Yip v Director of Border Revenue

Type of court
Court jurisdiction
Date of opinion

On 27 July 2010, at the outbound controls at Heathrow Airport, the appellant presented the UK Border Agency (UKBA) with three CITES re-export permits which had been issued for five rhino horns which he was taking with him in his luggage to Australia. The respondents of the current appeal case, officers of the UK Border Agency, examined the rhino horns against a description on the re-export permits, and concluded that the goods did not match the descriptions. The problem was that they were not mounted on wooden plaques as required under the terms of those permits. The rhino horns were therefore detained. For the appellant to be able to re-attain the horns, and re-export them, he will need to present valid CITES permits, as the said permits are considered to be invalid.
The goods were seized under section 139(1) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA) as liable to forfeiture under section 68(1)(b) of CEMA in that the goods were presented for export contrary to the prohibition or restriction contained in Article 5 of the Council Regulation (EC) 338/97. The appellant was issued with a "Notice of Seizure" and a Customs Notice 12A. The Notice explained that the appellant could challenge the legality of the seizure by sending a notice of claim within one month of the date of seizure.
The Appellant finds himself in a difficult situation. In the period between when the goods were confiscated and the appeal, the law, or at least interpretation of the law by Animal Health, has changed which has made it very difficult to re-export licence. The decision of Mr Harris was reasonable in all the circumstances and the Tribunal can find nothing wrong with that decision. In fact, Mr Harris felt that restoration should be the remedy provided that the appropriate documentation can be obtained. It will prove difficult to obtain that documentation now given the new approach taken by AnimalHealth. For this reason, Mr Yip can feel suitably aggrieved.
There is nothing in the decision of the officer which is unreasonable and the Tribunal's function is to look at the review officer's decision only. There was nothing considered in making that decision it should not have been considered and in the circumstances therefore the Tribunal believes that the appeal should be dismissed. (Provided by: UNODC SHERLOC)

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