UCL Faculty of Laws


Third-party Economic Sanctions

25 February 2016, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

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Current Legal Problems 2016-17


UCL Pavilion (Main Quad), Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Professor Cecile Fabre (University of Oxford)
Chair: Professor Leif Wenar (Kings College London)
Admission: Free
Accreditation: This event is accredited with 1 CPD hour with the SRA and BSB
Series: Current Legal Problems 2015-16

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About the lecture

Economic sanctions have become a staple of foreign policy. The relatively scant philosophical literature on the topic tends to focus on three questions, and tackles one kind of cases.

It focuses on the question of whether just war theory provides a useful normative framework for assessing the morality of sanctions; whether sanctions are effective; and whether the harms which they occasion to innocent civilians in Target are such as to render them impermissible.

It tackles what Cecile Fabre shall call standard sanctions – where Sender restricts economic relationships between, on the one hand, Target’s agents and, on the other hand, agents located on its own territory or its own nationals wherever they are located – in other words, agents who are subject to Sender’s territorial or political jurisdiction.

In this paper however Cecile focuses on so-unilateral third party sanctions, such as have been imposed by the United States vis-à-vis Iran and Cuba. In such cases, a sovereign state, Sender, seeks to restrict economic relationships between, on the one hand, Target’s agents and, on the other hand, agents who are not subject to its Sender’s jurisdiction.

Her aim is to provide a cosmopolitan defence of unilateral third-party sanctions as a means to stop ongoing human rights violations. Cecile will proceed as follows.

In section 2, Cecile outlines the central tenets of cosmopolitan morality which she takes for granted throughout this paper, and in so doing further delineate the contours of her justificatory task.

In section 3, she will briefly outline and reject the view that the jurisdictional problems raised by third party sanctions are best solved by multilateralism.

In section 4, Cecile show that the cosmopolitan considerations which support standard sanctions also support third-party sanctions.

About the speaker

Cecile Fabre is Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.

She has written extensively on democracy, justice, and rights.

In the last 8 years, she has been working on the ethics of war and peace.

Her book Cosmopolitan War came out in 2012; its sequel, Cosmopolitan Peace, is forthcoming.

About Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems annual lecture series was established over sixty years ago. The lectures are public, delivered on a weekly basis and chaired by members of the judiciary.

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) annual volume is published on behalf of UCL Laws by Oxford University Press, and features scholarly articles that offer a critical analysis of important current legal issues.

It covers all areas of legal scholarship and features a wide range of methodological approaches to law. With its emphasis on contemporary developments, CLP is a major point of reference for legal scholarship.

Find out more about CLP on the Oxford University Press website