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About international sanctions

Sanctions are used as an enforcement tool to maintain and restore international peace and security: these sanctions are made by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and must be implemented by all UN members.

Sanctions are also used as a foreign policy tool by individual states, or groups of countries working together, when all other diplomatic methods have failed. These sanctions are sometimes referred to as autonomous sanctions and are made outside the UNSC framework.

The UK, EU and US all implement their own autonomous sanctions. These sanctions are being used to pursue the foreign policy objectives of the UK, EU and US, respectively.

Sanctions are used:

  • to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist acts: for example, terrorist asset-freeze designations in place against certain individuals, groups or organisations engaged in, or supporting, terrorism

  • to encourage a change in the behaviour of a target country or regime: for example, the sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine

  • to apply pressure on a target country or regime to comply with set objectives: for example, the sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were put in place to encourage the regime to give up its nuclear weapons programme and to increase the cost on the regime of pursuing this policy.

Sanctions are only used in the most serious of circumstances: in international relation terms the only action considered more serious than sanctions is military action. Countries usually try to achieve their aims diplomatically, but if that is not possible, and the issue is important enough, they may introduce sanctions.

A wide range of measures can be enforced under sanctions regimes, from asset-freeze designations (see below for more information on asset-freezes) to restrictions on the import or export of specified goods, and prohibitions on the provision of financial and other services.

How sanctions are implemented

Though Jersey is not a UN member in its own right, the UK's membership of the UN extends to the island. Therefore, in common with all UN members, Jersey has an obligation to implement UNSC sanctions Resolutions.

Both UNSC sanctions and autonomous UK sanctions are implemented by the UK under the relevant sanctions Regulations made under the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 ("SAMLA").

Jersey implements both UNSC sanctions and autonomous UK sanctions by implementing the relevant SAMLA Regulations through the Sanctions and Asset-Freezing (Jersey) Law 2019 ("SAFL"), and the Sanctions and Asset-Freezing (Implementation of External Sanctions) (Jersey) Order 2021 (the "External Sanctions Order").

Sanctions legislation

Sanctions and Asset-Freezing (Jersey) Law 2019

The Minister of External Relations (the "Minister") introduced SAFL to ensure the island would be able to implement UK sanctions regulations made under SAMLA when the UK left the EU, as part of the Government of Jersey's preparations for Brexit.

SAFL provides for both the implementation of UK and EU sanctions regulations. It ensures that all UNSC, UK, and EU terrorist asset-freeze designations have immediate effect in Jersey, and ensures that non-terrorism related UNSC asset-freeze designations are in force without delay.

More detailed information on the changes introduced by SAFL can be found in the Draft Sanctions and Asset-Freezing (Jersey) Law 201 Report on the Proposition that was lodged au Greffe on 23 October 2018.

Sanctions and Asset-Freezing (Implementation of External Sanctions) (Jersey) 2021

The External Sanctions Order was made under SAFL and gives effect to both UNSC sanctions Resolutions and autonomous UK sanctions regimes, by implementing the relevant SAMLA Regulations.

Asset-Freeze Designations and Financial Sanctions Notices

An asset-freeze designation is a type of targeted financial sanction that requires anyone holding a listed person's (a 'person' can refer to both individuals and legal entities) assets or economic resources to freeze them (i.e. deny the listed person access), and prohibits anyone from dealing with a listed person's assets or economic resources.

New UN, UK, and EU asset-freeze designations are effective immediately in Jersey if the relevant sanctions regime has been implemented.

When there has been a change to the asset-freeze designations in force in Jersey, a Financial Sanctions Notice ("Notice") is issued by External Relations and published on the Jersey Gazette. You can register to receive email alerts when a new Notice is published.

Notices are published when:

  • individuals or entities have been designated for the purpose of an asset-freeze.
  • individuals or entities are no longer subject to an asset-freeze.
  • the details of existing asset-freeze designations (e.g. identifying information) have been changed.
  • there are other significant changes to Jersey's sanctions regime.

