April 30, 2024

OFSI issues new legal services general license for persons designated under Russia and Belarus sanctions regimes

On April 26, 2024, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation issued a new Legal Services general license under Regulation 64 of the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and Regulation 32 of the Republic of Belarus (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.  General License INT/2024/4671884 enables UK law firms or UK Counsels who provide legal services to persons designated under Russia or Belarus sanctions regimes to receive payments from these Designated Persons (“DPs”) without an OFSI specific license, provided that the terms in this license are met.

The new Legal Services general license resets the caps on professional legal fees and expenses.  While the caps under Parts A and B of general license are set at “£500,000 inc. VAT” for legal fees and “10 percent of the legal fees up to £50,000 inc. VAT” for expenses, the caps now apply to each law firm that advises a DP rather than the DP individually, which was previously the case.  Part B of the general license also allows for brief and refresher fees that are charged as fixed fees to be treated as professional legal services subject to the £500,000 cap, including Counsel fees.  However, Counsel fees are no longer subject to a maximum hourly rate of £1,500 under the new license.  The new license also expands the definition of Counsel to include barristers regulated by the bars in Ireland and Scotland.

General License INT/2024/4671884 is in effect from April 29, 2024 until October 28, 2024.  It requires that any payment received under the license must be reported to HM Treasury within 14 days, along with details and evidence requested in Part A or Part B.  In addition, DPs or Persons that utilize this license are required to keep accurate, complete, and readable records for a minimum of 6 years.

General License INT/2024/4671884 | Publication Notice – General License INT/2024/4671884