Policies and Legislation

Natural Science Collections and the Law

The document below is intended to give keepers of natural science collections guidance on the legalities of holding specimens. It is not intended to be definitive: for further information/clarification please contact DEFRA (Animal Health) or Natural England.

Whilst the CITES material in this document is relevant to the whole country, the last three sections only consider English law. We will try and update the document to cover the rest of the UK as soon as possible.

If anyone has anything they would like to add/amend to this document, experiences any problems operating under this guidance or would like some help or advice, please contact us by email to web@natsca.org.

We have also also made selected presentations available from our 2016 Natural Science Collections and the Law Seminar available freely online. Note that the CITES presentation by Nichola Burnett contains very easy tables to check when museums would need a licence to charge for activities that may include CITES specimens. You can find the presenations here on our publications page.

Substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001

As you may know, NatSCA has been working on resolving the problem of museum drugs licensing with the Home Office. Museums are required to have a licence to hold drugs in their collections and it is illegal to transport or supply drugs without a licence.

We hope to be able to update this information soon.

For further information please consult the Home Office website.

Human Tissue Act 2004

Rhino Horn

Human Remains

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)