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'The Restitution of Cultural Assets. Causes of Action – Obstacles to Restitution – Developments'

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The Restitution of Cultural Assets. Causes of Action – Obstacles to Restitution – Developments


Beat Schönenberger


September 2009


Disputes over the return of artworks or cultural objects have a long history. Since the mid-1990s debates on the subject have intensified, particularly with regard to the restitution of Nazi Looted Art. This post-doctoral thesis specifically addresses the dilemma of restitution, and yet in contrast to the current trend it is not limited to cases of looted art. These are placed in the wider context of other types of demands for the return of cultural assets.

The central focus of this portrayal of comparative law lies in examining the potential grounds for claiming the restitution of a cultural asset, including the obstacles preventing such restitution. Issues dealt with involve mainly civil but also criminal and international law, whilst factors outside the scope of the law are considered as well.

The final part shows how a counter-reaction promoting restitution has arisen in recent years. With the help of an analysis of developments to date, the work concludes with an overview of further significant advances in the debate about cultural assets.

About the Author
The author graduated magna cum laude from the University of Basel in 1994 and received a PhD summa cum Laude at the same university in 1998. Since 2002 he has been Lecturer in Civil Law at the Universities of Basel and St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Table of Contents
Glossary of Abbreviations; Reading List; Introduction.
Chapter 1: Case Groups.
Chapter 2: Characteristics of Case Groups.
Chapter 3: Possible Causes of Action.
Chapter 4: Obstacles to Restitution.
Chapter 5: Reform Efforts – Supporting Restitution.
Chapter 6: Analysis and Outlook.
Glossary of Terms.
ISBN: 978-90-77596-78-4
Hardbound, approx. 330 pages
Publication date: September 2009
Co-publication with Staempfl i Verlag Berne
Price: € 81 / US $ 135


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