%. However, from 2012 to 2022, this rate rose to 91%. This significant increase reflects China's efforts to align with international arbitration standards and practices through judicial reforms and a stronger emphasis on upholding the rule of law.

II. Developments in Arbitral Rules
In addition to improvements in enforcement, China has also seen developments in its arbitral rules, particularly with institutions like the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC). On 1 January 2024, SHIAC introduced new arbitral rules that enhance the flexibility and efficiency of arbitration. These rules include provisions for:

  1. Consolidation: allowing multiple arbitral proceedings to be consolidated into a single set of proceedings if they involve the same parties and legal relationships, thus saving time and resources.
  2. Joinder of Additional Parties: permitting additional parties to join ongoing arbitral proceedings, which is crucial in complex disputes involving multiple stakeholders.
  3. Emergency Arbitrators: introducing the mechanism of emergency arbitrators to provide urgent interim relief before formation of the main arbitral tribunal, ensuring that parties can secure immediate protection of their rights.

These developments are significant as they enhance the attractiveness of arbitration in China, making it a more viable and efficient option for resolving disputes, both domestic and international.

III. Conclusion
The evolution of China's Civil Code has had a profound impact on arbitration in the country. The increased enforcement rates of foreign arbitral awards and the introduction of progressive arbitral rules by arbitral institutions reflect China's commitment to fostering a robust and reliable arbitration environment. These advancements are likely to bolster confidence among international parties and contribute to the continued growth of arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution in China.
Legal Blog Post

The Power of Language in Arbitration

In this edition of the newsletter, we discuss the power of language in arbitration, inspired by Benjamin Wells’ presentation at English Law Day in Belgrade.

Arbitration has long been acclaimed as a more efficient and flexible alternative to traditional litigation, allowing parties to resolve disputes outside the formal court system. However, the nuances of language can profoundly impact the arbitration process and its ultimate outcomes. As parties from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds increasingly turn to arbitration, a deeper understanding of the hidden power of language is crucial.

One of the fundamental elements in any arbitration is drafting the arbitration clause itself. This clause, which is typically embedded within a larger commercial contract, outlines the key parameters of the arbitration process - from the governing rules and procedures to the location of the proceedings and the language to be used

Careful and precise drafting of this clause is essential, as any ambiguities or oversights can lead to significant challenges. Parties must ensure that the language used in the clause clearly articulates their intentions and addresses potential points of contention - before the dispute even arises.

Beyond the clause, Counsel's advocacy style and strategy can be a powerful tool in shaping the arbitral proceedings. Skilled advocates adept at leveraging language to their advantage can substantially impact the arbitrator's understanding and decision-making. This includes the choice of words, rhetorical techniques and the strategic use of body language in advocacy.
Body language in advocacy can convey confidence, authority and trustworthiness or undermine an argument if it is incongruent with the spoken message which is being conveyed. Arbitrators, who are tasked with carefully evaluating the evidence and arguments are highly attuned to advocates' nonverbal cues. By mastering the art of body language, counsel can amplify the persuasive power of their language and ensure that their client's position is effectively communicated.
The language proficiency of the participants involved in the arbitration process is of paramount importance. Arbitration frequently involves parties from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Ensuring effective communication is critical to a fair and equitable process.
The use of professional interpreters and translators can be invaluable in bridging language barriers and facilitating mutual understanding. Additionally, the selection of arbitrators with strong language skills and cross-cultural awareness can greatly enhance their ability to navigate the nuances of communication and better grasp the perspectives of all involved.

The language used throughout the arbitration itself also plays a pivotal role. From the presentation of evidence and the examination of witnesses to the final arbitral award, the choice of terminology, tone and contextual framing can significantly influence the arbitrator's comprehension and decision-making.

Moreover, the language of the final arbitral award is critical. This document outlines the arbitrator's findings and decisions and must be crafted with the utmost care and precision. Ambiguous or imprecise language in the award can lead to post-arbitration challenges, delays, and even the potential for the award to be set aside by the courts.

In today's globalised business landscape, where parties from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds increasingly turn to arbitration to resolve their disputes, the hidden power of language cannot be overstated. By carefully considering language-related factors throughout the arbitration process - from the drafting of the clause to the final award by leveraging the strategic use of advocacy style and body language, parties can help ensure that their conflicts are resolved fairly, efficiently, and satisfactorily. At Belgravia Law we have a team of multi-lingual lawyers who are well averse to the intricacies of putting our clients’ arguments forward in the best possible light, to great effect.
Case Law Digest Series
According to sections 69(6) and 105(1) of Part I of the Arbitration Act 1996, permission from the High Court or a county court was necessary to appeal a decision granting or denying leave to appeal. Therefore, if leave to appeal was required under section 69(6), it had to be granted by the lower court and not by the Court of Appeal. In this case, section 69(6) was applicable, and the Court of Appeal lacked the jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Osler v Osler

Case Law Digest Series
FAQs Series

Key Questions and Answers on the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre

As a leading hub for international arbitration, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) has earned a reputation for providing efficient, impartial, and innovative dispute resolution services. In this post, we will address some of the most commonly asked questions about the HKIAC to help you better understand its role and benefits.
Beyond Law Series

Exploring Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Your Legal Skills Beyond Traditional Practice

As legal professionals, we are often trained to think and operate within the confines of a traditional law firm structure. However, the growing demand for innovation and the evolving nature of the legal industry are presenting new opportunities for lawyers to leverage their unique skills and expertise in entrepreneurial ventures and alternative career paths.

Whether you are looking to launch your own business or explore a career shift, your legal background can be a significant advantage. Analytical thinking, problem-solving abilities and attention to detail are hallmarks of the legal profession which can be invaluable when venturing into the entrepreneurial world.
One of the key steps in transitioning from a traditional legal role to an entrepreneurial pursuit is building a strong personal brand and online presence. In today's digital landscape, your professional reputation and visibility can be critical to attracting clients, investors and collaborators. Utilising platforms such as LinkedIn and your firm's blog can be an excellent way to showcase your expertise, share thought-leadership content and engage with your target audience.
As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, it is also important to consider alternative career paths which align with your passions and goals. The options are vast, whether you are interested in pursuing a niche legal consulting practice, developing legal technology solutions or leveraging your skills in a completely different industry. Approach this process with an open mind and a willingness to explore new avenues where your legal expertise can provide unique value.
Of course, the transition from a stable law firm career to the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship can be daunting. Work-life integration becomes especially crucial, as you will need to find ways to balance the demands of your business with the needs of your personal life. Embrace strategies like setting clear boundaries, outsourcing non-essential tasks, and prioritising self-care to maintain a healthy, sustainable approach to your entrepreneurial endeavours.

The legal profession is no stranger to challenge and change, and the rise of entrepreneurship within the industry is a testament to the versatility and adaptability of lawyers. By leveraging your unique skills and mindset, you can unlock a world of opportunities beyond the traditional practice of law. Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, build your personal brand and explore the vast potential beyond the legal industry's confines.
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Staying in Touch
Going forward, we will use this newsletter to share insight and analysis of the legal landscape across our specialist areas of litigation, international arbitration, sanctions and more, and we look forward to working with you in the future!

For more information or any enquiries, please reach out here: [email protected].