Hallmarking Act 1973

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1973 c. 43


Hallmarking Act 1973

1973 CHAPTER 43

An Act to make fresh provision for the composition, assaying, marking and description of articles of, or containing, precious metals, and as to agencies for the implementation and enforcement thereof; and for purposes connected with those matters.

[25th July 1973]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Prohibited descriptions of unhallmarked articles.

1 Prohibited descriptions of unhallmarked articles.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, any person who, in the course of a trade or business—

(a ) applies to an unhallmarked article a description indicating that it is wholly or partly made of gold, silver or platinum, or

(b ) supplies, or offers to supply, an unhallmarked article to which such a description is applied,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Subsection (1) above shall not apply to a description which is permitted by Part I of Schedule 1 to this Act.

(3) Subsection (1) above shall not apply to an article within Part II of the said Schedule.

(4) Notwithstanding section 3(1) of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (definition of ‘false trade description’ as one which is false to a material degree) a trade description which indicates the fineness (whether in parts per thousand or otherwise) of any precious metal shall be a false trade description if that indication is false to any extent or degree (except by understating the fineness).

The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 is in this Act referred to as ‘the Act of 1968’.

(5) Part III of the said Schedule shall apply for construing descriptions relating to the fineness of precious metals.

(6) The provisions of this section have effect subject to Part IV of the said Schedule.

(7) For the purposes of this section—

(a ) ‘advertisement’ includes a catalogue, a circular and a price list,

(b ) section 4 of the Act of 1968 (which defines ‘applies a trade description’) shall apply to paragraphs (a ) and (b ) of subsection (1), for the interpretation of references to a description being applied to any article, as it applies for the interpretation of references in that Act to applying a trade description,

(c ) a person exposing articles for supply, or having articles in his possession for supply, ‘offers to supply’ them.

(8) Where in an advertisement a description is used in relation to any class of articles, the description shall be taken as referring to all articles of the class, whether or not in existence at the time the advertisement is published—

(a ) for the purpose of determining whether an offence has been committed under subsection (1)(a ) above, and

(b ) where articles of the class are supplied or offered to be supplied by a person publishing or displaying the advertisement, also for the purpose of determining whether an offence has been committed under subsection (1)(b ) above;

and section 5(3) of the Act of 1968 (defining goods of the class in question) shall apply for determining whether any articles are of a class to which a description used in an advertisement relates.

(9) Section 39(2) of the Act of 1968 (descriptions in publications or broadcasts) shall apply for the purposes of this section.

S-2 Meaning of approved hallmarks, etc.

2 Meaning of approved hallmarks, etc.

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, ‘approved hallmarks’ means—

(a ) marks struck by an assay office in the United Kingdom, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, under the law for the time being in force, or

(b ) marks struck by the Wardens and Commonalty of Goldsmiths of the City of Dublin before 1st April 1923, or

(c ) marks struck by an assay office under the law of a country outside the United Kingdom, being marks designated for the purposes of this section by order of the Secretary of State as marks recognised pursuant to any international convention or treaty to which Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom is a party.

(2) Marks within subsection (1)(c ) above are in this Act called ‘convention hallmarks’.

(3) The Secretary of State may by order make such provision as appears to him appropriate for enabling articles submitted to an assay office in the United Kingdom to be struck with marks which, pursuant to any such convention or treaty, will, or will with other marks, be accorded recognition under the law of any other country, and for making consequential or incidental provisions, including provision for excluding or modifying any of the provisions of this Act.

(4) For the purposes of this Act an article is unhallmarked—

(a ) if it does not bear the approved hallmarks and the sponsor's mark, or

(b ) if the article has been the subject of any improper alteration.

(5) In this Act ‘improper alteration’ means an addition, alteration or repair which has been made to an article bearing approved hallmarks and—

(a ) which contravened section 5 of this Act, or

(b ) which was made before the coming into force of that section, and would have required the consent of an assay office if that section had been in force, or

(c ) in the case of an article which bears a convention hallmark, would have required that consent if the addition, alteration or repair had been made in the United Kingdom:

Provided that paragraphs (b ) and (c ) of this subsection shall not apply if, after the making of the addition, alteration or repair, the article has been re-assayed and struck with any further approved hallmark.

S-3 Sponsor' marks.

3 Sponsor' marks.

(1) Before an article is submitted to an assay office to be struck with the approved hallmarks there shall be struck on the article a mark indicative of the manufacturer or sponsor and known as the sponsor's mark:

Provided that the assay office and the manufacturer or sponsor of an article may make arrangements for the sponsor's mark to be struck by that assay office upon submission of the article to be struck with the approved hallmarks.

(2) After 31st December 1975 all sponsors' marks for the time being in use shall cease to be authorised for striking on any article intended to be struck with the approved hallmarks and thenceforth a sponsor's mark shall be authorised (whether or not of the same design as any sponsor's mark which was authorised before 1st January 1976) only if it is for the time being registered under the following provisions of this section with an assay office by which the article is intended to be so struck.

(3) (a ) Any sponsor's mark which is registered under this section shall include the initial letters of the name or names of the manufacturer or sponsor and shall be of such design as may be approved by an assay office:

Provided that nothing in this paragraph shall apply to the registration on or before 31st December 1975 by a manufacturer or sponsor (or to the renewal from time to time thereafter of that registration) of the same mark as until that date has been authorised for use by him in terms of subsection (2) of this section.

(b ) An assay office shall maintain a register of sponsors' marks for the time being registered and approved by that assay office under this section.

(4) Upon application for registration or renewal of the registration of any sponsor's mark under this section with an assay office, there shall be payable by the applicant such reasonable fee as for the time being is specified in regulations made by the Council and any application shall be made in such form accompanied by such particulars and exhibits as may be so specified.

(5) Registration or renewal of the registration of any sponsor's mark under this section shall be subject to the approval, provision and recording from time to time (in accordance with regulations made by the Council) of such punches or other equipment as may be specified in such regulations.

(6) Any assay office may register under this section their own sponsor's mark, being of such design as may be approved by resolution of the Council; and in any case where a person submits an article to an assay office for striking with the approved hallmarks and that assay office are of opinion that they would not be justified in requiring that person to register and strike a sponsor's mark in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section, the sponsor's mark of that assay office may be struck on the article.

(7) The registration of a sponsor's mark under this section shall cease to have effect after the expiration of the period of ten years following registration but without prejudice to the making of any application for renewal of such registration.

(8) Any person who without authority strikes an article with a mark purporting to be a sponsor's mark authorised under this section shall be guilty of an offence.

S-4 Approved hallmarks.

4 Approved hallmarks.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and of Schedule 2 to this Act, any article of precious metal, which is submitted to an assay office for hallmarking and which upon assay is found...

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