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The elephant in the courtroom: an analysis of the Ivory Act 2018, its path to enactment and potential impact on the illegal trade in ivory

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On the 20th December 2019, Royal Assent was granted to the Ivory Act 2018. The legislation, introduced by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove on the 23 May 2018 was welcomed by politicians and conservation groups as “an extraordinary achievement” and “a landmark in our fight to protect wildlife and the environment”. In passing through the Parliamentary process in only seven months, the Ivory Act was testament to the cross party commitment to tackling the illegal ivory trade, however, its path to enactment has not been plain sailing. Following Royal Assent, the Ivory Act was the subject of a judicial review, brought by a company set up for the purpose by a group of antiques dealers, The Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures Limited. While the Ivory Act is now considered amongst the strictest ivory trade legislation in the world, this paper considers its path to enactment, its likely impact on the trade in ivory artefacts in the U.K. and whether the Act can fulfil the British Government’s aim to make it “one of the toughest bans on the planet”.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Wildlife Law and Policy
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 14 Oct 2020


  • The Ivory Act article

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    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 530 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 1/01/50

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