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Ivory Act 2018: challenge to last year’s High Court ruling that it was proportionate was dismissed

Posted on 20 May 2020

By way of follow up to our Ivory Act seminar held on 6 March, we can confirm that on 18 May 2020 the Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge to last year’s High Court ruling (see here) that the Ivory Act 2018, which introduces wide ranging prohibitions on the trade in ivory, was proportionate.

The Ivory Act 2018 should now come into force 18 months after the Act received Royal Assent. This will effectively ban the UK’s trade in ivory, subject to certain important and clearly defined exemptions, such as for pre-1918 items of outstanding artistic, cultural or historical value, pre-1918 portrait miniatures, pre-1947 items containing small amounts of ivory, and certain pre-1975 musical instruments.
 
The legal challenge had been brought by Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures (FACT) Limited, a company set up by a group of antiques dealers to bring the claim.
 
The Judgment was widely anticipated and was welcomed by DEFRA, which remains focussed on ensuring UK ivory markets do not contribute to the exploitative illegal ivory trade. A spokesperson said: “We are committed to bringing the ivory ban into force as soon as practicable to help protect the world’s endangered species and halt biodiversity loss.”
 
FACT has seven days in which to appeal. Subject to any such further challenge, we anticipate a consultation on implementation of the Act, including on how the proposed ivory register will work.

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