Worked Ivory Update 2019

Worked Ivory Update 2019

A Judicial Review

A judicial review challenging provisions of the Ivory Act 2018 dealing with trade in pre-1947 worked ivory is to be heard in London in the Queen’s Bench Administrative Court in October.

The application by a new company formed by dealers and collectors called the Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures Ltd (FACT) will challenge the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on aspects of the 2018 Ivory Act.

Granting permission, for judicial review of the act, the High Court Judge, Sir Wyn Williams stated that the application raises a point of some considerable difficulty and importance in European law. He noted the applicants’ argument that trade in pre-1947 worked ivory is already covered in EU law.

BADA has stated that a successful challenge, “could result in the court declaring the relevant provisions of the Ivory Act incompatible with EU law; this would effectively render them invalid. It would mean that the law could have no effect unless and until the government passed new legislation."

The Act has been introduced chiefly as a response to the rise in elephant ivory poaching. Perceived by many as an overreaction, opponents to the act have, and continue, to argue that a ban on pre-1947 worked ivory will do nothing to achieve this otherwise laudable aim. FACT is claiming that provisions of the Act dealing with trade in pre-1947 worked ivory is in direct and irreconcilable conflict with the EU’s exercise of competence in this field and cannot stand.

FACT will argue that the Act is contrary to the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, which permit trade in worked antique ivory and which do not consider such trade to be a threat to elephant conservation. In addition, FACT argues that any legislation that seeks to regulate the ivory trade should focus on ensuring ivory objects are in fact antique and not modern fakes, rather than imposing an outright ban. As quoted in The Telegraph (16 July, 2019) FACT will ask the Court to accept that the Act amounts to a severe interference with fundamental rights and freedom.


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