Essex Court Chambers statement on sanctions imposed by Chinese Government

26 March, 2021

The members of Essex Court Chambers were made aware earlier today that the Government of the People’s Republic of China has placed “Essex Court Chambers” on a list of persons or entities subject to international sanctions.  This decision is understood to be related to the fact that four members of chambers wrote a legal opinion dated 26 January 2021 concerning the treatment of the Uyghur population in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Legal Opinion”).

The Legal Opinion was written by the four members of chambers concerned pursuant to instructions received from Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) in association with the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP).  In writing that opinion, each of these four individuals was providing independent legal advice in accordance with their professional obligations and qualifications as members of the Bar of England and Wales subject to regulatory supervision by the Bar Standards Board. The Legal Opinion received significant publicity in international media following its publication last month. None of the four relevant members of chambers published the Legal Opinion.

Essex Court Chambers is not a law firm and has no collective or distinct legal identity of any kind. Members of chambers are self-employed sole practitioners each regulated in their own capacity as separate individuals by the Bar Standards Board. Members of Chambers are commonly retained by opposing sides in the same dispute, both in litigation and arbitration, with protocols in place to safeguard confidentiality. No other member of Essex Court Chambers was involved in or responsible for the advice and analysis contained in the Legal Opinion or its publication.

Any inquiries should be directed to Senior Clerk, Joe Ferrigno at