The world of art and antiquities continues to give rise to seminal legal decisions based on the private law of title. Despite the entry by many countries into international instruments governing claims for the return of cultural objects, claims continue to be brought and determined according to normal principles of private law applicable to commercial and cultural commodities alike. Such claims conform to a long tradition running in recent years from the Winkworth case in 1980 to two decisions involving the Islamic Republic of Iran earlier this year.
The aim of this conference were to examine the workings of the ordinary law of title in a cross-border setting and to ask whether private title claims are more effective than claims based on international treaties or other legal devices. Among the questions considered were the scope of the lex situs rule, its operation in twoparty and three-party cases, its relation to national ownership and confiscatory laws, the justiciability of such laws in common law courts, and the case for distinct common law rules governing cultural property independently from ordinary articles of commerce. The lex situs rule was examined in detail, both as it applies in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions. The interrelation between the lex situs rule and international conventions (UNESCO 1970, Unidroit and the European Directive and Regulation) was also explored. The recurrent focus was on tangible cultural objects and the special nature of such material in modern law and policy. The conference ended with an instructive case study based on modern authority and practice.
Speakers at this seminar included:
Professor Norman Palmer, (Barrister), Jeremy Scott (Withers), Dr Janeen Carruthers (University of Glasgow), Professor Johan A. Erauw (University of Ghent), Judge Shoshana Berman (Israel), Derek Fincham (University of Aberdeen), Marc-André Renold (Art Law Centre, Geneva), Kevin Chamberlain (Barrister).
A copy of the IAL conference flyer can be found here.
IAL contact details:
Institute of Art and Law
Nr Builth Wells
Powys LD2 3BX
Tel +44 (0)1982 560 666
Fax +44 (0)1982 560 604