US Lawyers discuss tackling US sanctions against Cuba and anti-European legislation

US lawyers are to meet next week to discuss ways of tackling proposed new US laws restricting companies from establishing offices in Cuba and to counter legislation emerging from Europe.

Joseph Griffin, a Washington-based partner with US firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius, will chair a conference of senior lawyers and US and UK government officials in London.

They will discuss the impact of the sanctions imposed by the US government under the Helms Burton Libertad Act, which applies to companies operating outside the US.

The proposed extra-territorial measures are opposed by numerous national governments, as well as by the European Commission.

European Union foreign ministers agreed to a law to counter US anti-Cuba legislation last week. Ministers were unanimous in their decision that the Helms Burton laws were contrary to international law and harmed European business.

Griffin said: “On a cynical level, the US laws and counter-EC laws are good news for lawyers because they will result in some very complex litigation cases. But what's good news for lawyers is bad news for everyone else.

“On another level, lawyers must advise their clients how not to get caught out by the new legislation.”

The conference will take place on 12 November, immediately after the US elections, because the incoming president has discretion to waive some of the sanctions.

Delegates will also discuss recent sanctions imposed by the US government on Cuba, Iran and Libya.