On Jan. 11, UK GVT issued new general licences and legal aid rules.
UK GVT provided amendments to the counter-terrorism licensing policy following the UK's exit from the EU, including amendments made by the Treasury to legal aid rules.
Licences authorize activities or transactions otherwise prohibited by sanctions law.
In addition to issuing licences relating to a specific person, the Treasury may also issue general licences, authorizing otherwise prohibited activity by a category of persons.
The objective of the licensing system for terrorism designations is to strike a balance between limiting risk of diversion of funds to terrorism and respecting human rights.
The Treasury only grants licences where there is a legitimate need for such activities or transactions to proceed and can do so without giving rise to a risk of terrorist finance.
This helps to ensure the sanctions regime remains effective, fair and proportionate.
General Licences And Legal Aid
General licences can be used without making an application to UK OFSI, although they do still carry a mandatory reporting requirement to UK OFSI if they are actually used.
This licence permits the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) to make payments to solicitors representing a designated person where the LAA has assessed that the individual is eligible for legal aid, and for those funds to be applied by solicitors to meet legal costs.
This only applies for costs incurred in the course of advising and representing the designated person and no monies may be made available to any designated person.
Applicants should note that Treasury licences do not determine entitlement to receive specific benefits and the general licence for legal aid does not determine entitlement.
Entitlement to legal aid remains a matter for LAA, and authorities in devolved nations.
The licence simply means that where a designated person is entitled to legal aid, the provision of those funds to pay legal costs will not be a breach of sanctions legislation.
Existing licences issued by UK OFSI for counter-terrorism designations will generally continue to remain valid until they expire or are revoked.
However, on Jan. 11, 2021, UK Treasury revoked 3 general licences which all related to the provision of insurance and in respect of the payment of legal fees by third parties.
These may no longer be used, and future applications relating to insurance policies and payment of legal fees by third parties, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Where a payment is no longer covered by a general licence, as a result of these changes, those affected should contact the Treasury to apply for an individual licence.
The Treasury also revoked and replaced the general licence that related to legal aid.