Timber imports and illegal trade

The Court of Appeal has given its first judgment interpreting provisions of the EU Regulation which implemented the 1975 international Convention on trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna (CITES). The dispute essentially concerned the extent to which the government of an importing country was obliged to look behind official assurances contained in permits from the country of export that the products in questions were not endangered. By two to one, the Court of Appeal held that in the absence of evidence of fraud there was no such obligation, but in a powerful minority judgment Lord Justice Laws argued that ecological demands required a bolder approach.

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