Law 119 – Legal Skills for Criminology
Lecturer: Ivan Topping
The Treasure Act of 1996 is an Act of Parliament that is designed in a way to deal with treasure that is found in Northern Ireland, England and Wales. The Treasure Act was brought into place on the 27th September, 1997 after many years of uncertainty. The Act obliges treasure finders to report to the local corner within fourteen days. This is to determine whether the “treasure” is actual treasure. If the corner has declared the piece to be treasure then the owner is obliged to offer the treasure for sale to a museum. A board of antiquities experts need to set a price for the treasure before selling it the museum. The owner can keep the piece of treasure if the museum does not express interest of the particular item being sold to them, or is unable to purchase the item of treasure.
The Treasure Act came about to update an original law that contemplate treasure trove and as Professor Roger J Smith proclaimed was “governed by ancient common laws” until the dissemination to the Treasure Act. The law had stretched to circumstances in which it was drawn out by modern times and with the enactment of time had facilitated the unpragmatic detection of treasure trove laws and the lack of performance. Until 1996, treasure was strenuous in a way to declare due to strict rules that declared of what was or not a treasure trove. Professor Michael Bridge declared that “at common law treasure trove is any money or coin, gold, silver, plate or bullion that has been hidden’.
This criminal charge has been criticised as being too lenient and possibly giving a false impression to those who deliberately seek to mistle authority and profit the nation's loss and their own wrongdoing. The Treasure Act did not, however, come without its shortcomings. MacMillan opines that the Act "is unlikely to provide sufficient protection for portable antiquities".45...