The Private Entrustment of Historical Material into Public Custody, London 9 November 2009

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Public record offices and other communal archives contain numerous family and corporate archives, together with collections of historic documents, photographs, works of art, local archaeology and cultural material at large.  Many items were deposited informally, in circumstances where their legal status was indeterminate even at the time of entrustment.  Others are of ancient origin, causing the true history of the entrustment, however clear at one time, to have become clouded by passing years and fading memories. 
Such deposits can now give rise to issues that never occurred to the original depositor and depositary.  Some deposits may have been transacted on terms - such as "permanent loan" - which may have meant something to the original parties but are now rife with legal anomaly.  Questions of inheritance, taxation, copyright and even confidentiality or spiritual privacy may arise to confound the successors to the first parties. 
There has never before been a systematic, thorough and authoritative examination of these matters, conducted by cultural administrators and lawyers who are practically versed in the problems.  This seminar, organised by the Institute of Art and Law, aimed to redress that omission.

Speakers at the seminar were:
Paul Brough, Cultural Services Manager (Libraries & Historic Collections), Cornwall Council
William Hancock, Partner, Speechly Bircham LLP
Professor Norman Palmer, Barrister, 3 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn
Alexander Carter-Silk, Partner and head of IP, Technology & Commercial, Speechly Bircham LLP
Nicholas Tall, Speechly Bircham LLP

The seminar carried 3.5 hours Law Society CPD points.

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