Legal acquisition findings

In accordance with Articles III, IV and V of the Convention, an export permit shall only be granted when a Management Authority of the State of export is satisfied that the specimen was not obtained in contravention of the laws of that State for the protection of fauna and flora. The finding that a Management Authority shall make is referred to as a legal acquisition finding (LAF).  

This requirement applies to the export of any specimen of a species included in Appendix I, II or III of the Convention. With regard to Appendix III, the obligation to make a legal acquisition finding applies only to the Party which included the species in that Appendix. 

CITES LAF 2022

Provisions of the Convention

Resolutions and Decisions

See other Resolutions and Decisions referring to or providing guidelines on legal acquisition findings: 

Meeting documents

Meeting documents  

  • CoP19 Doc. 40 Guidance for making legal acquisition findings  
  • CoP18 Doc. 39 Guidance for making legal acquisition findings  
  • SC74 Doc. 40 Guidance for making legal acquisition findings: report of the Secretariat  
  • SC74 Doc. 67.1 Legal acquisition findings and control and monitoring of stockpiles of shark parts and derivatives: Report of the working group  
  • SC70 Doc. 27.1 Guidance for verifying the legal acquisition of CITES specimens to be exported  

Workshops and capacity building

Please see below information on workshops concerning the implementation of Resolution Conf. 18.7: 

  • CITES - FAO workshop on legal acquisition findings for timber and other products in the lower Mekong Region – May 2021 (online)
  • CITES - U.S. DOI workshop to strengthen the application of the Convention in Central America – October 2021 (online)
  • CITES - FAO training workshop supporting national authorities of selected Pacific Island countries – November 2021 (online)
  • International workshop on CITES legal acquisition findings – June 2018 (Brussels, Belgium)
  • International workshop on legal acquisition findings – August/September 2022 (Oxford, United Kingdom)

Specimens of Appendix I or II species taken in the marine environment not under the jurisdiction of any state

The Convention regulates trade in specimens from areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).   

When a specimen is taken from ABNJ by a vessel flagged in one state, and landed in a different state, the flag State of the vessel is the exporting State and the State where the specimen is landed is the importing State, and the provisions of Articles III, IV and V concerning legal acquisition findings apply as described. 

When a specimen is taken from ABNJ by a vessel flagged in one state, and landed in the same state, this is known as introduction from the sea. To note, Resolution. Conf. 14.6 (Rev. CoP16) states that Parties involved in such a transaction should satisfy themselves that the specimen was acquired and landed with applicable measures under international law for the conservation and management of living marine resources. For further details, see Resolution Conf. 14.6 (Rev. CoP16).

Sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii spp.)

Pursuant to Decision 18.224 of the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18, Geneva, 2019), the Standing Committee established in Notification 2020/081 an intersessional working group on sharks and rays ( Elasmobranchii spp.). The group was mandated to inter alia develop guidance on the making of legal acquisition findings, and related assessments for introduction from the sea of CITES-listed shark species in the context of the implementation of Resolution Conf. 18.7 on Legal acquisition findings

Links to related documents: 

  • Decision 18.224 on Sharks and rays (Elasmobranchii spp.)  
  • SC74 Doc. 67.1 Legal acquisition findings and control and monitoring of stockpiles of shark parts and derivatives: Report of the working group  
  • SC74 Sum 08 (Rev. 1) on the recommendations of the Standing Committee to CoP19 to adopt decisions mandating further work in this area. 

Timber

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the CITES Secretariat are collaborating on a programme of activities aimed at ensuring that international trade in CITES-listed timber species is consistent with their sustainable management and conservation. Further details are available here .