OFAC's Strict Liability: Blackstone and Holmes Were Right

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) is a strict liability regime. US sanctions violators are subject to penalty without regard to whether they acted with negligence or without fault. Failure to comply with US sanctions regulations can result in serious penalties, both civil and criminal. In determining a penalty assessment or settlement amount, OFAC generally weighs various mitigating and aggravating factors present in the administrative record. OFAC retains discretion concerning the importance it places on various factors, and it may also depart from historical practices in weighing these factors. This chapter suggests that the OFAC strict liability regime has the negative effect of criminalising non-blameworthy conduct for regulatory purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Challenges to Criminal Justice: Liber Amicorum for Ralph Henham
EditorsPaul Behrens
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781509948642, 9781509948635
ISBN (Print)9781509948628
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameStudies in International and Comparative Criminal Law
PublisherHart (Bloomsbury)


  • OFAC
  • stirct liability
  • sanctions
  • US Department of Justice


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