Payne Hicks Beach
Payne Hicks Beach

04 August 2022

Art must be better protected during conflicts: Till Vere-Hodge writes for the Times

The war in Ukraine highlights the long-standing issues around the looting of art and cultural artefacts in conflict. 

Our art and cultural heritage expert, Till Vere-Hodge outlines the complexities surrounding restitution and repatriation in his article for the Times, linked below with kind permission. With the war in Ukraine already leading to the destruction or damage of at least 250 museums and institutions and the spoliation of more than 2,000 artworks, the question remains of how the law is equipped to deal with the issue. Highlighting the difficulties that arise when looted objects cross borders, Till notes that the legal considerations include a  “conflicts of laws analysis. The applicable law may be crucial to the outcome of a claim, because the relevant law may differ substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.”

While there has been a large amount of looting throughout human history, there is no single international legal mechanism to resolve disputes. Calling for better international cooperation in this area, he also shares his reasoning for why universally supported framework may not address the issue entirely.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised, please do not hesitate to contact Till Vere-Hodge, partner in our Art & Cultural Property law team, or your usual Payne Hicks Beach contact. 

Our cross-disciplinary Art and Cultural Property law practice represents international collectors, UHNW individuals, families, trusts, dealerships & galleries, investors & advisors, governments (at national, regional and municipal level) and museums. We regularly advise on: the legal aspects of buying, selling, loaning or lending against works of art and/or cultural and luxury objects; disputes relating to ownership, authenticity and attribution, or condition; compliance obligations and due diligence; art, heritage and tax planning.

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Tel: 020 7465 4300 Fax: 020 7465 4400

This publication is not intended to provide a comprehensive statement of the law and does not constitute legal advice and should not be considered as such. It is intended to highlight some issues current at the date of its preparation. Specific advice should always be taken in order to take account of individual circumstances and no person reading this article is regarded as a client of this firm in respect of any of its contents.

The firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority: SRA Number 807106

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