The third Commons debate on the ivory bill is scheduled for July 4.

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The aim had previously been to challenge the bill before it became law.

Dealer organisations BADA and LAPADA, together with auctioneer body SOFAA, received counsel from a QC after raising funds for legal advice among members and collectors (ATG No 2341).

The consortium of trade bodies received the advice ahead of the third reading of the bill in the House of Commons, on Wednesday, July 4, after which it passes to the House of Lords for debate.

A statement from the consortium said it is still hopeful for amendments during the parliamentary process as “we have concerns that the government has signi f icantly underestimated the impact of the bill”.

It added: “We are hopeful that amendments will be tabled and debated with the aim of focusing the legislation on tackling the illegal international trade in modern poached ivory whilst protecting antique cultural, religious and devotional objects which are part of the social history of Africa, Asia and Europe.”

Two potential challenges

Legal advice the trade bodies received outlined two potential areas of challenge to the act once it receives Royal Assent (before it enters the statute book). These are property rights under the Human Rights Act (1998) and free movement of goods under EU law.