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Ivory Ban Comes Into Force

The UK Ivory Act enforces a near total ban on elephant ivory sales from 6 June 2022.

Published: 08 June 2022 | 11:55 AM

On 6 June the ivory ban came into force. The Ivory Act 2018 prohibits dealing in ivory items unless they meet one of five narrow and carefully defined exemptions and are either registered or have an exemption certificate.

The MU previously reported this latest update in March, and provided information on registration and guidance for those trading instruments containing ivory.

Registering items

The Government launched the ivory digital service on 24 February 2022. This service allows people to register or apply for an exemption certificate for ivory items they would like to deal in.

Read our MU members only advice page on re registering multiple items.

From 6 June 2022, you cannot deal in items containing or made of elephant ivory under the Ivory Act 2018 unless they are registered as exempt or certified as exempt.

Transactions started before the ban

If you started a transaction before 6 June, you have until 3 July to complete it without registering or applying for an exemption certificate. If you do not complete your transaction by 3 July, you’ll need to either:

  • register or apply for an exemption certificate before you complete the transaction
  • cancel the transaction

You should allow enough time to register or apply for an exemption certificate before 3 July.

Both buyer and seller are responsible

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) confirm that it’s the responsibility of anyone intending to be involved in a sale or purchase of an ivory item to find out if the item contains or is made of elephant ivory. If the item does contain or is made of ivory, it will be assumed to be elephant ivory unless you can prove otherwise.

If you buy an ivory item, you, as well as the seller, are responsible for checking that it can be lawfully sold or hired out. If you break the law, you could be fined up to £250,000 or risk up to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Detailed guidance on dealing in items made of ivory or containing ivory can be found on GOV.UK.

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