The Notice may include identifying information on asset-freeze designations and what you must do, as well as legislative details and other relevant information.

Compliance and reporting obligations

The reporting obligations that apply are set out at Article 32 of SAFL. These obligations include requirements for a relevant financial institution to inform the Minister if:

  • it holds an account of a person, has entered into dealings or an agreement with a person or has been approached by or on behalf of a designated person, and
  • it knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that the person is a designated person or has committed an offence, and
  • the information or other matter on which the knowledge or reasonable cause for suspicion is based came to it in the course of carrying on its business

You should continue to use the suspected breach form available from the JFSC website to report any suspected breach of financial sanctions and return the completed form to

These reporting obligations are in addition to the obligation to report suspicious activities to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Column 5 of Schedule 1 to the External Sanctions Order sets out the regime-specific (e.g. Syria) non asset-freeze prohibitions in the UK regulations to which an offence will apply in Jersey. Other offences are set out in the SAFL and the External Sanctions Order.

The maximum custodial sentence for a breach of financial sanctions is a term of 7 years imprisonment.

Licences and exceptions

  • Asset-freeze prohibitions: you should continue to use the asset-freeze licence form to apply for a licence in respect of an asset-freeze and return the completed form to The provisions on exceptions and licences for asset-freezes are set out in Part 3 of SAFL. A licence may only be granted by the Minister if there is scope in the relevant UK regulations for an equivalent licence to be granted by the UK Treasury. Exceptions to an asset-freeze that are set out in UK sanctions regulations do not apply in Jersey; however, they may be considered as a basis for an asset-freeze licence application. 
  • Non asset-freeze prohibitions: for licence applications that relate to non asset-freeze prohibitions you should apply in writing to the Minister at The provisions on exceptions and licences are set out in Part 3 of the SAFL. A licence may only be granted by the Minister if there is scope in the relevant UK regulations for an equivalent licence to be granted by the UK Treasury. Exceptions to a non asset-freeze prohibition that are set out in UK sanctions regulations apply in Jersey.
  • UK General Licences will not apply to Jersey persons or instituitions operating in Jersey; however, they may be considered as the basis for a licence application.

Responsibility for sanctions in Jersey

Minister for External Relations

The Minister for External Relations is the 'Competent Authority' for sanctions in Jersey and the Ministry of External Relations co-ordinates the introduction of sanctions measures and assists the Minister in carrying out his duties as Competent Authority.

Private Sector

Responsibility for monitoring and ensuring compliance with sanctions rests with individual businesses, for example, banks, through their compliance officers.

Jersey Financial Services Commission

The Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) has an overall regulatory role with regard to the finance industry generally, which includes checking that institutions have effective systems and procedures to implement compliance with sanctions. 

Joint Financial Crimes Unit

The Joint Financial Crimes Unit is responsible for receiving Suspicious Activity Reports, gathering intelligence on financial crime, including sanctions, and investigating possible breaches of sanctions legislation.

Law Officers' Department

The Law Officers' Department consists of both the Civil and Criminal Divisions. The Civil Division provides legal advice to the Government and the Criminal Division is responsible for prosecutions.

Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit

The Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit lead criminal investigations into potential breaches of sanctions legislation.

Customs and Immigration Service

The States of Jersey Customs and Immigration Service is responsible for the enforcement of any sanctions that concern the movement of goods or persons.

Combatting the financing of terrorism

Find out more about the legislative measures Jersey has in place to combat the financing of terrorism.

Additional information about non-financial sanctions

Customs and Immigration: enforcement of travel bans in Jersey

Travel bans imposed on specified individuals or nationals of a particular country are applied locally in accordance with the relevant sanctions in a similar way as they are in the United Kingdom. For further information contact the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. 

Export controls and sanctions

Jersey implements the same trade restrictions as the UK. The UK provides guidance on trade sanctions, arms embargoes and other trade restrictions.

Further guidance on sanctions

Further information is available on the JFSC website:

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