Directors of FACT 1.jpg
FACT directors outside the Royal Courts of Justice after the October hearing: (left to right) Paul Moss, former owner of Sydney L. Moss, Rosemary Bandini and Alastair Gibson, Gibson Antiques.

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FACT (the Friends of Antique and Cultural Treasures Limited) has set up a GoFundMe page to gather donations to help pay for solicitor and barrister fees ahead of the appeal hearing, likely to happen in spring 2020

Permission to appeal was granted after FACT lost a judicial review in October.

The appeal, around the act’s ‘proportionality’ in denying owners of antique ivory their property rights, will be heard in front of three Lord Justices at the Royal Courts of Justice.

If FACT loses that appeal, the group could get permission to take its case to the UK Supreme Court and to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), though legal experts say these scenarios are unlikely.

Digital push

Alastair Gibson, a director of FACT, has urged the trade to spread the request for donations digitally – on social media channels whatspp, Facebook and Instagram, as well as email.

“We are getting big donations but BADA’s ivory committee – of which I am a member – felt we weren’t harnessing digital technology to reach a wider group of potential donors,” Gibson told ATG.

“We want to reach the smaller collector and dealer, and staff at dealerships and auction houses who may want to make a small contribution.”

Fees as 'security'

Ahead of the appeal, FACT is required to put up £25,000 as security for the government’s costs.

Funds are also needed to pay FACT's barristers, Blackstone Chambers. "Our barristers are acting on greatly reduced fees, only initially receiving a third of their standard rates. This is extremely generous of them," said Richard Pike, partner at law firm Constantine Cannon. 

Woolley & Wallis and Canterbury Auction Galleries are among nine auctioneers contributing to the fund so far.

'Why I contributed'

Dealer Michael Baggott told ATG why he had donated to the fund.

"We are tottering on the very brink of the worst act of cultural vandalism the western world has ever witnessed," he said.

"Forget the iconoclasm of the Reformation or the damage to art caused by bombings during the last century's two World Wars. The losses to come from the Ivory Act 2018 will be far greater as they will be enshrined in an ill-thought-out law.

"Any measure which may delay or avert the antique ivory trade ban in this act must be supported by anyone who cares for our history.

"So I would urge every single member of the trade – every auctioneer, dealer, valuer and so on – to give what they can, as quickly as they can to raise the funds needed for this appeal," Baggott said.

Details on how to donate

To donate to funding the FACT appeal: 

Via GoFundMe: click here.

By bank transfer to: British Antique Dealers’ Association, Coutts & Co, Acc No: 00089001, Sort code: 18-00-02.