The British Hallmarking Council rules on offshore hallmarks

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The British Hallmarking Council (BHC) has concluded that UK hallmarks applied overseas by a UK Assay Office (offshore Hallmarks) must be distinguishable from those applied by Assay Offices, here in the UK.

In a recent statement to the press the BHC Chairman, Noel Hinter OBE, said “There has been extensive discussion within the BHC at a special meeting in January and the regular meeting in March in order to determine the way forward on this matter.
The BHC Policy on the use of existing office marks with no differentiation was established in 2014, following the publication of the Legislative Reform (Hallmarking) Order in 2013. This policy has been enforced consistently since that time and all UK Assay Offices have been fully compliant with the requirements of standing legislation and BHC policy.

Following the decision of Case C-525/14 in the European Court of Justice handed down in 2016, this policy came under review. The consultation on overseas hallmarking formed part of this review process. Taking account of all views, the BHC collectively determined to change the policy established in 2014. Consequently, it has been decided that hallmarks struck overseas by UK Assay Offices should be distinguishable from those struck in the UK. However, the offshore mark design must comply with standing legislation. A decision on the form of the offshore mark is to be taken shortly by BHC and will be implemented over a 12 month transition period.

BHC are now focusing on how the changes may best be implemented to ensure minimum cost and disruption to the trade whilst ensuring clarity for consumers. A new Dealers’ Notice will be prepared to coincide with the introduction of the new mark. A communication plan will be agreed by the Council and a further announcement will be made later in the year.”