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Further EU restrictions on trading ivory
On 4 October 2019, a small group from the trade consisting of representatives from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, UK, and CINOA attended the European Commission EU stakeholders meeting on the ivory trade. Other stakeholders included NGO's, musical instruments representatives, government, customs and law authorities. Following the meeting, CINOA drafted a comprehensive paper explaining the background, specific issues and challenges which must be considered before developing any further restrictions on the EU antique ivory trade. We clearly put forth our arguments and submitted a possible path forward. The CINOA working group then further revise our proposal and resubmit it in November. Please contact the secretariat if you would like a copy of the report or if you are interested in becoming part of this group.
The Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures Ltd (FACT), who brought a judicial review of the UK Ivory Act 2018 were notified in November of the judgment on the case. Antique lobbyists who want to continue dealing in pre-1947 ivory are challenging the ban in a judicial review in the High Court, arguing it is incompatible with EU law. The FACT argues the ban takes away the level playing field as the rest of the EU still permits an ivory trade, although the European Commission is considering further restrictions, as stated above. The group also states that the ban amounts to “severe interference with fundamental rights and freedom” to enjoy their personal property.
Although the judgement handed down was not in favour of the claimants’ claim it was clear from the judge’s comments that he believed there was room for appeal on ground 2 of the claim – whether the UK government had acted in a proportionate way when drawing up the Act.
You can find the judgement document here: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2019/2951.pdf
Following a meeting with the claimants’ legal team, FACT Ltd, the group of dealers and collectors who brought the claim funded by donations from the public, have been seeking permission to take the proportionality claim to the Court of Appeal and this has been granted.
They are commencing a new round of fundraising (December 2020) and will need an additional £50,000 to see this through, to cover the increased security cost from government and the lawyers’ fees. The government has requested an expedited hearing which has been agreed to, otherwise it could take years.
It is important that CINOA members understand that if the claimants win their appeal it could reduce the likelihood of governments in other countries trying to bring in their own disproportionate restrictions on the sale of ivory antiques.
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